Genesis Day 68: Transition Points: Legacy, Those Final Words
Some of us have been at the death bed of a loved one who was well enough to utter their last wishes.
Sometimes, we must wait until the reading of the Last Will and Testament to find out what the recently departed desired and felt.
Regardless of whether or not you know what is coming, it is hard and emotional for those who remain.
In the United States, fewer than 40% of Americans have a written will. Some people do a better job than others planning for this ultimate transition.
I have been at the reading of more than one Last Will and Testament. My parents, and a few others. Fortunately, my father prepared my siblings and me. I think we all understood how he wanted things to play out. We certainly knew what his top concern was—the care of my mother.
Yet even with all those preparations, when you sit around the table, and it is formally read, it is a big moment—and there are emotions.
I am trying to picture this scene in chapter 49.
Jacob communicates, in person, parting words to his sons. His words are more than a blessing. His words communicate how he sees each of them. Consider:
Reuben…it starts with his preeminence, including preeminence in pride. Reuben must wince at these words. It gets worse. It ends with citing how unstable Reuben is, how he slept with his father’s concubine…and so he is not preeminent.
Simeon and Levi…they’re lumped together because they dealt treacherously with Shechem over the defilement of Dinah. They took advantage of an agreement Jacob had made. Their anger is repeatedly spoken of, and there is no blessing.
This Patriarch does not mince his words.
Judah…while the details of this section of the poem have posed challenges for scholars, it is clear Judah is destined to by supreme. Indeed, King David, and later Jesus will come from this tribe. I wonder if Judah is making eye contact with the others.
The list goes on.
I find myself looking at some of the other brothers. There is Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali.
While the rest of Jacob’s sons received their blessing earlier, Joseph is not left out. The blessing is extravagant. Jacob invokes the name of God Almighty.
I wonder why more is not proclaimed about Benjamin—he holds such a special place in Jacob’s heart.
Remarkable, really. But I believe there is more.
Recall, in Genesis 28:13-15, standing at the bottom of that heavenly ladder, Jacob was engaged by God.
In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed…
God spoke to Jacob. Jacob knew that his legacy was far-reaching. God worked through him in his life, and in the lives of his offspring—to bless all families of the earth.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then your legacy includes being part of the family through whom God blesses the families of the earth—wow!
When the goal of my legacy is set before me, it serves as more than a horizon. It serves as a target to aim for.
Today, let’s consider how we are living our lives. What’s my target? What’s yours? Is it fame, fortune, or success? Are we following our dreams? Are we intent on providing for our grandkids? Are we striving for perfection, to do all the good we can? Those are all okay but consider another idea: God has invited us to aim for something that is going to last well beyond our own years on earth. He has invited us to be not our own legacies, but to be part of his legacy.