August 28th, 2018 | Genesis 49:1-21
Since the earliest recorded history, humans have wanted to know the future. Some of the earliest written texts are attempts to forecast the future by tracing the pattern of the stars or through examining the entrails of a sacrificed animal. The desire to know the future is just as strong today. From forecasting the future of the economy to following the advice of a horoscope, people want an advantage from a peek into the future.
Thankfully, when Scripture talks about the future, it does so truthfully and accurately. During his final days, Jacob gathered all of his sons not only to bless them but also to tell them about what would happen to them “in days to come” (v. 1). On another occasion in the Pentateuch, a passage is introduced by the phrase, “in days to come” (Num. 24:14), and again the focus is on a coming king who will deliver God’s people from bondage and oppression.
The sons are generally grouped by their shared mothers and then listed in birth order. The first three sons are told why they will not have the blessing of the firstborn bestowed upon them. Reuben violated Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah (35:22), and Simeon and Levi broke an agreement with the Shechemites (34:1–17). Judah was the next son in line. Judah is described in royal terms as a lion. Not only will his brothers bow down to him, but “the obedience of the nations shall be his” (v. 10).
Jacob describes Judah as one who will “wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes” (v. 11). This language is used by later writers to describe the messianic King (see Isa. 63:1–6; Rev. 19:15). In his final days, Jacob saw into the future to prophesy how his descendants would become a blessing to the nations.
APPLY THE WORD
God’s promise of a messianic King has been fulfilled in Christ. Just as ancient Israel could look forward to and anticipate God’s deliverance through a Messiah, we look forward to the day when Christ will return. Knowing that God has kept His promise to Jacob can give us confidence that He will keep His promises regarding His Second Coming.
Today in the Word’s Devotion is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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