1. A CLOSING TESTIMONY
a. What final message did Jacob give to his sons? Genesis 49:1, 2.
“As [Jacob’s] children waited to receive his last blessing the Spirit of Inspiration rested upon him, and before him in prophetic vision the future of his descendants was unfolded. One after another the names of his sons were mentioned, the character of each was described, and the future history of the tribes was briefly foretold.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 235.
“[Jacob] had no resentful feeling toward his sorrowing children. But God by the spirit of prophecy elevated the mind of Jacob above his natural feelings. In his last hours angels were all around him, and the power of the grace of God shone upon him. His paternal feelings would have led him to only utter in his dying testimony expressions of love and tenderness. But under the influence of inspiration he uttered truth, although painful.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 172, 173.
b. How did Jacob’s final request reveal the way God’s powerful grace had amazingly touched the patriarch’s heart regarding his first wife whom he had once hated? Genesis 49:28–31.
2. THE REFINER’S FIRE
a. Describe the end of Jacob’s life and the deep impact it had on those around him—including the Egyptians. Genesis 49:33; 50:1–3. What inspiring legacy did he leave for us also?
“Jacob had sinned, and had deeply suffered. Many years of toil, care, and sorrow had been his since the day when his great sin caused him to flee from his father’s tents. A homeless fugitive, separated from his mother, whom he never saw again; laboring seven years for her whom he loved, only to be basely cheated; toiling twenty years in the service of a covetous and grasping kinsman; seeing his wealth increasing, and sons rising around him, but finding little joy in the contentious and divided household; distressed by his daughter’s shame, by her brothers’ revenge, by the death of Rachel, by the unnatural crime of Reuben, by Judah’s sin, by the cruel deception and malice practiced toward Joseph—how long and dark is the catalogue of evils spread out to view! Again and again he had reaped the fruit of that first wrong deed. Over and over he saw repeated among his sons the sins of which he himself had been guilty. But bitter as had been the discipline, it had accomplished its work. The chastening, though grievous, had yielded ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness.’ Hebrews 12:11.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 237, 238.
b. How can our lives, like Jacob’s, yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness? Hebrews 12:7–11; 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
“It is God who has led you through strait places. He had a purpose in this, that tribulation might work in you patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. He permitted trials to come upon you, that, through them, you might experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 416.
“All the afflictions and trials that befall us here are permitted, to work out [God’s] purposes of love toward us, ‘that we might be partakers of His holiness’ and thus become participants in that fullness of joy which is found in His presence.”—Ibid., vol. 5, p. 742.
“All trials that are received as educators will produce joy.”—Ibid., vol. 6, p. 365.
3. A CALL TO FRUITFULNESS
a. How powerful is God’s commitment to the heritage of Jacob? Leviticus 26:42; Deuteronomy 32:9, 10.
“God surrounded Israel with every facility, gave them every privilege, that would make them an honor to His name and a blessing to surrounding nations. If they would walk in the ways of obedience, He promised to make them ‘high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor.’ ”—Education, p. 40.
“When we have men who, while they acknowledge their deficiencies, will plead with God in earnest faith as did Jacob, we shall see the same results.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 402.
b. Describe the depth of God’s love for His erring people—and what it should make us pause to consider? Jeremiah 31:18–20; Hosea 11:8, 9.
“In His great mercy God has not cut you down. He does not look coldly upon you. He does not turn away with indifference.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 217.
c. Explain the privilege of Christ’s followers. 2 Timothy 1:8–10; Psalm 20:1, 2.
“We must go through the furnace till the fires have consumed the dross and we are purified and reflect the divine image. Those who follow their inclinations and are governed by appearances are not good judges of what God is doing. They are filled with discontent. They see failure where there is indeed triumph, a great loss where there is gain; and, like Jacob, they are ready to exclaim, ‘All these things are against me,’ when the very things whereof they complain are all working together for their good.
“No cross, no crown. How can one be strong in the Lord without trials? To have strength we must have exercise. To have strong faith, we must be placed in circumstances where our faith will be exercised.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 67.
4. AVOIDING THE FATE OF THE LOST
a. Explain how God uses His Word to prune us—and the serious consequences of refusing to submit to this process. Hebrews 4:12–14; Hosea 4:17.
“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone,’ and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 187.
b. What sin of the tribe of Jacob’s son, Dan, will prevent many from receiving the seal of God’s approval? Genesis 49:17; Psalm 15:1–3.
“The backbiter is excluded from abiding in the tabernacle of God and dwelling in the holy hill of Zion. He that taketh up a reproach against his neighbor cannot receive the approval of God.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 615.
“Let us guard against speaking words that discourage. Let us resolve never to engage in evilspeaking and backbiting.”—Our High Calling, p. 291.
5. REDEMPTION FOR THE REMNANT
a. What privileges and perils does spiritual Israel face today? Psalm 47:1–4; 46:11; Romans 13:11.
“Some in these churches are in constant danger because the cares of this life and worldly thoughts so occupy the mind that they do not think upon God or heaven and the needs of their own souls. They rouse from their stupor now and then, but fall back again in deeper slumber. Unless they shall fully rouse from their slumbers, God will remove the light and blessings He has given them. He will in His anger remove the candlestick out of its place. He has made these churches the depositary of His law. If they reject sin, and by active, earnest piety show stability and submission to the precepts of God’s word, and are faithful in the discharge of religious duty, they will help to establish the candlestick in its place, and will have the evidence that the Lord of hosts is with them and the God of Jacob is their refuge.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 286.
b. Why only is there hope for the remnant of Jacob? Romans 11:5; Isaiah 14:1; 41:14; 43:1.
“With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit’s power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy-seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 30.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How may God be hoping that I change my attitude as Jacob did to Leah?
2. The next time I face an unusual trial, what must I keep in mind?
3. What privileges has God bestowed upon me that I should better appreciate?
4. Name some subtle snares that the final remnant must overcome.
5. What is the most important quality of Jacob to grasp from these lessons?