I. God purposed multifaceted blessing; Corporate choice thru Abe; Forgiven family; Choices/actions disqualify or determine differentials.
1 And Jacob called his sons and said, Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:
28...and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing.
33 when Jacob had finished commanding his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
Sovereignty sets the rules: obey and enjoy the blessings; disobey and be disciplined. Choose your consequences. [Gen 4:7; 26:3-5]
II. Free-will choices born of unsanctified desires for temporal Power (security/significance), Pleasure, and Possessions disqualify from blessings
3 ReubenL, my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it - he went up to my couch.
III. By default people continue in the sin modeled for them. Simeon disappears. Levi reverses the negative curse by loyally obeying God.
5 SimeonL/LeviL, instruments of cruelty 6 Let not my soul enter their council; nor my honor be united...anger..self-will 7 Cursed divide scatter
Dt 33:9 Who says of his father and mother,' I have not seen them'...For they have observed Your word and kept Your covenant. 10 They shall teach Jacob Your judgments..law. 11 Bless his substance, LORD, accept the work of his hands; strike..hate him..rise not again.
IV. The blessing forfeited by his older brothers comes to Judah (not Joseph)
8 JudahL, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's children shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. he bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. 11 Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
V. Lovers of Prosperity and Pleasure become enslaved, while children of servants can become rulers
13 ZebulunL shall dwell by the haven of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall adjoin Sidon.
14 IssacharL is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens; 15 he saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; he bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a band of slaves.
16 DanB shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that its rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD! (Jdg 18:30 intro idolatry)
19 GadZ (Dt 33:21 Lawgiver) a troop shall tramp upon him, but he shall triumph at last. 20 Bread from AsherZ shall be rich, shall yield royal dainties
VI. Satisfaction is superior to Significance but not Obedience 21 NaphtaliB is a deer let loose; he uses beautiful words.
Dt 33:23 " O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full of the blessing of the LORD, possess the west and the south."
Jdg 1:33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants...but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land:
VII. Suffering and Service reap the greatest blessings, although Ephriam (Samaria) and Manessah failed to benefit from their prosperity.
22 JosephR is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. 23 The archers have bitterly grieved him,
Shot at him and hated him. 24 But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), 25 by the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26 The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
VIII. Pride, Lust and Injustice forfeit God's blessing, resulting in near annihilation of a “favorite” tribe. (Judges 19-20)
27 BenjaminR is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
Dt 33:12 Of Benjamin he said: " The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him, Who shelters him all the day long...
Jdg 20:13 deliver the men, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel 18 the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah first.
Rom 11:20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
Beware of Short-cuts and failing to develop and pass on Self-control (last wk)
- Is it “just” for God to bless the firstborn or anyone more than He blesses another (Joe's sons)? Does God bless more than the “elect”?
- Why do some deny that humans have any responsibility or choice in the matter of obeying God and getting blessed or disinherited?
- Do you tend to have the values and behavioral patterns of your parents? If not, why is there a difference? If so, can you change + or -?
- Do all believers obey? Do all believers get blessed? Can a believer be and die a carnal Christian. Is the corrective faith or obedience?
- What steps are you taking to ensure that you finish well and reap all that God has intended? What will trip you up? Watchyagunadobotit?