October 29, 2020

Last Words

Genesis 49:1-2, 28-33

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

—  Genesis 49:28

Last words are always important. Being aware of the shortness of life can often focus our conversations on the most important things.

Jacob’s parting words to his sons are recorded in Genesis 49:3-27. Though some parts of this chapter may seem obscure to us now, we can see how Jacob assesses his sons’ character and that he offers some rebuke and correction as well as some encouragement and hope. His words are described as a “blessing,” a gift that should call each of these sons to seek a deeper relationship with God.

As a final instruction, Jacob ­issues details about his burial. This is an expression of confidence that the land God had promised to Abraham would someday be the home of Jacob’s descendants.

Through a lifetime of struggle, Jacob has seen how God has worked out his purposes and promises. And now, after reminding his family of God’s promises, he can die in peace.

The greatest blessing we can pass along to those who follow us is the assurance that God is at work in our lives to redeem us and restore us in Christ. Whether your remaining time on earth is short or long, have you considered how to share that legacy?

Holy Spirit, give us words to speak that tell of your grace and kindness despite our sin. May our con­versations speak of Jesus and his salvation, to the Father’s glory. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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