The House of Judah


I continue to be amazed at the encouragement that I am experiencing around my study of Judah and Joseph this year.  For those who have been reading my blog for some time, you know the infatuation I have always had with the younger brother, Joseph.

This favored son of Jacob was quite the visionary leader, climbing to the highest ranks in Egypt due to his giftedness, commitment to excellence and obedience to God.  Surviving several bouts that would have ended the careers of most, Joseph was sold out by hostile family members; later imprisoned when he rejected the seduction of Potiphar’s wife; and then forgotten in prison by the cupbearer to whose aid he had come.  Joseph was rediscovered only after the Lord so troubled the king that a dream proficient leader was sought out.  Of course from that moment on, not only was Joseph able to interpret the King’s dream but also to enable Egypt’s survival through the horrible famine demonstrated in the dream.  Joseph was a renaissance man, a political leader and far from the norm.

Judah was quite the opposite.  In fact, he was there when young Joseph was sold by his brothers; it was even his idea!  Whether Judah’s intent or God’s intervention that might have saved Joseph’s life, as some of his kin had recommended that he be killed.  If they listened to Judah then, he obviously was a person of influence as well.

Judah’s main life event was somewhat negative, nestled in between Joseph’s sale into slavery and the young dreamer’s infamous encounter with Potiphar’s wife.  Other than his voice at Joseph’s sale, it was the impregnation of his daughter in law, Tamar that was recorded in history.  Brought about in a weak moment, after the death of Judah’s sons and his wife, his lineage would have ended had Tamar not pursued her own dream of a son and her right by custom, though she secured it through trickery.  That story (Gen. 38) reveals the birth of two sons, both later mentioned by Matthew as he describes the glorious birth of Christ.

Jacob, Judah’s father would also prophesy over this wayward son, the “scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”  How Jacob could have known that century’s later in Bethlehem, the “House of Bread”, the ruler of nations, the Messiah of Israel, the Christ himself would be born, is a story in itself.

Why this early morning entry, given that my devotional reading was in Zechariah 10:3-6.

Read for yourself:

“for the LORD Almighty will care  for his flock, the people of Judah,

and make them like a proud horse in battle.

 

From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg,

from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.

 

Together they will be like warriors in battle

trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.

 

They will fight because the LORD is with them,

and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

 

‘I will strengthen Judah and save the tribes of Joseph.

I will restore them because I have compassion on them.

 

They will be as though I had not rejected them,

for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.’”

 

Joseph’s blessing by Zechariah, I can understand…he was a Christ like image of perfection.

Judah, I cannot; but, I can identify with him…and in that rests my excitement this morning!

Whether successful or requiring great acts of redemption, God is on our side and “if God be for us, who can be against us!”

Out of Judah came “the cornerstone, from him the tent peg,

from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.” (vs. 4)

If God could take these two opposites and the broad spectrum of human journey which they represent, then within their lifetime, extract a moment that frames the story of the King of Eternity, there is hope for all of us!

My successes and my failures are but moments for His intervention and though this Old Testament language has thankfully been buffered  by the Spirit of Christ and His love, the victories implied are just as real today for the people of God:

“Together they will be like warriors in battle

trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.

 

They will fight because the LORD is with them,

and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.”(vs.5).

 

“and their hearts will be glad as with wine.   Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.” (vs. 7).

Life is Good!

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