Did you know that God has blessed you with hope and a future? His blessing is both personal, powerful and prophetic. Genesis 49 reveals great truths about prophetic blessings as seen in the Old Testament. By studying Jacob's words, we can also learn how to bless those we love as well.
Jacob's blessings over his offspring were prophetic. God allowed him to foretell something over each of his children. Although some of Jacob's words don't appear to be blessings, they still have the power to bless the life of each child. Jacob's blessings are "tailor-made" for each son, and are wise and fair. The patriarch's words have far-reaching effects. The name of each son represents the entire tribe that will descend from him.
"Then Jacob called for his sons and said: Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come." (Genesis 49:1)
Theologian Bruce Waltke writes: "The prophetic blessings embrace both the near and distant future...from the conquest and distribution of the land to the consummate reign of Christ." "He further states that Jacob's blessings for his sons identify the twelve tribes and their individual blessing, prophesying their unique destinies within their common destiny as a nation."
We have a unique destiny within our common future as Christ's church. After Jesus' death and resurrection, we don't have to be in bondage to the sins of our forefathers. "Jesus...cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Colossians 2:9) We can be free from our past, but we also have a bright future! "We are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
Though Judah, Jacob's errant son, had made mistakes in his lifetime, the far reach of blessing upon the tribes of Israel is never more beautifully displayed than in the prophecy Jacob spoke over Judah. The redemption of this one-foolish son is stunning. God tethers his line to eternity with crimson thread, saving earth's crown for His Son's Head. Genesis 49:9-12:
"You are a lion's cub, O Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs [a]
and the obedience of the nations is his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk."
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah was the same One who, draped in flesh, rode...down the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem as the crowd cried out, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matthew 21:9)
No wonder Judah's name means "praise." Kneel and receive your Blessing. Redemption is your and Jesus is your great reward!
Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), p. 596 and 602.
Beth Moore, The Patriarchs (Nashville, Tennessee: Lifeway Press, 2006), pp. 231-232. Used by permission of Lifeway.com.