Jacob’s Last Will & Testament

20 February 2022 PM – Genesis 48:1-49:33 – Gen2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: As we come to the end of Jacob’s 147 years on this earth, we find him worn out, but still in his right mind. On the last day of his life, he made out his Last Will & Testament. Though it worked for him, that is not the timing we ought to follow. Many people die suddenly and unexpectedly. Others lose their clear thinking as they near their end on earth. Therefore, it is wise for every adult, especially if married, to write a Last Will & Testament early in life.
Transition: Genesis 48-49 contain Jacob’s Last Will & Testament. God gave us this record to help us prepare for our own deaths.
1.        Jacob Adopted Joseph’s boys (Ge 48:1-22)
When Joseph heard that his father was sick and would probably soon die, he went to visit him (48:1-2).
a.         Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons (48:2-12)
1)         Jacob began telling Joseph his history. At Luz, God had promised to bless him and to give him Canaan as an everlasting possession (48:3-4).
2)         Jacob adopted Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, as his own sons (48:5-6).
3)         He reviewed the death of Joseph’s mother, Rachel (48:7).
4)         Joseph presented his boys to their grandfather (48:8-12). By this time, the boys were between 22-25 years old.
b.         Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons (48:13-20).
1)         Joseph arranged his sons before Jacob, the older on his right and the younger on his left (48:13).
2)         Though Jacob was nearly blind, but being guided by God, he placed his right hand [the greatest blessing] on the younger (Ephraim) and his left hand on the older (Manasseh) (48:14).
3)         Joseph tried to change his father’s hands, but Jacob refused (48:17-20).
c.          Jacob then blessed Joseph (48:21-22)
1)         It appears Jacob was giving Joseph the double blessing of the firstborn son instead of Reuben.
2)         He gave him a double portion of an unknown plot of land.
  • There is a sense in which Jacob was writing his will. He was making sure that there were no loose ends when he died. If you are an adult, whether you are young or old, you ought to have a will that you have prayerfully written.
2.        Jacob Spoke to His Sons (Ge 49:1-28)
a.         Jacob called all his sons together
He called them together so he could tell them what would happen to them in the future (49:1-2).
b.         Jacob spoke a word of prophesy about each son
Evidently, Jacob was a prophet, at least on this occasion.
1)         Reuben: (49:3-4) He was unstable and would not excel.
2)         Simeon & Levi: (49:5-7) These brothers killed the men of Shechem. He cursed their anger and said they would be scattered.
3)         Judah: (49:8-12) He will be praised. He will be a victor. The children of Israel would bow down to him. He will be like a lion. The sceptre shall not depart from him. He will be the leader of the family until Shiloh come. It seems likely that “Shiloh” has reference to the Messiah. He will be prosperous. We know that latter from Judah’s family came the royal line of David.
4)         Zebulun: (49:13) He would eventually live near the sea (Galilee).
5)         Issachar: (49:14-15) He would be physically strong and a fruitful farmer in the pleasant land.
6)         Dan: (49:16-18) He will be a judge. The family of Dan is mentioned several times in the book of Judges. The judge Samson was from the tribe of Dan.
7)         Gad: (49:19) He would be effective in battle.
8)         Asher: (49:20) He would enjoy very fruitful soil, namely, the lowlands of the Carmel (lit. vineyard) range north along the Mediterranean coast. This area contained some of the most fertile land in Canaan. Constable
9)         Naphtali: (49:21) Like the hind or gazelle he would be free and lively and have good speakers.
10)     Joseph: (49:22-26) He would be a fruitful bough by a well (very fruitful). The mighty hand of God will strengthen him. God will help him. The Almighty will bless him in many ways. “Judah received the leadership of the tribes, but Joseph obtained the double portion of the birthright (cf. 1 Chron. 5:2).” Constable (1Chr 5:2) “For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)
11)     Benjamin: (49:27) He would be like a hungry wild wolf.
  • Why did God direct Jacob to give Joseph this special double blessing? I believe one reason was his walk with God. All through the Bible, God blesses those who walk with Him. We find one example of this in Psalm 1:1-3. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and nig And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
  • Jesus gave us His requirements for walking close to Him. (Luke 9:23) “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” If you want God to bless your life, you must spend time with Him every day in the Bible and prayer, deny your own desires, and seek to please him in the way you live.
3.        Jacob’s Final Charge (Ge 49:29-33)
a.         He charged them to bury him in Canaan
1)         He charged them with explicit instructions (47:29-31).
a)         He did not want to be buried in Egypt.
b)         He wanted to be buried in Canaan, next to his father and grandfather.
c)         Abraham had purchased that burial cave in the field of Machpelah before Mamre in the land of Canaan, from Ephron the Hittite.
2)         It was the cave where Abraham and Sarah were buried and Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob’s wife Leah.
b.         Jacob died
1)         When he finished his speech, he gathered his feet into the bed and died. Wow! That’s the way to go!
2)         When he died, “he was gathered unto his people”. This is an idiom for death and burial. This same phrase describes the death of Abraham and Isaac (Ge 25:8; 35:29).
3)         This is a sober reminder that when we die, life does not end. Many people today think that death will end their existence. The Bible says the opposite.
a)         At death, the souls of all who know Jesus as their Saviour will go immediately to be with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
b)         At death, the soul of every unbeliever will go to hell. (Luke 16:22) “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
c)         After death, every person will give account to God. (Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Conclusion: The best time to prepare for death is RIGHT NOW. Not one of us has any guarantee that we will live another day. I believe the Bible identifies four ways that we ought to prepare for death. First, we ought to prepare our soul to meet our Creator. If you have not truly trusted Christ, that is primary. Second, we ought to prepare by investing our lives in rearing our children for God’s glory. Teach, train, love, listen, lead, guide, discipline, pray and spend much time with them. That 20-year window will pass in a flash. Third, we ought to prepare by serving the Lord with our whole hearts. We will not get a second chance. Finally, we ought to prepare as Jacob did by making out a Last Will & Testament. This will insure that those we love will receive, according to our wishes, what we leave behind. Click link for help making a free will. https://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/last-will-and-testament-au/?loc=AU&pid=googleppc-will_au-TemplateT1_aq11dp-ggkey_last%20will%20and%20testament%20template&gclid=CjwKCAiAgbiQBhAHEiwAuQ6BkqDh6b8rgJvzVpfVQC_EoIw57H5IT-WDJ64XjLiFBmL1cmfgc53d4hoCBQ4QAvD_BwE#.Yg8b8-hBxaQ
Song: Take Time to Be Holy 376