December 12, 2019

The Scepter of Judah

Genesis 49:8-10

“The scepter will not depart from Judah . . . until he to whom it belongs shall come. . . .”

—  Genesis 49:10

God works out his plans, but they are often mysterious to us. Consider the case of Judah, Jacob’s son. Jacob’s blessing of favor was not to Reuben, his firstborn, or to the next two eldest sons, Simeon and Levi. The blessing of kingship went to Judah.

Jacob predicted that his other sons would bow before Judah. To him would belong “the scepter,” a symbol of kingship. This scepter would be passed down continually through his descendants. How could that ever happen?

Jacob’s prophecy began to be fulfilled when David, a shepherd from Bethlehem in the land of Judah, was chosen by God to rule God’s people (1 Samuel 16; Psalm 78:67-72). He led them with a heart of integrity and with skill. Yet we know that despite David’s kingship, the people were seldom faithful to the Lord. They needed a new and better king.

God continued to work out his plan, eventually bringing Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. And Jesus came to give up his own life, to pay for all our sin, and to rise again so that we can have new life with God. That is why Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), is the one who holds the scepter as King of kings. And he declares boldly, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).

Thank you, Lord, that you are always faithfully at work in our lives even if we do not understand. Empower us daily to put our trust in Jesus, the Lion and the Lamb, our Savior, Lord, and King. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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