TEXT: Genesis 49:8-10
8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come; And unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
How to Hope: Lessons from the Israelites and Their Messianic Expectation, Part 14
Victor P. Hamilton said, “Judah is not disqualified because of his immorality. Clearly, he is cut out for a place of preeminence and royal leadership. These verses confirm the messianic thrust of this section, as Judah will usher in an age of abundance and prosperity.”
In our last few messages, we have looked at Jacob’s response to God meeting him at Bethel. God’s intervention in Jacob’s life at that moment shaped Jacob’s history. Interestingly, that event happened at a time when Jacob’s father, Isaac, was on his deathbed and Jacob was just beginning to strike out on his own. In the background of our passage for today, we find Jacob on his deathbed; and he is blessing his sons as they prepare to continue their lives without him. A lot had happened since Jacob made his commitment to God at Bethel. He went to work for his mother’s family, and over the course of 14 years, he gained two wives and two concubines, with whom he eventually produced twelve sons and two daughters. From his work for Laban, he gained wealth through shepherding and livestock. And, eventually, he came back to the land of Canaan. In his later years, famine struck, and he and his family moved to Egypt where God had used a series of unfortunate events to pave the way for their acceptance sustenance in that strange land.
Now, Jacob, having been reunited with Joseph, the son he thought was dead, is ready himself to die in peace. He calls his sons before him and blesses them each individually. It is in this series of blessings that we find a hopeful foreshadowing of the coming of Messiah. Judah is the fourth-born of Jacob’s sons, and of him, Jacob gives a blessing of triumph and power: “Thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come; And unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Regarding this passage, Kenneth Matthews writes in The New American Commentary: “The pronouncement depicts Judah as stalwart as a lion, which is the reigning tribe over his ‘brothers.’ The reign of the tribe is without end, and a future descendant, to whom the ‘nations’ will submit, bears all authority. Historically, this verse provides for the Davidic dynasty, which created the messianic expectation in Israel. Early Christian exegetes tied many details of the prophecy to aspects of Christ. The notion of submission and praise refers to the Lord’s spiritual triumph over wicked powers and the apostles’ praise of the Lord Jesus. Judah remained a united tribe despite its oppression and emerged from the exile as the embodiment of the nation. The splendor of David’s kingdom indeed diminished, but the preeminence of Judah among his brothers remained and found its fulfillment in the coming of Christ. Luther asserts that Christ is ‘Shiloh,’ whom all nations will worship.”
Why does this particular messianic foreshadowing give us hope today? It is because of what we know about the history of Judah and his brothers. They were not particularly noble characters. All of them, except Reuben, colluded in the attempted murder of their brother Joseph and then decided to sell him into slavery. Reuben slept with his father’s concubine. Simeon and Levi attacked and killed the men of an entire city when they were unable to defend themselves. Judah frequented a woman he thought was a prostitute who turned out to be his dead son’s wife. If you were trying to set up a royal family, the sons of Jacob had too much scandal surrounding them to even be in the running.
The point, however, is that God took this messed up family and made something of it. It was out of this family that the nation of Israel was established and became a blessing to the entire world. It was through this family that the kingdom of David and Solomon became the envy of their time. It was through this family that the “Lion of Judah” became an enduring symbol of royalty and power. And it was through this family that the Son of God was born into the world to gather all nations into Himself. When we look at the family of Jacob, we ought to be reminded that, if we are saved, Jesus is in the process of making worthy creatures out of us today. With all of our sins and faults and inconsistencies, we will one day be a bride fit for the Bridegroom.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “God said in the Bible that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him — for we can prevent Him, if we choose — He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.”
Now, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I urge you to trust in Him because He is coming again and you do not want to be left behind. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and the consequences of sin.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.