101-149 Genesis Part 3 Chapter 49
Israel gathered his sons in the land of Goshen in the midst of the Egyptians and commissioned then to remain together as one nation. These were the words of Israel spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit for this was the plan and purpose of God’s chosen people. The blessings of Israel are more than his thoughts but is prophecy concerning the future of each of his sons.
Reuben had lost his first born birth right because of his wickedness. We must as we travel through this world always be repentant so that our past sins are not again revealed to us. Simeon and Levi were revengeful as demonstrated in their treatment of the Shechemites. Our souls bring us honor and are what sets us aside from the beast of the field that perish. Israel does not curse them personally but their passionate lust. Israel said that he would divide them and this was a blessing to Levi. Levi’s tribe became the priest and preformed the temple worship for all the nation of Israel. It was the tribe of Levi that shown their zeal against the worship of the golden café. (Exodus 32)
Then Israel blessed Judah whose name means praise. It was Judah whom God was praised by his mother in Chapter 29:35. God was praised by him and praised through him and now his brothers would praise him. Strong and courageous was the tribe of Judah. He was compared to a lion enjoying the satisfaction of his power and success. It was from Judah that the promised Messiah would come. Shiloh, that promised Seed in whom the earth should be blessed, “that peaceable and prosperous One,” or “Savior,” he shall come of Judah. Israel saw from a great distance the coming of Christ’s day and was a comfort to him on his death bed. Christ from Judah and in him there is much that is a blessing to the soul. Christ is the true vine and wine is the symbol of His blood, a true drink, as shed for sinners and applied in faith. The blessings of His gospel are wine and milk without cost. Substance freely given by God’s grace for every thirsty soul that seeks for refreshment. (Isaiah 55:1)
Israel’s blessing say that Zebulun will be a haven for ships. If prophecy says this will be then be sure providence will so plant him. Issachar was to have land that produced much for his labors. Dan by his cunning will gain advantages over his enemies.
Israel signifies the name of Gad in his blessing, which means troop. The cause of God’s people at time may seem conflicted and impoverished but victory will come to them at last. Grace in the soul often times is trampled by the conflicts of this life and corruption may at time overcome it. The cause is Gods and in time grace will conquer the trials of this world. (Romans 8:37) Asher became a rich tribe as his inheritance bordered on Carmel. Naphtali was not as industrious as his brothers but took things at ease. Naphtali was more full of good words and craving of mercy.
The blessing Israel gave to Joseph was very full and many were born out by history. Through all of Joseph’s trials he did not falter and bore all his labors with firmness. God’s grace is sufficient for resisting our temptations and overcoming our afflictions. In Joseph’s care for his father and the family of Israel he became a good shepherd. Blessings are promised to Joseph’s posterity, typical of the vast and everlasting blessings which come upon the spiritual seed of Christ. Benjamin was the warrior of the tribes of Israel. The Apostle Paul came from the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11:1 Philippians 3:5)
Jacob became a mirror of the nation that was named after him, Israel. Like Jacob the nation of Israel relied often upon their own efforts rather than their dependence upon God. Much of the time they opposed God and trusted on their own judgments. Is spite of their many disobediences God through providence brought about good in their history and they avoided destruction. To this day the nation of Israel has yet to fully enjoy the grace of God. This period in the history will only come after they submit too their Messiah Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:15-16)
Judah abandoned his family and took a Canaanite wife and his sons also. In spite of his disobedience towards God his bloodline to the Messiah was kept. It was Judah that persuaded his brothers to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders on their way to trade in Egypt. Judah saw his sin and repented of it. Judah even realized that his Gentile daughter-in-law was more righteous than he. Judah’s father Jacob failed to take on the spiritual responsibilities of the family and Judah took over that responsibility. Judah also stepped forward and took on the responsibility of caring for his younger brother Benjamin. When Joseph attempted to make a virtual replay of what had happened to him at Dothan Judah stepped forward and offered to take Benjamin’s place as Joseph’s slave. As one who cared little for his father Jacob he had compassion on him, knowing the effect the loss of Benjamin would have on Jacob.
We also learn from Judah and his brothers the full and complete meaning of repentance. Repentance is more than just being sorry but requires a complete change of heart. When Judah and his brothers were jailed in Egypt they were sorrowful for what they and done to Joseph their brother many years before. But when they had the opportunity to repeat that sin, when Joseph took Benjamin from them, they also had a change of heart and offer to take Benjamin’s place.
If Jacob was less than a good example of spiritual leadership Joseph was an excellent example. God prepared Joseph for leadership in his suffering. God taught Joseph to endure through hardships. While in prison Joseph learned the language and culture of the Egyptians and particularly that of the high government officials. Our times of trial and suffering if used properly are times of education, which can be employed in the service to our God and his purpose in our lives.
A second lesson in leadership was servant hood. Joseph in his youth was not a servant to his brothers as he should have been. Joseph was unwise in the use of the authority given to him by his father. While in Egypt Joseph must have reflected on the way he had used his authority over them in an abusive way. He must have realized how this must have angered them. Joseph came to understand that a position of authority is a position of service and not one of being served. When he became in charge of the butler and baker in the prison he ministered to them rather than lording over them.
Another aspect of leadership is that of sovereignty. Through Joseph’s sufferings he came to learn the sovereignty of God. That through all the adversity that had come into his life that the trials and tribulations of life can be used for God’s purpose. Our life’s circumstances will work for the greater good of God’s Will. God by His sovereignty appointed Joseph over his brother and given him the skills and gifts needed to fulfill the stations for Pharaoh and in the future provide for his family.
Another attribute of Joseph’s leadership was that of good stewardship. A steward does not own the things that are under his control. An example of Joseph’s stewardship is that of Potiphar’s house. He did not own the possessions of Potiphar but managed them well. So much so that he was in charge of everything of Potiphar’s except the misses.
Another ability of Joseph’s leadership is what I call spiritual secular savvy. Joseph was a skilled spiritual leader in whatever situation he was placed. He was a “spiritual leader” in the home of Potiphar, because Potiphar saw that the hand of God was upon him. (Genesis 39:2-3) The same was true in his ministry to Pharaoh. The butler very carefully avoided any spiritual reference to Joseph’s ministry to him (41:9-13), but when Joseph ministered to Pharaoh, he repeatedly gave all the glory to God. (Genesis 41:16 Genesis 41:25)
Joseph was involved in a secular task but through his spiritual leadership he made an impact on the secular lives around him. We sometimes try to view these two terms differently in our lives. We separate our secular life from our spiritual life. But this is not how we are to live our lives as Christians. We are to bring our life into a spiritual focus as we go about our secular duties. How else would the light of Jesus shine through us as we go about our daily routines?
Joseph is an example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was the object of his father’s affection just as Jesus is the beloved Son of God the Father. Joseph’s brothers resisted him and sought to kill him just as the Jewish leaders in the days that Jesus ministered here on earth. And it was through the suffering that Joseph received through the hands of his brothers that he became their deliverer. As well through the hands of the Jews, Jesus’ brethren, He became their deliverer, as well as for the world.
The will of God shall be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. God is not limited to the willing act of obedience from His saints, neither by the rebellious acts of the unrighteous. God is a sovereign Lord who is able to use the good works of the saints and the sinful acts of the saints and the unbelievers to accomplish his will. God is in control in spite of the wickedness and rebellious acts of man.