Saturday, May 26, 2012
JACOB, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 5/26/2012
CONFRONTING THE PROBLEM OF SIN, Lesson 65a
The time has come for the old Patriarch Jacob to die. His 147 years have been eventful and difficult, yet they have been blessed. Before he leaves this world, he gathers his sons around his bedside to speak to them one last time.
In these verses Jacob addresses his sons in light of the future. He tells them what will come their way “in the last days.” This is a reference to the kingdom years of Israel.
The details of Jacob’s prophecy to each of his sons, as they stood around his bedside, were amazingly accurate. In fact, this passage has been a favorite of Bible critics. They cannot believe that these words were uttered before the events they described took place.
These prophecies, and their accurate fulfillment, stands as one of the greatest proofs of the inspiration of the Word of God. How did Jacob know things that would take place hundreds of years after his death? The Holy Ghost told him!
As we examine these words of Jacob, we do not have the time in this message to teach about what Jacob had to say to each of his sons. By way of introduction, a quick overview of this chapter is in order. As we consider the Jacob’s words to his sons, we see the sons of Jacob divided into three groups.
Some Were Disqualified – Because of their sin some of these boys were destined for judgment and not blessing. Those disqualified were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Dan.
Some Were Distinguished – Some of Jacob’s sons destined for blessings down the road. God took some of these men, who were mostly insignificant in the family, and elevated them to places of prominence in the future kingdom. Those distinguished were Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, and Benjamin.
One Was Different – Joseph stood out among his brethren. He was singled out for a word of special blessing by his father. He was set apart to receive special blessings. In fact, Joseph was given the place of the first born. He received a double portion of his father’s inheritance. That double portion was given to his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.
As I said, we do not have time today to consider Jacob’s words to all of his sons. However, I do want to focus our attention of a few of the sons of Jacob today. The reason I focus on these few is because we share a common problem with them. We share the problem of sin.
If you will notice the words of Jacob in verse 2, he says, “hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.” If you will remember “Jacob” is the old man’s birth name. It means “heel-grabber; trickster; or supplanter”. That name identifies Jacob as a man of the flesh. And for years he did live a fleshly life. He was always out to better Jacob, He was always trying to gain an advantage over others.
Then, one night, Jacob met the Master! When he did, his life was changed forever. His name was changed too. No longer was he called “Jacob”. His new name was “Israel”. That name means “Prince with God.” It pictures him as a man of faith, who walks with God. And, that is who Jacob became in his later years.
When he calls his sons to him, he calls them “the sons of Jacob”. I think he is telling them, “You boys are just like I was. You have a sinful, fleshly nature to overcome. You have a sin problem to deal with.”
Doesn’t that describe us all today? If there is one common thread that runs among every person today, it is the common thread of sin. We all have problems with sin! If we do not learn to handle sin the right way, we can be certain that it will handle us. I would like to take the words of Jacob to just a few of his sons and focus on “Confronting The Sin Problem“. I want you to see a Man Who Covered His Sin; some Men Controlled By Their Sin; and a Man Who Confessed His Sin. These examples have some valuable lessons to teach those who will hear them.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“I Bring My Sins To Thee” By Frances R. Havergal (1870)
I bring my sins to Thee,
The sins I cannot count,
That all may cleansĂ¨d be
In Thy once opened Fount;
I bring them, Savior, all to Thee;
The burden is too great for me,
The burden is too great for me.
I bring my grief to Thee,
The grief I cannot tell;
No words shall needed be,
Thou knowest all so well;
I bring the sorrow laid on me,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee,
O suffering Savior, all to Thee.
My life I bring to Thee,
I would not be my own;
O Savior, let me be
Thine ever, Thine alone;
My heart, my life, my all I bring
To Thee, my Savior and my King,
To Thee, my Savior and my King.
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