2023 Advent Devotional - Genesis 49:10 (Day 2)

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

It is interesting that Jesus follows in the line of Judah, the fourth oldest son of Jacob (Israel).  I have often wondered why Jesus didn’t come from the line of Joseph… I mean.. So much of Genesis is dedicated to Joseph!  Wasn’t HE the important one?  The loved one?  

When you go back and learn about Judah, there are some tough moments!  Why would God want Jesus to come from HIS line of people?  Judah did save his brother Joseph from dying in a pit, only to sell him into slavery.  That story is followed by a not so good tale of him and his daughter-in-law Tamar.  A story not meant for small children’s ears.  A story that leaves a really bad stain on Judah and his reputation.  

But then there is an encounter in which Judah shows signs of wisdom and honor.  He promises to protect his youngest brother Benjamin on the way back to Egypt, not only to save his imprisoned brother Simeon, but to get them food before they die.  Perhaps he sees an opportunity to make up for his past mistakes? He begs and pleads with Joseph to let Benjamin come back with them so his father doesn’t die of heartbreak!

And in that moment, the family tree is forever changed.  Joseph reveals himself and a broken family is reconciled.  A family that will ultimately decide to live together in the land of Egypt.  Although they do become enslaved for 400 years, they also multiply and grow in number!  Yahweh delivers them through the Red Sea, and makes them a kingdom of priests, a royal nation.    

It is a family story that is messy and the gospel of Matthew makes sure that we understand the complicated and difficult path that the line of Judah follows.  But in the end, the gift is a King.  Not an earthly King and not someone who comes from the line of wealth and power and perfection.  Nope.  This King is different.  This royal family is different.  And this King has eternal reign.  As Psalm 96:10 says, “The Lord reigns!! Yes, the word is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the people with equity.”  

So this season, let us be grateful for the gift of a true King.  A King that rules justly and with equity.  A King that models reconciliation and forgiveness and humility, not oppression and arrogance.  A King that heals and teaches and offers life, a way out of sin and darkness.  Let us open our hands and receive the lion of Judah in all his strength and beauty.  One day, as Jacob foresaw in this beautiful blessing on his son Judah, all will bow down and pay tribute.  So why wait?

Heavenly Father, thank you for the beautiful reminder that in a family of brokenness can come beauty and life.  Help us to remember that.  Amen.

By Amanda Dablemont
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