Jacob has adopted sons and given Joseph his mountain. He is ready to die. Genesis 49 recounts his last words to his boys and addresses each of them, prophesying the character of their tribes and setting his house in order. Jacob has not forgotten the wrongs they committed against him or the family when doing so. Reuben is reprimanded and lost his place as firstborn because he slept with his father’s concubine. Simeon and Levi, sons two and three, lost their right to lead the tribes because of their anger – they’re the ones who murdered the men of Shechem, the mountain Jacob just bequeathed to Joseph. Then there is Judah.
Remember when Leah named her children? With the first three children, it was about her desire to be loved and noticed; however, with Judah, she worshipped the Lord. Interestingly, Jacob buried Leah with Abraham and Isaac, and it is with them that Jacob requests to be buried, not with his beloved Rachel. Whether in deference to her as the first wife, we don’t know. However, her son, Judah, is granted the scepter of rule for Israel. Even though he messed up with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, he recognized he did not act righteously and repented (Gen. 38). When Joseph’s cup was found in Benjamin’s bag, Judah interceded and asked to take Benjamin’s place so that Benjamin could return to their father (Gen. 44). In the end, Judah, “praise,” would usher in Messiah.
I don’t want to focus too much on the individual characteristics of Jacob’s prophetic words over the nation his clan has become. If you enjoy archaeological evidence as I do, I encourage you to look at a unique seal that some believe could be the nation’s seal for commerce at 12 Tribes of Israel on a Seal From Egypt? – Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy. I have included the picture for you to match with the individual tribes.
What I want to point out to you is Genesis 49:28, which states, “These are the tribes of Israel, twelve in all.” There seems to be nothing of importance at first glance, but look at verse thirty-three, where we are told, “When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died.” This is vital. It was the sons of Israel that formed a nation. The prophetic lived on; the flesh died. It has to; the flesh has no choice. The prophetic initiated the exponential growth into God’s multigenerational vision to redeem the nations. It is this same thing that we want to occur in our lives – that our flesh will die and the prophetic manifest so that God’s plans and purposes will carry on beyond our lives.
Remember Israel’s inheritance for Joseph to give him the mountain? Joseph will live to the ripe age of 110. After Jacob’s death, the other brothers become fearful but true to his nature, Joseph offers forgiveness and provides for his brothers. Joseph will live to see three more generations in his own family, and at his death, he charges the Israelites, “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here” (Gen. 50:25). The prophetic always seeks its rest in the promise. Jacob’s death initiated the beginning of a nation; Joseph’s death reminded them that the promise would come to pass and that when it happened, he wanted even his bones to be a part of it. For the next four centuries, as the children of Israel were more oppressed, Joseph’s final words would be a lifeline and a reminder to the nation of God’s promise.
This is why stepping into your prophetic destiny is so crucial to the coming generations. You can’t afford to focus on yourself. As God moves, so we must move to establish a place for His remnant and hope for them when the world seeks to silence them. Jacob and Joseph were gathered to their fathers. We have a great cloud of witnesses. Why do we need to walk boldly into everything God has called us to do? As the Apostle Paul so eloquently put it,
“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
You are the continuation of the promise to Abraham! Heaven is cheering you on to victory. Every moment of our lives has the potential to shake the heavenlies and establish God’s purposes in the earth. If you read this series hoping for a “how to” manual, I’m sorry to disappoint. We cannot see what the coming generations will experience because of our obedience or lack thereof. However, we do know that God allows us the extraordinary privilege of partnering with Him to bring the message of His redeeming power to the world. There is a great joy set before us, and we must choose to persevere for the sake of those who come behind.
Father, how magnificent You are. Your ways are so much higher than mine. May my life reflect the glory of You. May it be said of me that I was able to set aside sin and the hindering influences of the enemy to see Your plans accomplished in the earth. May I always be cognizant of what You are not just doing in me, but in the generations coming behind me and in the nations of the world. Thank You that You are now preparing me and instilling in me all that I need to run the race You have set before me. May You be glorified! Amen.