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Blessing Sinful Children Like Issachar and Dan (Genesis 49:14-18)

November 2, 2020 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: The Life of Joseph

Any good parent can see the good in their children as well as the bad. Jacob is ‘blessing’ his sons by predicting their future based on their past behavior. As we saw last week, sometimes his predictions were true, and sometimes they weren’t. But they are always based on his sons’ character.

As we look at his predictions regarding the future of Issachar and Dan, we notice how disappointed Jacob is in the character of these two sons.


Please read Genesis 49:14-18.

Jacob is disappointed in both of these sons, but for different reasons.

Issachar apparently has demonstrated great physical strength, but lacks any will to use it for great purposes. Jacob compares him to a strong donkey who can accomplish great work, but will do it for someone else.

The tribe of Issachar indeed will posses land in the Jezreel valley which is pleasant and produces great crops. But this land is filled with popular trade routes that other nations used to oppress these people. Issachar would work hard, but often see the fruit of their labor go to others.

Dan is disappointing in another manner. Jacob can predict that he will become a great leader, but his heart is clearly not sold out to God, and Jacob predicts that Dan will lead his people astray.

Our recent study in the book of judges confirms this prediction: great leaders like Samson came from the tribe of Dan, but the Danites established a cult of idolatry that would regularly lead Israel astray. They were serpents who would trick their brothers into following false idols. Their idolatry would become so great that they aren’t even mentioned as one of the future twelve tribes of Israel in Revelation 7.

When Jacob thinks about how pathetic Issachar will become, and how idolatrous Dan will become, he cries out “I wait for your salvation, O Lord.”

Can you imagine being so disappointed in the character your children that you publicly acknowledge that only God will be able to deliver them?

The truth is that we all need God to save our children. Apart from faith in Jesus Christ, all of our children are sinners destined for hell.

We like to think good thoughts about our children. We like to brag about their successes and downplay their moral failures. We like to show off their pretty outfits and cute smiles, while never posting pictures of their attitudes and temper tantrums.

But the truth is that even the godliest of parents are raising little sinners that need to be redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We must pray for our children. We must do our best to raise them according to God’s Word. We must teach them godly principles. But, ultimately, we know that only Jesus can save them. Only Jesus can deliver them from their wretched body of death.

When we look to the future of our children, like Jacob, we must pray, “I wait for your salvation, O Lord!” O God, please save our children! For apart from you, they can do nothing.