49 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
    listen to your father Israel.

I often think about the quote: ‘We make our decisions, then our decisions turn around and make us.’ Sins can be forgiven, but unwanted outcomes can’t always be unpicked. David was forgiven for his sin, but the noble Uriah could not be brought back from the grave; David’s baby died, and people knew he was an adulterer. His reputation was tarnished; his example damaged, and there were serious consequences, especially in his own family.

‘How tragic to have to live with the consequences of forgiven sin.’

If only we would listen to our ‘fathers’, to those older and wiser we might be saved many a heartache. Their wisdom could inform our ways. But the young do not always want to listen to the grey heads, and often have to learn at the feet of bitter experience.

These ‘blessings’ of Jacob are among the earliest prophetic writings in the Bible. Jacob, under the direct inspiration of God, tells his sons about future things.

This ‘is a prophecy of what the sons could expect in the future because of their individual characters and the decisions they had made.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.45.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to be willing to learn all we can, while we can, from those whose wisdom might be able to keep us from many a pitfall. Thank you for putting these wonderful friends all around us. They are gifts.