Come together and listen, O sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel.
Genesis 48Genesis 48. We are admitted into the inner chamber of the patriarch's departing life, and we see there the presence of Jehovah with him. He is -
1. The subject of inspiration.
2. The mediator of the Divine promises. He is under the control of purposes which have been swaying him all his life.
3. A witness to Divine faithfulness. The grandfather blessing the grandchildren. The blessing passes on to the third and fourth generation. Yet the human blessing is only the type of the Divine. The angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the lads. Jacob made a cross with his hands over the heads of the boys. It displeased Joseph, but it pleased God. The imposition of hands is also here. The name of Jacob is named upon them, the symbol of the covenant. Their prosperity is predicted, but it is connected immediately with their covenant standing. The elevated state of mind in the patriarch is a testimony to the sustaining power of religion in fleshly weakness. It points on too to the survival of the soul after the death of the body. The preference of Ephraim reminds us that all is ascribed to the grace of God. - R.
He shall overcome at the last.
I. FAITH TRIUMPHANT IN DOUBT. The gospel is a revelation. It is the telling of a secret. There is not one mystery either about man or about God which has been either caused or aggravated by the gospel. Doubtless there are matters not yet revealed. There are unexplained, perhaps inexplicable, difficulties, as regards God's will and man's future, which the gospel leaves where it found them. Faith triumphs in and over doubting (John 6:67, 68).
II. FAITH TRIUMPHS IN DISAPPOINTMENT. TO be willing to wait, even for encouragement, much more for victory, is an essential part of his character who has seen the promise afar off, and been persuaded of it, and embraced it, and who now lives day by day in the calm, humble looking-for of a light that shall arise and a rest reserved in heaven.
III. FAITH CONQUERS SIN. That is our most urgent want, and that is faith's most solemn office. Faith conquering is, above all things, faith conquering sin, faith looking upwards to a loving Saviour, and drawing down from Him the desire and the effort and the grace to be holy.
IV. FAITH CONQUERS DEATH. Death is not dreadful to the Christian, because he has in the other world a Father, a Saviour, a Comforter.
I. REVIEW THE PAST. The memory should be like a tradesman's storehouse, filled with valuable commodities, such as shall be useful in the future, rather than lumber places for that which does more harm than good. But, alas! when we turn over the leaves of the past, what heaps of lumber we find we have gathered!
1. During the past year many have gone through severe trials. We are not like the great rock at Llandudno, on which the angry waves cast their fury time after time, but which hurls them back. We are rather like the trembling ship lifted up and cast down by the force of the wind and waves. We have felt every wind of sorrow that blows; and the cutting wave of trouble has dashed over us and filled our souls with vexation of spirit. But, in the midst of all, our God has kept us from despair. There is no case but what might have been worse; and according to our day our strength has been given. "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
2. Some have had bereavement by death. There was once, when we arrived at home, a face generally looking for us from the window, and a kindly hand to open to us the door; but that gentle one has departed from us, and we are alone.
3. Many, yea, all of us, this last year have passed through fierce temptations. I do not know whether any of you have been like a heavily laden ship; perhaps your particular temptation has been too much cargo of gold. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter the kingdom of heaven." Like some of those ships that Mr. Plimsoll has told us about, weighted with cargo until their water-line is under the wave, and the sea washes over the decks. Oh, how wearily the over-weighted ship wends its way across the ocean! The most weary of men is he who is weighted with gold. It is not riches alone that give to us happiness, peace, and contentment. The world thinks so; but the Word of God is a better guide, and we are told that it is hard for the rich man to 'be happy. Many of us this last year have been like unseaworthy ships; we have not had strength to weather the storm; every wind of temptation has made the seams in our ship wider, and floods of sin have entered into our hearts and swamped our piety, and many are hopeless wrecks. You entered this last year holy; you are now wicked. You entered this last year with a character on which there was not a single stain; it is now black with sin. Everybody trusted you at the beginning of this year; alas! nobody believes you now. You have not had a good captain of your ship. Your pilot has wrecked many souls, yet you trusted him. The devil carries every ship he steers to the awful rocks of perdition. Thank God that a new Captain, the Lord Jesus, is willing to gather you in His arms and to lead you to the harbour of salvation, and there create within you a new heart and a new spirit. But, brethren, let us rejoice for the many who have weathered the storms of the year's temptation. Some of us come to this period with furled sails and bare poles; but, thank God, we are still guided by our good Captain, the Lord Jesus; the rudder of our will obeys His wish, and our only compass is the Bible. Brethren, we shall reach the harbour at the last. Rejoice, for your names are written in heaven.
4. We have had many blessings.
5. We all have had mercy. The mercy-seat covered the law. Have not we broken the commandments during the last year? But mercy has covered our transgressions; and God has declared to us, "I will not remember thy sin." In the great plague of 1666, every house door in London had painted on it these words, "Lord have mercy on us." Well, dear friends, every hour of every day, we, alas! need to say, "God be merciful unto us"; and blessed be His name, He has poured mercy upon us. "Goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life."
6. What progress have we made in the past? During snowy weather, if you go to a field and try to walk in a straight line, you must not look down at the snow, but up at some mark at the end of the field. Our footsteps are in the snow, and what a zigzag line to be sure! Why? Because we did not fix our eye upon the tree in the distance. Now, dear friends, look back upon the past year. Is your pathway a straight one or not?
II. TAKE STOCK OF THE PRESENT. What are we worth? Is God our Banker? Have we any treasure in heaven? Have we drawn out anything from Him by the cheque of prayer? Have we trusted Him with all our life and all that we have? How much do we owe unto our Lord? And let us reckon the debt of love to our fellow-men. As Christians, are we able to pay twenty shillings to the pound? Do we pay our pew-rent at the church, and yet forget to pay the debt of love to our poorer brethren? Brethren, are your hearts any bigger than they were twelve months ago? Have you any increase of faith? At the time of one of the terrible inundations which frequently take place in St. Petersburg, the Empress Catherine stood at one of the windows of the palace watching the fearful sight. The river had stolen into the city during the night, and hundreds of people were drowned. As her majesty was intently looking upon the flood and the havoc it was causing, she saw something above the surface of the water which was rapidly filling the courtyard; and, observing it more attentively, she found it to be the head of a soldier nearly up to his chin in water; but apparently taking no notice of his danger, as he still shouldered his musket as if on duty among the fishes. The Empress at once sent a servant in a boat to ask why the man remained there at the peril of his life. The soldier replied that he had been placed there to guard the palace, and that he could not quit his post until his sergeant sent another sentry to relieve him. He would not stir; and he had to be dragged into the boat by main force in-order to save his life. Brethren, in all duties let us be faithful unto death. It is he that endures to the end who shall be saved. Have you any increase of hope? Lord Bacon said that hope made a good breakfast, but an idle supper. Brethren, has your hope in God been an idle one? Has He disappointed you? What is the depth of peace in the reservoir of your heart? The Word declares that the peace of God shall be an inward garrison to your soul. Have you let the devil enter within the fortress of your honour? The peace of God shall keep the gates of all who trust Him. Have you thus trusted Him? And, then, examine your character. Your signboard may be all right, but what is the hidden state of the business of your soul? Going down the street the other day I saw in a stonemason's yard a beautiful pillar, but it was broken. Does it not represent the character of some? But, thank God, though it is broken, it may be repaired. How about the policy with which you conduct your business? In the days of Alexander, it was fashionable for his captains and soldiers to walk with their heads leaned to one side; because Alexander had somewhat of a crooked neck, and they thought it to be an honour to imitate him. How sad it is that in our rich land men have made money with a wry policy; it has not been straight in the straightness of honour and truth. Their policy has been a crooked one. It has been, "Get money, honestly if you can, but get it." Do not imitate such men. Their success is no proof of their wisdom. But what is your policy? Do you consider it to be expedient to cheat? And, if so, are you not a secret thief? In taking stock let the question, "Am I honest?" be fairly answered!
III. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FUTURE.
1. Forward, ye troops of God, and take the line of fortification farthest out, which is prejudice against ministers and churches. There are men who, for various reasons, do not believe in these things, and from that outward entrenchment contend against Christ. My reply to this is, seek out a Church and a minister that you do like. Amid all the denominations there must be one place where your soul will be blessed. This very church, to some of you, shall be the way to heaven, and through this one break in the long fortification of your prejudice I pass through with the battle-cry of the Cross, feeling that, though these prejudices have been the troop that overcame Christ, He shall overcome at the last.
2. Forward, ye troops of God, to the next entrenchment! It is a circumvallation of social influences. There are hundreds of people here to-high, whose surroundings in the world are adverse to the Christian religion. Evil companionship has destroyed innumerable men. Through this high battlement no human force can break, but, oh! that the Lord Jesus might storm it tonight.
3. Forward, ye troops of God, to the third line of entrenchment, namely, the intellectual difficulties about religion. A hundred perplexities about the parables; a hundred questions about the ninth chapter of Romans; passage set against passage in seeming contradiction. You pile up a battlement of Colenso on the " Pentateuch," and Tom Paine's "Age of Reason," and Renan's "Life of Christ"; and some parts of the wall are so high that it would be folly to attempt to take them. But there is a hole in the wall of fortification, and through that hole in the wall I put my right hand, and take your own, and say, "My brother, do you want to be saved? "And you say" Yes." "Well; Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which is lost." Scepticism seems to do quite well in prosperity, but it fails in adversity. A celebrated infidel, on shipboard, in the sunshine caricatured the Christian religion, and scoffed at its professors. But the sea arose, and the waves dashed across the hurricane-deck, and the man cried out, "O my ,God, what shall I do? what shall I do?" A father went down to see his dying son in a Southern hospital during the war. Finding that the boy was dying, he went to the chaplain and said, "I wish you would go and see my boy, and get him prepared for the future." "Why," said the chaplain, "I thought you did not believe in religion!" "Well," said he, "I don't, but his mother does; and I would a great deal rather the boy would follow his mother. Go and get him prepared." Scepticism does tolerably well to live by, but it is a poor thing to die by. The fortification of your soul this hour gives way; and the Christ, who seemed to have been overcome by argument, and by profound questions, and elaborate analysis, now, by the force of love, overcomes at the last!
4. Forward, ye troops of light, to the next circumvallation of the heart, namely, pernicious habit. I do not believe that it is necessary to be a teetotaller in order to be a Christian (although I wish all were teetotallers), but I do say that a man who is excessive in the use of strong drink cannot love Christ. He will not dispute with you the supremacy of the bottle. Some years ago, when the cholera was raging in New Orleans, a steamer near nightfall, put out from the city, laden with passengers escaping from the pestilence. The steamer had been but a little while out when the engineer fell at his post with cholera. The captain, in despair, went up and down among the passengers, asking if there were any one there who could act as engineer. A man stepped out, and said that he was an engineer, and could take the position. In the night the captain was awakened by a violent motion of the steamer, and he knew that there was great peril ahead. He went up, and found that the engineer was a maniac; that he had fastened down the safety-valves; and he told the captain that he was the emissary of Satan, commissioned to drive the steamer to hell. By some strategy, the man was got down in time to save the steamer. There are men engineered by maniac passions, sworn to drive them to temporal and everlasting destruction. Every part of their nature trembles under the high pressure. Nothing but the grace of Almighty God can bring down those passions, and chain them. A little while longer in this course, and all is lost. Whatever be the form of evil habit, Christ is able fully and finally to deliver that man. Where sin abounded, grace does much more abound. Victory over thy sin! Victory through the Lord Jesus Christ! Through many a long year thy appetites overcame Him, but He has overcome at the last!
5. Forward, ye troops of light, to the last and the mightiest line of fortification — the pride and the rebellion of the natural heart. This entrenchment must be taken, or all the rest of the contest is lost. This is the crisis of the battle.
(Dr. Talmage.)1. Do not judge until "the last."
2. Men who are overcome should be encouraged.
3. Apply this to beginners in business — in Christian life — in the reformation of bad habits.
4. Apply this to spiritual doubt. Do not too readily describe men as infidels. Even may at last believe.
5. Hope for your children.
(J. Parker, D. D)It may seem, as we look at it spiritually, strange that the fact of being "overcome" by foes should be part of the blessing of God's people. And yet through the darkness to the light is the order everywhere in God's kingdom of nature, providence, and grace; and to be "overcome" is as truly a needed discipline for the soul as to be a triumphant conqueror. The type of nature's strength is not the hot-house plant needing constant care and watchfulness to keep it alive. It is the pine-tree rocked by Norwegian winds which threaten every moment to imperil its existence by uprooting it. Thus, too, it is in the Christian life; and without such dealing the very best of us would be but dwarfs, stunted and crippled, and incapacitated for that warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil by which we win our way to the kingdom, Nor does the Holy Spirit leave us in any doubt as to this. "A troop shall overcome him" are the words. Not a solitary foe, but many. Sometimes wave upon wave of trial rolls over the soul until we know not what it means. But the cup is measured out. Not one drop is in it beyond what is absolutely needful for the soul's welfare. And the end is the same in every case-to lead us up out of self wholly into God. Nor let us suppose for a moment that it is because of some sin in us that this bitter cup is put into our hands. It may be this indeed, for God will be quit of sin in us at any and every cost. The gravitation of every believer is earthward, and the quick pruning-knife of the Husbandman can never be unused long without the soul suffering damage. The process of restoration may lie in a constant succession of small trials pressing upon the spirit to draw it nearer to God, or in some sharp quick operation of the knife that makes itself felt for years, turning the hair grey, and making the body stoop. But it is not always to get rid of sin in us that these strokes are sent. It may be to mould us more into the likeness of Christ. Every follower of the Lamb must be a cross-bearer. It is the branch that bears fruit which is pierced and purged, and not the unfruitful one. It may be because you are so like Christ you are made to feel the pruning-knife — in order that you may become more like Him. And how blessed the assurance of our God that we "shall overcome at last!" It is not that we shall overcome at the end of life. It is that the issue of every conflict shall be victory. This Divine assurance of the certainty of victory receives its explanation from Romans 8:35-39.
(F. Whitfield, M. A.)
PeopleAsher, Benjamin, Dan, Ephron, Gad, Heth, Hittites, Isaac, Issachar, Jacob, Joseph, Leah, Levi, Mamre, Naphtali, Rebekah, Reuben, Sarah, Simeon, Zebulun, Zidon
PlacesCanaan, Machpelah, Mamre, Rameses, Sidon
TopicsAssemble, Assembled, Ear, Gather, Hearken, Jacob, Listen, O, Sons, Yourselves
Outline1. Jacob calls his sons to bless them.
3. Their blessing in particular.
29. He charges them about his burial.
33. He dies.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 49:1-28
LibraryThe Shepherd, the Stone of Israel
'... The mighty God of Jacob. From thence is the Shepherd, the stone of Israel.'--GENESIS xlix. 24. A slight alteration in the rendering will probably bring out the meaning of these words more correctly. The last two clauses should perhaps not be read as a separate sentence. Striking out the supplement 'is,' and letting the previous sentence run on to the end of the verse, we get a series of names of God, in apposition with each other, as the sources of the strength promised to the arms of the hands …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Joseph Attacked by the Archers
The Messianic Prophecies in the Pentateuch.
Balaam's Prophecy. (Numb. xxiv. 17-19. )
Bunsen's Biblical Researches.
Appendix viii. Rabbinic Traditions About Elijah, the Forerunner of the Messiah
His Throat is Most Sweet, Yea, He is Altogether Lovely. This is My Beloved, and this is My Friend, O Daughters of Jerusalem.
The Debt of Irenæus to Justin Martyr
'Fruit which is Death'
The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
General Notes by the American Editor
The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word. ...
The Growth of the Old Testament Prophetic Histories
The Jewish Dispersion in the West - the Hellenists - Origin of Hellenist Literature in the Greek Translation of the Bible - Character of the Septuagint.
A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
Fifthly, as this Revelation, to the Judgment of Right and Sober Reason,
What Messiah did the Jews Expect?
Covenanting Predicted in Prophecy.
The Prophet Jonah.
The Sixth Commandment
The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.
LinksGenesis 49:2 NIV
Genesis 49:2 NLT
Genesis 49:2 ESV
Genesis 49:2 NASB
Genesis 49:2 KJV
Genesis 49:2 Bible Apps
Genesis 49:2 Parallel
Genesis 49:2 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 49:2 Chinese Bible
Genesis 49:2 French Bible
Genesis 49:2 German Bible
Genesis 49:2 Commentaries