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Author: Phil Hodson
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Congregation:Christ the King Presbyterian Church
 Longview, Texas
 www.christthekinglongview.org/
 
Title:The book of Genesis is given us as a forward looking book.
Text:Genesis 49:1-28 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:All of scripture points to Jesus Christ
 
Added:2006-09-16
Updated:2006-09-16
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Gen 49: 1-28
Psalm 24
Heb 11
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Phil Hodson, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Gen 49: 1-28 (Psalm 24; Heb 11)


Our passage today is Genesis 49:1-28.

  • At Christ The King here we have been working through the book of Genesis week by week for a while now.

  • I’ve been going probably at about a pace of a chapter a week.


Now we are just about to get to the end of the book, last two chapters,. I want to begin reviewing some of what we’ve seen.


I remember in my freshman English composition class when we were practicing our writing.

  • The teacher said that when you arrange your essays for your readers,

    • you should tell them what you are going to tell them,

    • then tell them,

    • then tell them what you told them.


Well that’s pretty similar to how we are dealing with this book.


We started with an overview, we have been going chapter by chapter, and now we are going to be summing it up.


So you students just coming are coming at the right time to get the big picture of what Genesis is all about. And hopefully what the Bible is all about.


You see every week that is what I am trying to do, as we work through any book of the bible, or as we look at a particular passage.

  • I am trying to show you the whole big picture of what God is doing in history, and how that part we are looking at fits in,

  • where it belongs as it fits in God’s story He is telling us in the whole Bible, and what the implications are for us.


And as we look at that big picture in the Scriptures, week after week, we can say that God tells us in the Bible about four main things from Genesis ch1 to Revelation ch22, from beginning to end, the whole bible can be summed up as Creation, Fall, Salvation, Judgment.


Creation, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, God is the King.


Then comes the Fall, the devil says, You will not surely die, don’t believe God, decide for yourselves, make yourselves the center not God, then you will be as God, you can be your own King and rule over yourselves. That’s Genesis 3.


And then the story of Salvation begins in Genesis 3, God comes to them, and when they should have been swept away from their rebellion, instead He surprises them with the promise in Genesis 3:15,

  • the promise we call the Protoevangelium, which means first gospel,

  • and we have there in Genesis 3:15 the first announcement of the gospel of Christ in the bible,

  • that the rightful King is going to come, the anointed one, which from Hebrew we get the word Messiah, and in Greek we get the word Christ. Messiah and Christ mean anointed one, and that’s the King.


God says I am going to send my King, my messiah, my Christ, my anointed one, The Seed of the Woman, the one born of a virgin, and He is going to crush Satan under his feet.


Genesis 3:15 says that He is going to stomp on the head of that Serpent the Devil and He is going to stomp so hard He bruises His heal in doing it.


The King is coming, God says get ready, and from Genesis 3:15 at the beginning of the Bible, until Jesus comes, this is what the topic of the whole Old Testament is about. The Messiah King is coming.


God is not going to put up with rebellion against Him forever,

But He is going to come and bring with Him two things:


Salvation and Judgment.


Remember, we said, Creation, Fall, Salvation, and Judgment.

That’s what’s going on, in order.


And the coming of God’s Salvation and Judgment is what is predicted from Genesis 3:15 all through the Old Testament. They are waiting for God’s king to bring these things.


Salvation and Judgment.


And that’s what all the prophets prophesy, there is salvation and judgment coming.

  • The Day of the Lord is coming. And that’s what he is bringing, salvation and judgment.

    • Redemption from sin, and wrath poured out on sin.

    • Deliverance for God’s people, and Perfect Justice for those who are God’s enemies.


So there’s the whole Bible right there, Creation, Fall, Salvation, and Judgment.


God is King, man commits Treason against the King, and the King is coming to advance His Kingship, His Kingdom, to put everything right again,

  • saving His people, and judging His enemies,

  • Salvation, and Judgment.


Well after God has announced in Genesis 3 that He is going to send His king to crush Satan under His feet,

  • God has been at work preparing the way for Christ to come,

  • and He’s doing it by setting apart a people for Himself, and growing them.

  • First He calls Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, and then Jacob has twelve sons.

  • And they become the basis of the nation Israel.


And in the Old Testament we see that God sets apart Israel and deals with them apart from the rest of the world until Christ comes.

  • They have a special place as the apple of God’s eye, He says.

  • But then when Christ comes, that all changes and Jesus is revealed as the King of not only the Jews but also the Gentiles.

  • The rest of the world, is going to bow down to Him.


So the Gentiles are grafted into God’s people, and no longer is there just the mark of circumcision to set Jews apart, but now there is baptism to mark out anyone who belongs to God through Christ.


So, Creation, Fall, Salvation, Judgment.

  • God builds Israel the nation starting with Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, and the whole nation comes from him.

  • God builds that nation until Christ comes, and then Jesus sends the apostles to make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them instead of circumcising.

    • God so loved not just the Jews but the world.

    • And He came that the World might be saved, that all the nations would bow down to Him.


But what I want us to get first today, (besides Creation, Fall, Salvation, and Judgment(!)), is that from the time of Genesis 3:15 until the coming of Christ, everything is forward looking.

  • The book of Genesis is given us as a forward looking book.

    • Where is their hope? It is in the future.

    • They are looking forward.

      • “Abraham, I am going to make you into a nation, give you a land, I am going to bless you,” all future.

      • Then Isaac, Same thing, I will do this, in the future.

      • And then Jacob, I will be with you, I will keep the promises I made to your fathers, in the future.


And now as we come to our passage today, we have that same forward looking thrust.

  • The hope is off somewhere in the future for God’s people.


And as we move now to read our passage here, notice how as we are almost to the end of the book of Genesis, with all these prophecies about each of the sons of Jacob, who will be taking the baton as he dies, notice how all this is again pointing us forward. Hope is in the future.


Let’s read Genesis 49:1-28


Hear the Word of God


ESV Genesis 49:1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.

2 "Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.

3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it- he went up to my couch!

5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.

6 Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.

7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.

8 "Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you.

9 Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.

12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

13 "Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.

14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.

15 He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant at forced labor.

16 "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel.

17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels so that his rider falls backward.

18 I wait for your salvation, O LORD.

19 "Raiders shall raid Gad, but he shall raid at their heels.

20 "Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.

21 "Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.

22 "Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall.

23 The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely,

24 yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),

25 by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

26 The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27 "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at evening dividing the spoil."

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.


God will bless the reading of His Word.


Well as I said we have here in our passage a forward look. Not only is the whole Old Testament forward looking until the time when Christ will come, but here in v1 we read,


Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.


Jacob is at the end of his life, and it’s time for him to die, and he is handing off the baton, he is looking to God to fulfill His promises in his family after him.

  • And now he speaks as God’s prophet to predict what is going to happen.


He is reminding them of God’s promises, and predicting what’s going to happen with each son.


Each son has a part to play in the nation, and just like all through this book, and it is going to be a mess in many ways with God’s people falling into various sins.


But the thing that needs to be remembered is that as we are pointed forward looking into the future,

  • and we have these predictions of what is going to happen in times to come after Jacob,

  • we can see that God is building His Church of real people,

    • people Who sin,

    • people Who go astray and need to be rebuked,

    • people who live in real places,

    • have real lives, fight real battles, and stumble in real ways.

  • But God nevertheless is building His people.

  • He is at work, I’m saying, in history, from generation to generation to advance His purposes.

  • And just like now, back then, he’s using jars of clay in order that He might be glorified.



We are not talking about some pie in the sky principles like we sometimes simplify things into, and these aren’t flawless heroes like in stories outside the bible, but these are real life people who were born and died and who played a role in the passing down of the truth to us,


And their accounts are kept here for us to see.


So this is Forward looking, and these are real people.


And as we take a look at these verses where each of the twelve tribes are spoken of, we begin to see here that the promises to Abraham are going to be fulfilled.


There is going to be land apportioned to the tribes. They are going to be blessed. And from them the seed of the woman is going to come.


Let’s look quickly at each of these tribes, V3

3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it- he went up to my couch!


3-4 Reuben is the first born, but Jacob says Reuben isn’t going to have the privileges of the first born because he has been rebellious.

  • And we read about that back in ch35.

  • And sure enough in the rest of the bible there is no record of any leader ever coming from his tribe.


In vs5-7 we read about Simeon and Levi, and there are going to be consequences for them because of what they did back in chapter 34, where they avenged their sister Dinah by tricking the people into becoming Israelites in God’s name, and then slaughtering them all.


We read in v5

5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.

6 Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.

7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.


Then in v8-12 we read about Judah, that he is going to rule, having his hand on the neck of his enemies, that’s rule over those outside Israel, and also ‘your father’s sons shall bow down before you,” that’s rule over tribes inside Israel.

  • Judah is somehow going to possess the Kingship of Israel, it says.


And we know that later David and Solomon, the kings of Israel will come fom the tribe of Judah, and then when the kingdom divides in two, all the kings from the southern kingdom will come from the tribe of Judah.


So Judah is going to produce lots of Kings.


But then in v10 it says that the scepter and the ruler’s staff, will remain with Judah until a certain more ultimate future time comes when an ultimate King is going to come,

  • the one to whom ultimate kingship belongs, and it says to that they will bring tribute to Him, and to Him will be the obedience of the nations.


Who is it that ultimately all the nations will obey?


It’s Christ. And it goes on in v11 to talk of that time when that ultimate king will come, saying that in that Day there will be such abudance in the vineyard that they will even be able to tie their donkey’s with the choice vine from the vineyards, in other words the vines are everywhere, and it will be such a time of abudance with so much wine that it could be used like water even to wash clothing- wine instead of water, and there will be feasting and abundance, a time of final satisfaction, v12 says,


12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.


The NASB translates here, His eyes will be dull from wine, and his teeth white from milk. Or the KJV says eyes red from wine.


In other words the idea here is that final King is going to bring with Him an ultimate time of feasting and abundance and satisfaction like has not been imagined before. And that King is going to come from the tribe of Judah.

  • Kings are going to come from Judah, but this is going to be the King of Kings, from Judah, which is Christ.


Well then in v13-15 we learn about Zebulun and Issachar.

  • Zebulan’s land apportionment will be by the sea, and he will have trade with other nations from there,

  • and Issachar through their interaction with other nations will end up hiring themselves out for labor and become enslaved because they were greedy.


And in V16-17 Dan’s land will be on the border of Israel and he will be the tribe that other peoples trying to come into Israel will have to deal with,

  • and v19 Gad too will have their land on the border and constantly be repelling raids from the outside and then fighting back.



In v20 we read,

20 "Asher's food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal delicacies.


Later in Scripture we’ll see that Asher is the tribe that supplies the quota of olive oil to Solomon’s palace in Jerusalem.

  • Olive oil was used in the temple too. Asher is productive.

  • And the olives themselves were delicacies.


V21

21 "Naphtali is a doe let loose that bears beautiful fawns.

Talents.


Some have said about this one that Naphtali is the tribe contributes skills that adorn the life of the nation.


Then in v22 with Joseph Jacob speaks of how his tribe is going to be greatly blessed, even as he has greatly blessed Israel.

  • And in the last few chapters we have seen how that was so as God put him in a position where he saved His people, bringing them down into Egypt when there was no food, and they multiplied greatly there.


And then finally Benjamin, in v27 is said to be a ravenous wolf, in the morning but in the evening dividing the spoil."


Luther actually applied this to the apostle Paul who was of the tribe of Benjamin.


In the morning devouring the prey, the morning being the first part of Paul’s life where he persecuted the church, and then at evening, later in Paul’s life his dividing the spoil was spreading the gospel of the kingdom, spreading the bounty, the booty of Christ’s conquering.


Well we could trace all these out more closely as to how we see them fulfilled in the rest of Scripture.


But what I want us to see, as Jacob is here about to die and lays out what is going to happen in the future for each tribe, the things I want you to take away from this are these.


First, we said that everything is forward looking.

  • God has promised, and now they are looking for the answer to His promises.

    • He’s promised to Abe to give him a land.

    • And that is coming for these twelve tribes.

    • And He’s promised to make them into a great nation, to bless them, and cause them to be a blessing to the whole world, and that is coming.

    • And He has promised the seed of the woman will come from Abrham somehow, and that is that ultimate king that is spoken of, the lion of the tribe of Judah, to Whom will be the obedience of the nations.


But notice also that as they look forward down the generations to the coming of this ultimate kingdom, that these are all historical peoples that really lived,

  • and really each had their place among God’s people,

  • the things that they would contribute, and various problems that plagued them.


And yet God worked with these jars of clay to bring about His purposes,

  • to bring about the birth and raising of a real human family of people,

  • the children of Abraham,

  • that Jesus ultimately would be born into, including that woman who would be the mother of Jesus.


But notice as the passage ends here that the narrator sums all this up and points us forward again,


V28- 28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.


Notice he says these ARE the tribes of Israel, not these were. This was written at a time when they still were all around.


And the narrator here is saying:

  • These are the tribes.

  • And this is what their father said to them.

  • And it seems that he’s saying, “look this is what Jacob said, and look how it has come to pass with each of these twelve tribes.


They knew very well, better than us, the history of each of these tribes and they could see how all these things played out.


But we now are in a place where we can see even better than them the ultimate playing out of these predictions.


That prophecy about the ultimate king from Judah has now come to pass on the stage of history.


And He showed that the fruitful time of His had come at the wedding at Cana when the big stone jars of water were turned into wine.


A time of feasting and abundance has come with the coming of Christ.

  • And He instituted a meal for our worship to remind us of that ultimate feast when He will return,

  • and the new heavens and the new earth will finally be present,

  • and the ultimate land of milk and honey, and flowing wine.

  • the ultimate place of fruitfulness, the ultimate banquet and feasting of fellowship will finally be present.


In the book of Revelation John ties all this together for us, and he tells us that no one could unlock the scrolls,

  • no one could make sense of God’s revelation,

  • until the Lion of the Tribe of Judah came and conquered,

  • and then He was able to make sense of it all.


And that is what makes sense of the Bible for us, and enables us to see it all so clearly now where back then they only saw in shadows.


The Lion of Judah, coming forth to conquer, dying on the cross for our sins, defeating our enemy the devil, and then conquering death for us in His resurrection,

  • all this now makes sense of who that ultimate king was to be.

  • All this now makes sense of the bible.


Where they didn’t quite know what was coming but saw it only from afar, as the wrier of Hebrews says,

  • we are blessed beyond measure to have the clear unfolding of it before us in the Scriptures.

  • On the road to Emmaus, after the resurrection, Luke tells us that He opened to them the Scriptures.

  • He explained it says, all the things from the Scriptures concerning Himself.

  • Who is this king of glory? Jesus is the King of Glory!


The Bible is about Jesus!


The Old Testament looking forward to His coming,


and now the New Testament explaining to us what His coming means.


The King has come, and all the nations are bowing down to Him.

  • He is the seed of the woman, the one born of a virgin,

  • and He is conquering the world by the message of peace,

    • the message of free forgiveness of sins to whosoever will come.

    • He is calling all the nations to submit to Him, to turn to Him and love Him,

    • so that they will escape the wrath of God that is coming on sin.


So we can see that our passage here looks forward, anticipating the fulfillment of all God’s promises,
  • and our passage shows us God working in history with real people,

    • building a family of people until the time when the ultimate king from Judah will be born,

    • and now that He has come all the nations are being blessed in Him, including us.


And now He calls you to His feast.

  • He calls you to have fellowship with Him now in your life before Him,

  • in your worship as a body of people looking to Him by faith,

  • eating and drinking in anticipation of that Day when the most ultimate fellowship will come,

  • when the consummation of the marriage supper of the lamb will take place, and all sin will be put away along with every heartache and misery,

  • and the Scriptures say that we will have joy forevermore,

  • we will skip like calves running out of their stalls,

  • we will come to Him and find ultimate rest.


All the Scriptures tell us of Christ.

  • Genesis points us forward to Christ.

  • And now we see Christ Raised up and seated as that King.

  • And with the Church we are all to say, come soon Lord Jesus,

  • And so Lift up your hearts, that the King of Glory may come in.

Amen.






* As a matter of courtesy please advise Phil Hodson, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Phil Hodson

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