trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Crime and Punishment

Suffering is something else.

Genesis 49:1–7 (ESV)

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.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”

Jacob doesn’t call this a blessing, though it’s reminiscent of blessings Abraham and Isaac gave.

But this time it’s not so simple. Abraham and Isaac weren’t faced with dividing the covenantal promise among many sons. One son was the heir of the covenant and one son wasn’t. Now Israel is doling the whole thing out.

It’d be a stretch to call this a blessing since these three sons get chewed out. So Jacob describes this literally. It’s what shall happen to you in days to come.

Reuben is lucky to not get completely disinherited, given what he did with Bilhah. He loses the preeminence due to the firstborn, but he’s still in the family.

Simeon and Levi are punished for massacring the men of Shechem. Jacob isn’t buying the excuse they gave him in Genesis 34:31. It shouldn’t satisfy us either; Simeon and Levi’s double dealing with men who were mostly innocent bystanders was reprehensible.

It’s good to see Jacob follow through on this.

How awesome it is to think that God’s punishment of Levi is to make his descendants priests. We just saw how Pharaoh’s undeserving priests got favored in the distribution of food. This is the typical way of the world, but God does the exact opposite with His priests.

This fits with how following Christ is difficult by design. The priesthood of all believers means the suffering of all believers. That’s the way it should be.

Americans almost never suffer for their faith, but there ought to be something more to this than just singing and studying and having fun.

Sure, we do a lot of charity, but is that enough?

To forward this devotional, see the link in green below.

These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.