(Genesis 49, Luke 2; Optional Psalm 34:7-14, Proverbs 10:6-9)
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GENESIS 49 – Helpful summary from ESV Study Bible: [“Close to death, Jacob pronounces on each of his sons a blessing that, reflecting something of their past actions, tells how their descendants will prosper in the future. Passing from oldest to youngest, with one exception, Jacob clearly anticipates that Judah and Joseph will outshine their brothers in importance; together their blessings make up about half of Jacob’s speech. The pronouncements are presented using poetic imagery and language, sometimes with wordplays, which occasionally make them difficult to interpret precisely.”]
Gen 49:1 – Clear that this is more than just the last words of a dying father, and the prophetic elements of these last words certainly did come to pass.
Gen 49:3-4 – See Gen 35:22 and 1 Chron 5:1 about Reuben.
Gen 49:5-7 – Helpful note from John MacArthur Study Bible: [“The cruelty and anger of Simeon and Levi at Shechem was not forgotten (34:25). Its consequences affected Simeon who: 1) became the smallest tribe in the second census of Moses (Num. 26:14); 2) was omitted from the blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:8); and 3) later shared territory with Judah (Josh. 19:1–9). Levi was “scattered” (v. 7) throughout Israel; they became, by God’s grace and through their loyalty to God (Ex. 32:26), the priestly tribe and residents of the cities of refuge. Neither possessed their own designated region in the Land, although Levi’s priestly position was certainly a privileged one (cf. Deut. 33:8–11; Josh. 21:1–3).”]
Gen 49:8-12 – The biggest surprise in the list is this huge focus on Judah, though we’ve seen how God has grown him in the last several chapters and used him more and more in servant leadership. The predictions here have a measure of fulfillment in King David, born in the line of Judah, but things like v 10 (“the obedience of the peoples”) can only be totally fulfilled by Messiah Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (compare Gen 49:9-10 and Rev 5:5)!
Gen 49:22-26 – Reflecting on how God had sovereignly been at work in all Joseph’s afflictions to bring about His good and wise purposes in His own time.
Luke 2 – The birth of Jesus!
Lk 2:1-5 – God sovereignly using a pagan empire to get His Son in place to fulfill prophecy, being born in Bethlehem (fulfilling Micah 5:2).
Lk 2:7 – The King of kings laid in a feeding trough. Humble beginning that will lead to more and more humbling, even to death on a cross. But the humbling is NOT the end of the story (see Phil 2:3-11)!
Lk 2:8 – How often Luke hints at God using ordinary people in their ordinary schedules doing their customary tasks. Also see Lk 1:8-11, 26-28, Lk 2:22-25, 2:36-38, 2:42 and reflect also that some unnamed (and unknown to us) adult had spent hours teaching Mary and Zechariah the Scripture that poured out of them in praise in response to what God was doing. I imagine a shepherd dad in Lk 2:8 talking with his son: “Dad, we have to be out here for another boring night shift?” “Son, I know it’s not exciting, but the work we do IS important. Many of these sheep we raise will be brought into Jerusalem just a few miles over there to be brought into people’s homes for several days and then used as a Passover lamb. And remember that King David before he was a king was a shepherd in this same area!” “I know, Dad, you always remind me! But nothing great NEVER happens in Bethlehem THESE days!”
Lk 2:11 – “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – You don’t get to choose Jesus as SAVIOR now and then MAYBE decide He will be Lord / Master of your life later. He’s not a buffet! He’s SAVIOR, CHRIST (Messiah / Promised Anointed One), and LORD.
Lk 2:14 – Many get very depressed seeing part of this verse on Christmas cards and wondering, “where’s the peace on earth?” They’re missing that Jesus PRIMARILY came to bring terms of peace with GOD. From “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” – “God and sinners RECONCILED!”
Lk 2:17-18 – Compare Lk 1:65-66, 2:38 – the “buzz” continues! People are talking…it appears that God is on the move, continuing the Redemption story from where He left off in the end of Malachi (pointing to John preparing the way for Messiah Jesus)!
Lk 2:30-32 – “all peoples” – ONE SAVIOR and LORD for Jews and Gentiles (compare v 10).
Lk 2:52 – Almost the same words as 1 Samuel 2:26 – the implication may be that Samuel was greatly used by God, but One far greater is here now!
Optional Psalm 34:7-14 – Such a key text in understanding that PROPER Fear of God leads to CONFIDENCE in God and a righteous life that God blesses. The END of the story (see Rev 21-22) of every one who has proper fear of God is eternal blessing!
Optional Proverbs 10:6-9 – Beside Prov 10:8 I’ve written an application question: “Do I LISTEN to God’s commands, or BABBLE?”