Good morning, Lord.
Thank you again for your awesome patience! Some days I feel like I am taking a step back for every step forward, and I seem to go nowhere. Yet I trust that YOU are bringing me forward, keeping me humble and teachable before you. I don’t feel rebellious like I have much of my life. I don’t feel super submissive, either. I know that you prefer people that are like horses with a “soft mouth”, able to be turned with the slightest touch. I don’t think I’m like that, at least not in everything. Still, even when I resist a little or for a little moment, I almost always yield to you and allow you to touch me and change me in the area in which I had been resisting. Sometimes all it takes is a good night’s sleep or some kind words from my husband or a dose of joy from your Spirit. Sometimes I just feel too “used up” to obey without resisting a little. I wonder if that is self-preservation or overprotection or just plain crankiness or selfishness. Whatever it is, I ask that you whittle it away, Lord. Continue to grow me in listening to and hearing and obeying my Shepherd. Help me to be like a “dumb sheep” and just accept my need to be directed and protected and cared for. Help me to not fight you, Shepherd, thinking “I got this”! 🙂
Genesis 49 (most of it) ERV
Then Jacob called all his sons to him. He said, “My sons, come here to me. I will tell you what will happen in the future.
“Children of Jacob, gather around. Come listen to Israel, your father.
“Reuben, my first son, you are my strength, the first proof of my manhood. You were the most honored and powerful of all my sons.
But your passion was like a flood you couldn’t control. So you will not remain my most honored son. You climbed into your father’s bed and slept with one of his wives. You brought shame to my bed, to the bed you lay on.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers. They are violent with their swords.
I will not join their secret meetings. I will not take part in their evil plans. They have killed people out of anger and crippled animals for fun.
Their anger is so strong that it is a curse. They are too cruel when they are angry. They will not get their own land in the land of Jacob. They will be spread throughout Israel.
“Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will defeat your enemies. Your brothers will bow down to you.
Judah is like a young lion. My son, you are like a lion standing over the animal it killed. Like a lion, Judah lies down to rest, and no one is brave enough to disturb him.
Men from Judah’s family will be kings. The sign that his family rules will not leave his family before the real king comes. Then many people will obey and serve him.
He ties his donkeys to the best grapevines. He washes his clothes in the best wine.
His eyes are red from drinking wine. His teeth are white from drinking milk.
“Zebulun will live near the sea. His seacoast will be a safe place for ships. His land will continue as far as the city of Sidon.
“Issachar is like a donkey that has worked too hard. He will lie down under his heavy load.
He will see his land is pleasant and that his resting place is good. But he will agree to carry heavy loads; he will agree to work as a slave.
“Dan will rule his people as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan will be like a snake at the side of the road. He will be like a dangerous snake lying near the path. That snake bites a horse’s foot, and the rider falls to the ground.
“LORD, I am waiting for your salvation.
“A group of robbers will attack Gad, but Gad will chase them away.
“Asher‘s land will grow much good food. He will have food fit for a king!
“Naphtali is like a deer running free, and his words are beautiful.
“Joseph is like a wild donkey, like a young donkey by a spring, like colts grazing in a pasture.
People attacked him and made life hard for him. Men with arrows became his enemies.
But he won the fight with his mighty bow and his skillful arms. He gets power from the Mighty One of Jacob, from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, the God of your father who helps you.
“May God All-Powerful bless you and give you blessings from the sky above and from the deep below. May he give you blessings from breast and womb.
My parents had many good things happen to them. And I, your father, was blessed even more. Your brothers left you with nothing. But now I pile all my blessings on you, as high as a mountain.
“Benjamin is like a hungry wolf. In the morning he kills and eats. In the evening he shares what is left.”
These are the twelve families of Israel. And this is what their father said to them. He gave each son a blessing that was right for him.
I like how Jacob remains a teacher until his dying breath. He is still teaching his sons about God and being a mirror to each one of them, giving them these very personalized, prophetic “blessings”.
This passage reminds me of the messages to the churches in Revelation 2-3. In that case, God is addressing 7 peoples (“churches”) — distinquishable by their attitudes and behaviors. Like Jacob’s blessings, these are excellent mirrors, shining light onto our OWN hearts and lives, helping us be more aware of our actions and their consequences with God. In Revelation 2-3, God also praises some of the churches — for faithfulness, hard work and endurance, resisting evil, love, patience… And He encourages them to be fervent, on fire for God, and be faithful to Him as their First Love. I always look for myself — the good and the bad — in these verses. Now, I have Genesis 49 to use in the same way. Thank you, Lord!