the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee.”
Jacob was about to speak by inspiration. The blessing of a parent whose tongue is taught of God is priceless beyond conception.
Though he was the firstborn Reuben missed the. birthright, because he was light and loose. Whatever good points may be in a man, if he be not sober, steady, and substantial, he will come to nothing. To be unstable as the waves of the sea is one of the worst of faults and mars the whole character.
A great wrong was here disavowed by Jacob. He could not prevent it, for his sons acted hastily in selfwill, and he knew nothing of their murderous deed till it was over, but he takes care to bear his witness against it in the most solemn manner. The follies of youth will come home to men in their riper years. It is a great mercy when from our childhood, we walk uprightly.
When the dying patriarch reached that name which is a type of Christ, he rose to a higher key, he had no more faults to mention, but fell to blessing.
Who dare defy the Lion of the tribe of Judah? Jesus the Lord is terrible to his enemies.
When our Lord came his enemies said, “Behold, the world is gone after him.” To this day he is the greatest of loadstones to attract mens’ hearts. He came just when the kingdom had gone from Judah, and now he reigns as our Shiloh, the Prince of Peace.
Genesis 49:11 , Genesis 49:12
Truly in our Immanuel’s land the wine and milk flow in rivers. Come ye and buy without money and without price.
May our sea-faring people be favoured of the Lord, and never sit in darkness as Zebulun came to do.
Genesis 49:14 , Genesis 49:15
Though quiet and industrious, it may be Issachar was somewhat deficient in courage and energy. There are no perfect characters; but it were greatly to be wished that our contented brethren were also more energetic. Yet as Issachar was a true son of Jacob, we trust our slow-moving brethren are the same. It were well, however, for each of us to be more in earnest than ever, for we serve an earnest God.
We leave the rest of the blessing for our next reading.
God of mercy, hear our prayer
For the children Thou hast given;
Let them all Thy blessings share,
Grace on earth, and bliss in heaven!
Cleanse their souls from every stain,
Through the Saviour’s precious blood;
Let them all be born again,
And be reconciled to God.
“I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”
We will now read the rest of the benedictions pronounced by Jacob upon his sons.
Dan signifies judge; the patriarch declared that he would verify his name.
Here Jacob made a pause. His utterance of weakness has neither petulance nor complaining in it, but is expressive of hope growing out of long confidence. Soon he hoped to enjoy the fulness of salvation in the presence of the Lord.
This is often exemplified in the believer’s life. Many trials press him down, but he rises up again.
Vivacity of spirit was linked with readiness of speech, a good combination for a minister of the gospel.
The heart of the venerable patriarch was enlarged concerning Joseph; he evidently felt that he could not pour out a benediction copious enough. And truly, if we turn our thoughts to Jesus, the greater Joseph, no language can ever express our desires for his exaltation. Watts has well put it
“Blessings more than we can give
Be, Lord, for ever thine.”
This was to be a contentious tribe. Though Benjamin stood high in his father’s natural affection, he did not dare for that reason to invent a blessing for him, but speaks the word of the Lord neither less nor more. To fight from morning to night is a sorry business, unless it be against sin.
He was not left even after death among the Egyptians, but slept in the family tomb of the pilgrim band, to awake with them at the resurrection. In all things he maintained his character as a sojourner with God, looking for a city yet to be revealed.
Shrinking from the cold hand of death,
I soon must gather up my feet;
Must swift resign this fleeting breath,
And die, my father’s God to meet.
Number’d among thy people, I
Expect with joy thy face to see;
Because thou didst for sinners, die,
Jesus, in death, remember me!