Read Genesis 49:1-28
Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.” Genesis 49:1
Living Life Like James Bond
I have a friend, Kent, whose life was a little bit like a James Bond movie–at least for a couple of years. When he was in his twenties, he used to deliver Top Secret documents to a government location he won’t permit me to disclose. He traveled with a Halliburton attache case handcuffed to his wrist. He carried a 45 Colt in a shoulder holster, and a 38 Smith and Wesson on his ankle for backup. He was a nice looking guy and, not surprisingly, women found his secret agent persona attractive. Several female flight attendants made themselves sexually available to him. He decided to take them up on their offers. He was married at the time.
Sounds like a movie right?
If you gave any thought to his situation at all, you won’t be surprised when I tell you he wound up divorced. Back in those days, had someone as wise as Jacob been around, he might have told Kent, “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.” But even Jacob may have been surprised to learn how terrible the consequences were for Kent. Kent’s relationships with his kids were severely damaged. A few years ago, Kent’s son committed suicide on Kent’s birthday.
Tragically, my friend found out the hard way, life’s not a movie.
Reuben Makes a Trade For Forty-five Minutes
In our text in Genesis Chapter 49 we see Jacob reveal the future to all his sons. He starts with his oldest son Reuben who, as the firstborn, should have received the greatest blessing and the brightest future. And Jacob’s prophetical message kind of starts out that way, he says, “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.” (Genesis 49:3)
Sounds good so far right?
But then he says,”Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.” (Genesis 49:4)
What’s Jacob talking about here? Back in Genesis 35:22, when Reuben was younger, he decided to have sex with his father’s concubine Bilhah. (see Genesis 35:22)
When you read Genesis Chapter 49, notice something about these statements Jacob’s making concerning his twelve sons–they have far reaching impact. We’re talking thousands of years here. Reuben’s decision to let his lust rule didn’t just effect Reuben, it effected his descendants for generations to come.
Reuben traded forty-five minutes of pleasure for consequences lasting thousands of years and effecting thousands of people.
Similarly, Kent’s decision to have a fling with those stewardesses didn’t just effect Kent, his whole family experienced tragedy.
The whole idea here goes back to the truth: sin isn’t bad because it’s sin–sin is sin because it’s bad. It’s bad–for you. And it’s bad for the people around you. God loves you, He’s for you, He wants to see you do well. So God’s love for you compels Him to call those things which will harm you, sin.
Today I can tell you, Kent would give anything to have those years back–so he could do things differently.
Hope and Change
The good news is Kent has found hope in Christ. He’s given his life over to Him and he’s transformed into a different person. His process for decision making now involves prayer and scripture instead of following a do what feels good philosophy.
He no longer lives life like he’s in a James Bond movie, but he’s much happier now than he ever was in those days.
Turn your heart toward God and you can experience that same change.
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[Image via toastforbrekkie]
Kent and I are writing his biography. The book is scheduled to come out in 2013.