Jacob’s love for Rachel seems to be one of the great love stories in the Bible, but at the end of his life, he didn’t ask to be buried with Rachel. He made a very surprising request.
Genesis 49 & 50
When Others Hurt You
The Death of Jacob
As we conclude our reading in Genesis, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Genesis is one of my favorite books and chapter 50 contains one of my favorite verses, verse 20.
In chapter 49 Jacob is dying and he gathers his sons around him to speak to them for the last time. Commenting in depth on what follows in verses 2-27 would require more time and study than I can give here. But remember, God, who knows the end from the beginning, was speaking prophetically through Jacob. The things he spoke foretold future events, but also reflected each of his sons’ characters and their past.
But let’s take a minute and read back over his words to Judah in chapter 49:
8 “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
11 Binding his donkey to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
He washed his garments in wine,
And his clothes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
And his teeth whiter than milk.
Jesus was to come through the tribe, or descendants, of Judah and much of this speaks of Him. But as you think about Judah remember this is the man who in chapter 38 married a Canaanite woman, slept with his daughter-in-law Tamar because he had mistaken her for a prostitute, and then hypocritically condemned her to death.
But God was working and when he was confronted with the truth concerning Tamar, Judah said, “… She is more righteous than I …” (Gen. 38.26). He admitted his sin and repented.
In Egypt we get another glimpse of the change in Judah. When it looked like Benjamin was going to be arrested, Judah volunteered to take his place!
This should give us all hope that God can and does change people. It should also give us hope that He can use us in spite of the mistakes we have made, if we will repent and go His way.
When Others Hurt You
Genesis closes with the death of Jacob and a new set of worries for Joseph’s brothers. The old fears come back. They wondered if Joseph was just waiting for their father to die, so he could seek his revenge.
“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50.19-20).
What has God allowed in your life? Has someone meant evil against you? Have you become angry or bitter because of it? Or are you trusting in the sovereignty of God and His ability to cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8.28-29)?
Buried with Leah
One last thought: there is something I find very interesting in Genesis 50.31. Jacob is instructing His sons about where he wants to be buried and the text says, “and there I buried Leah.” Not Rachel, but Leah. Though he didn’t marry her out of love, or even by choice, it appears that as he remained committed to the marriage he learned to love her. True biblical love is not a feeling; it’s a choice and a commitment.
Today’s Other Readings:
Never Good Enough
Verse 3, “… There is none who does good, no, not one.”
There is none who does good! No one, apart from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, can ever be good enough to stand in the presence of a Holy God!
Verse 23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Keep or guard your hearts. Guard what you put in—what movies and TV shows you watch, what you read. Guard what you meditate on and think about. Guard the attitudes of your heart. Bring them into the submission of the Holy Spirit and into obedience to the Word of God.
But what if something you are doing, reading, or watching isn’t clearly named as sin? How can you decide?
First, even when something isn’t forbidden by name, there are often principles in Scripture that can guide us. For instance, while the word “abortion” does not appear in the Bible, we are told not to shed innocent blood:
“They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood” (Ps. 106.37-38).
And what about getting caught up in popular books, movies and TV shows? They’re just fiction—just books, just movies—right? It’s only entertainment. Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend reading or watching this? How important is it to me? What am I willing to give up to do this?”
Then ask yourself, “How obsessed am I about Jesus? How much time do I spend reading my Bible? Or praying? What am I willing to give up to make sure I spend time with God? What is really my priority? Have I put something else in first place ahead of God?”
If God convicts you of something you are watching, reading or thinking about, don’t ignore that conviction. Submit to God; confess any sin as sin; and ask for His help to focus on Him. If He asks you to give something up, what He has is so much better!
C.S. Lewis said we are “so easily satisfied.” So easily satisfied with things that won’t ultimately satisfy!
Can you argue that you have a “right” to watch any movie you want? Or read any book? Can you argue that it’s harmless fun? Yes, and there, certainly, is great freedom in Christ.
But sometimes, as Christians, we aren’t called to choose between purely good and evil, sometimes the choice is between good and better. It may also be a wisdom issue. The Apostle Paul said:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6.12).
And to the Ephesians he wrote:
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Eph. 6.15-16)
Those Who Follow Him
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (vss. 24-28).
What do you want to be found doing, watching, and valuing when He comes?
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