Trouble in the Household-Part 5

Trouble In the Household 5

Gen. 47:29-48:7; 49:29-33




1.  Jacob’s family was troubled by sin, deception, marital problems, fear, grief, jealousy, power struggles and conflict.

2.  Yet, God blessed them with children, wealth, and Hisfaithful loyalty.  He made them promises.  He told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they would receive the land of Canaan, that they would become a great nation of people, and that through them all the families of the earth would be blessed.

3.  Now Jacob, also known as Israel, was in Egypt with his household.  They had been brought there by God’s providential activity through Joseph.

4.  Israel is now about to die, and he reminds Joseph of the promises of God and asks him to return his body to the promised land, the land of Canaan.

5.  The end of a person’s life is often a time of reflection as well as a time of looking forward.  The end of Israel’s life was just that.

6.  What were his reflections?  What did he see as he looked forward?  How do we see ourselves in his reflections and in his future?  How does his life relate to our own?




I.  As Jacob looked back over his life, he remembered the promise of God (48:1-4).


   A.  As is typical when we approach death consideration is given to where we are 

        going to be buried.  Jacob considered this (Gen. 47:29-31).  Where he was to be 

        buried involved the promise of God.  He wanted to be buried in Canaan.

   B.  The promise of God was given at Luz (Bethel) when Jacob saw the ladder 

         reaching up into heaven (Gen. 38:10-22).

         1.  The promise was three-fold.

               a.  Land (13).

               b.  Descendants (14a).

               c.  “In your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed” (14b).

         2.  God promised to be with Jacob (15).  He promises to be with you (Heb. 13:5).

         3.  Jacob made a vow of commitment to the Lord.

    C.  When you look back over your life will it be the promises of God that are primary 

          in your memory?  Will you remember your commitment to Him?  Often at 

          funerals we reflect on the lives of those who have died.  We may remember 

          things they have accomplished—contributions to the good of mankind, 

           economic, political, and vocational accomplishments.  Jacob remembered 

           God’s promises!

      D.  Had Joseph spoken at the funeral I think he would have reflected on these 

            promises (see Gen. 50:22-25).


II.  As Jacob looked forward, he called on God to bless the future of his descendants.


    A.  His blessing on Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) (48:8-22).

    B.  Ephraim is blessed as primary of the two, although he is second born.

    C.  The tribe of Ephraim will become especially prominent later in the history of the 


    D.  Jacob blessed each of his sons (49:1ff).

         1.  Are there things you have done in your life that follow you indefinitely?  Such 

             was the case for Reuben, and Simeon and Levi.

             a.  Reuben is the firstborn and described as preeminent in dignity and 

                  preeminent in power, but uncontrolled as water.  Jacob said, “You shall not 

                  have preeminence because you went up to your father’s bed.”  Cf. Gen. 

                  35:22.  Sometimes we don’t have the character to sustain our position.  

                  Character is critical to leadership among God’s people.

                  Illustration of couple building new house.  Before they moved in it was up 

                  for sale.  The one telling the story spoke of how the husband came home 

                  early one day.  Lack of sexual self-control is destructive.  Prov. 6:26 says it 

                  can reduce you to a loaf of bread.  7:23 refers to it costing you your life.  

            b.  Simeon and Levi through their anger and self-will slew the men of Shechem 

                 (49:5-7; cf. Gen. 34:25ff).  Anger and self-will are destructive forces.  Woe to 

                 those who are known for their anger, self-will, and cruelty.  “Blessed are the 

                 peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).  “Never pay 

                 back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom. 12:17).  “Bless those who persecute you;

                 bless and do not curse” (Rom. 12:14).  “All of you be harmonious, 

                 sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil 

                 for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead” (1 Pet. 3:8).

        2.  The tribes of Judah and Joseph will become preeminent in Israel.

             a.  Judah will be the tribe from which the kings of Jerusalem will come (49:10).

                  David will descend from Judah.  Ultimately, Jesus, God’s great king, 

                  comes from Judah (Acts 2:29-36).  It is through Him that all nations are 

                  blessed (cf. Rom. 15:8-12).

              b.  Joseph, particularly through Ephraim, will be blessed and will become the 

                   second most exalted tribe of Israel (Gen. 49:22ff).  Ephraim was blessed to 

                   hear from Jacob about the promise made to the fathers (Gen. 48:15-16) 

                  and was identified as the recipient of those promises.  Joshua was from 

                  Ephraim.  (Was this part of the reason for his commitment to take the land 

                  as opposed to the other spies?)  Jeroboam I was from Ephraim and during 

                  the divided kingdom Ephraim and Judah were the two most powerful 

                  tribes.  In Chronicles, Isaiah, Hosea and other prophets Ephraim is 

                  commonly used for reference to the northern kingdom.

           3.  The other tribes are unremarkable by comparison to these.


III.  Jacob saw himself and his family as part of the unfolding plan of God.  


     A.  Jacob trusted in the promises of God.

          1.  He and his family sinned.  They stumbled.  They fumbled, but still God was 

               faithful to them.  They made many grave errors.  They did not receive the 

               promises because they were particularly good.  They were not.

          2.  You and your family have sinned and stumbled and goofed up.  You have 

               experienced trouble as a result.  But God is faithful to you.

     B.  The promises he made to Jacob involve you.  

           1.  God gave them the land to preserve a people alive.

           2.  God made them into a nation to preserve a people alive.

           3.  God raised up Jacob’s descendants to preserve your life through Jesus 


     C.  The message of the gospel is about the promise made to Abraham, Isaac and 

          Jacob (cf. Gal. 3:16-29).  By trusting in what God has done you can be joined to 

          the family of Abraham and become an heir according to promise (Gal. 3:29).  

          You can become an heir to the forgiveness made available by what Jesus did on 

          the cross.




1.  Will you trust in the promises?

2.  Will you experience the blessing that God has prepared for you through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?


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