2-3-2 The Humility Of Jacob
This sense of mutuality between God and Jacob was associated with Jacob's
achievement of a true humility. The way he blessed his sons in Gen. 49
indicates this; note how he saw Isaachar's greatness in the fact he was
a humble servant (49:14). He learnt the lesson of that night of wrestling;
his natural strength was not to be gloried in, neither was this to be
his true greatness. The way he rebukes and effectively rejects Reuben,
Simeon and Levi, the sons who had flaunted their natural strength and
prowess, reflects the perspectives which Jacob attained at the end. "
Reuben...my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of
dignity, and the excellency of power...thou shalt not excel" (49:3,4)
sounds as if Jacob associated his natural strength with Reuben, and yet
now he rejected it. Doubtless these men gathered round their father expecting
to hear some sweet fatherly blessing mixed with a few gentle reproofs
for past behaviour. The whole process of Israel's sons being " gathered"
to him and receiving their blessing and judgment is typical of the final
judgment, showing how Jacob was a type of Christ at this time. The surprise
of the sons we are left to imagine, but it would point forward quite accurately
to the surprise which will be a feature of the rejected (Mt. 25:44).
The same growth in humility is to be seen in the account of Job's spiritual
growth. There are, it seems, intended similarities between these two men;
both lived in tents and are described as " perfect" , both lived
among Edomites, both were initially self-righteous, both came to an abrupt
watershed in their spiritual experience, due to the work of their Angels;
both had false friends, adversaries and problems with their wives, and
both ended up rich at the end, with more importantly a fine appreciation
of Messiah and the sweet day of His Kingdom.
Jacob's attaining a true humility, his making Yahweh his very own God,
his realization of the personal relevance of the promises of the Gospel,
resulted in a wonderful opening up of Jacob at the end. Throughout his
life, he comes over as a man of few words. It made an interesting exercise
to copy out all the words Jacob is recorded as saying. Until Gen. 48 and
49, we are left with the a kind of staccato effect; he speaks with jerks
and jolts, often with an underlying bitterness and deep suspicion; and
there are some profound silences recorded, where he simply doesn't respond,
but bottles everything up inside him (28:5; 35:9-13, 19, 29). There is
no record of any weeping after the death of his dear Rachel, or leaving
his beloved mum, or at the death of his father who had such a huge spiritual
influence on him; and there were precious few words from him when he learnt
of the supposed death of Joseph (37:35). But now at the end, there is
a tremendous openness, words flow from him; he knows whom he has believed,
and can speak confidently to his family about Him, from his own experience.
One senses a great sense of positiveness about him. At age 130, he mumbled
to Pharaoh: " Few and evil have the days of the years of
my life been" , as if every day had dragged (47:9). But at the very
end, 17 years later, he more positively speaks of the Angel that had redeemed
him from all evil (48:15).