When you are a kid you have an acute sense of fairness don’t you? Especially with regard to your own treatment! If your parents were to buy one of your siblings an ice-cream then you would consider it an enormous injustice if you didn’t also receive the same blessing, preferably with a flake. And if, when a cake is cut into slices, someone else’s slice is a millimetre bigger than yours, even though they are twice your age and height, it is quite possibly the end of the world. If you manage to survive this apocalypse and are not killed of by the hardship and unfairness of cake portioning then you may grow up to become a parent. As a parent you discover that it isn’t nearly as simple as your seven-year-old self thought. Obviously you love all your children equally and favouritism like Jacob showed Joseph is not a great plan for a happy, healthy family but loving your kids equally doesn’t mean you love them the same. For example if I were to purchase my teenager a sheet of puffy stickers as a treat she would no doubt roll her eyes at me (in gratitude obviously), or if I enthusiastically took my youngest out for coffee and made her drink actual coffee she would not really feel the love. You see the issue is that we are all unique – there is no one else the same as you anywhere on planet earth, at anytime in history. You are one of a kind! And what makes you happy is unique too.
Personally I’m a big fan of stickers (puffy or otherwise.) I got a massive pack of alphabet stickers for just 2 quid!! I felt very blessed by that little bargain (aren’t they cute? And in loads of colours!). I bet some of you would be utterly unimpressed and not even slightly blessed by such a find because we are all different! In Genesis 49 we read about Jacob’s sons and grandsons receiving unique blessings because they are all different and have different journeys ahead of them. Their Father knows them well and is deliberate and prophetic in his choice of words over each of them.
“Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come. “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.” Genesis 49:1-2
He goes on to talk about Reuben’s excellent strength and honour which he exchanged for disgrace. Simeon and Levi who are both full of anger will be scattered throughout Israel. Judah will be praised by his family and victorious over his enemies – ruling like a lion. Zebulen will live at the seaside. Issachar will be like a donkey in a beautiful land forced into slavery. Dan will bring justice like a tiny poisonous snake biting a big horse. Gad will be attacked by bandits but he will trip them up. Asher will be famous for sweeties. Naphtali will be like a deer with beautiful fawns. Joseph is like a wild donkey avoiding arrow fire because God has his back and Benjamin is a ravenous wolf with plenty to eat.
I love how Jacob describes many of them like different animals – pictures of their strengths and weaknesses, each one of them designed for a different destiny. I wonder how I would describe each of my kids as an animal? It can be easy to look at other people’s lives and wish we had their gifting or opportunities or calling. We might wish we had beautiful fawns when God has made us a wolf. We might long to be like a haven by the sea but be called to bring justice like viper. We might like the idea of ruling like a lion but instead end up famous for making desserts fit for kings. God has a unique plan for each one of His children. I am reminding myself today not to be envious where other people receive blessing – my Father knows me and my unique path. He has plenty of provision and favour and opportunity and sticker bargains to go round!
It is also interesting to see how many of the brothers are living with the consequences of their own sin. Reuben missed out on his inheritance as first-born son because he slept with his father’s wife. Levi and Simeon were full of anger and hatred – murdering and setting a course for hostility. Because of their sin Judah receives the role of leader and it is from his family line that the Lion of Judah, Jesus is born. It might feel like we have disqualified ourselves from God’s blessing and our destiny due to our sin but God has better plan for us;
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10
We have redemption and forgiveness lavished on us. Every spiritual blessing is ours – not because of how impressive we in our unique donkey/deer/wolf callings but because of Jesus. God’s plan for you, set in motion from before the foundation of the world is to make you holy and to shower you with blessings. What an incredible Father He is! May you know many blessings this week. Thanks for reading. Much love Rach. x