Threat and Promise

“Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father."
GENESIS 49:2
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Threat and Promise
The main teaching and argument of this chapter is why and to what end God threatens and promises. He does so to keep faith in the Word at work. He who wants to deal with God must learn this, so that he does not live by bread alone but by every Word which proceeds from the mouth of God (cf. Deuteronomy 8:3). If bread is lacking, a strange god should not be called upon on this account. No, then the heart should be strengthened by faith in the Word. God has promised that He will be my God and Lord. If He wants to slay me with hunger, let Him do so by all means. I will hope in Him despite this (cf. Job 13:15). Faith and fear should exist in the hearts of men, because a promise and faith, like a threat and fear, are correlative. There is no promise if faith is not present; and, on the other hand, there is no faith without a promise, just as there is no fear where a threat is lacking. But God defers both in order to test us. And since the world is not willing to endure this trial, it despises both and neither fears Him who threatens nor believes Him who promises.
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