… and Judah the father of Perez …
Prepare to Listen. Light 2 purple candles. Be still and silently repeat: You are the Lord my God..
Prayerfully Read Genesis 49.8-12
8‘Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9Judah is a lion’s whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
11Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
12his eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
On his deathbed Jacob called his 12 sons and addressed each one, naming a characteristic and/or giving a blessing. His saying to Judah is one of the longest and most positive, even though Judah was no saint. He suggested selling Joseph into slavery, and treated his daughter-in-law, Tamar (as we’ll see tomorrow) unjustly.
Nevertheless, Jacob looked beyond the negative, choosing instead to highlight praise as a characteristic of his 4th son. He said, “Judah, your brothers shall praise you.” His mother, Leah named him Judah because it’s meaning is related to praising the Lord (Gen 29:35). On his death bed, Jacob linked praise to Judah, perhaps because, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.” Israel’s kings would come from the tribe of Judah and reign forever, looking forward to the eternal king, Jesus. He also referred to him as a “lion’s whelp,” an image that symbolized a king’s power.
Jesus is once, and only in Revelation, called, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev 5:5). The most frequent symbol for Jesus, used over 20 times in Revelation alone, is lamb, and often a slain lamb. The frequent use of lamb rather than lion suggests that the power King Jesus uses isn’t lion-like, as in brute force, but lamb-like, as in gentle and sacrificial. To be like Jesus means living lamb-like, not lion-like.
Think about your picture of Jesus and a symbol that might represent it. Is it lion or lamb-like?
Respond in Prayer
Lord Jesus you are the lion who reigns as gentle as a lamb. Help me follow you and live in your gentle compassionate way. Amen.
Live Obediently. Be like Jesus, gentle and loving.
Reading my Bible has been central in my life since I received my first Bible at 8 years of age. My decades of reading, studying and teaching the Bible gives my devotions a unique and enriching perspective. Reflecting on Jesus' family tree enriched my understanding of Jesus and the salvation he offers.