Jacob blesses Judah with Christ

Theme: /
Jacob blesses Judah with Christ
Text: /
Genesis 49: 8-12
Textpart(s) to read: /
Genesis 38
Genesis 49: 8-12
Genesis 29: 31-35
1 Chronicles 22: 6-8
By: /
Rev. H. Drost (minister reformed church -liberated- at Houten)
Ds. H. Drost (predikant gereformeerde kerk vrijgem. Houten)

Original translation: Rev. H. Drost
Editor: Mrs Renee Mulder (FRCA - Mount Nasura, W-Australia)
Original Dutch version:
Gen49v08 - Jakob zegent Juda met Christus

Delivered at: /
Gehouden te:

Originally delivered in Dutch at Haren, The Netherlands, on 12th of November 2000

Suggestions for the Order of Worship / Aanwijzingen voor de Liturgie

Votum and salutation
Ps. 21: 1-2
Ps. 25: 4
Reading: Genesis 38
Ps. 33: 3
Text: Genesis 49: 8-12
Sermon (optional: sing Ps. 45: 1-2 after introduction)
Ps. 45: 3, 6
Hymn 35: 2-4

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, boys and girls,

Are you ever jealous of your brother or sister? If your brother gets some beautiful roller-skates from dad... and you get nothing: What do you do? Or when your sister is allowed to stay with grandma... but you are not: What do you do? Are you happy for your brother or sister? Or do you get nasty, because you are jealous? You know that it is wrong to be jealous. It can make you do real mean things.

The Bible also has a story about this. Father Jacob gives Joseph a beautiful coat, but not the other brothers. They are jealous. They throw Joseph in an empty well, and later on they sell him: Joseph is gone... it caused their old father a lot of grief and sorrow... and now he is dying: what will happen with his boys? Will they still be jealous?

The old father Jacob is lying on his bed. He is dying. But before he dies God shows him what will happen with his sons. He gives each of them a special blessing. And he sees something beautiful: they will not be jealous of each other anymore!

Later - after Jacob's death - one of the brothers will be the strongest and mightiest. That is Judah. But the other brothers won't be jealous of Judah, like they were of Joseph. They will be glad for Judah to be the strongest. Jacob says: "Judah, you (!) are he whom your brothers shall praise...".

Why will they not be jealous any more? Because it will be good for them that Judah will be the strongest. Because the King out of Judah will eventually be the Lord Jesus. And His coming is good for all of the brothers. But: not only for the brothers, it is good for everyone that the Lord Jesus is coming. He will be the strong King: The Lion of Judah.

Your Savior is a Lion Who will never lose. He is so mighty - and He is so good to that He wants to take care of you. He is your King. Do you admit that? Does it make you happy?

[ Optional: Let us sing together for that King: Ps. 45: 1-2

Singing: Ps. 45: 1-2 ]

Brothers and sisters, I summarize the text as follows:

Jacob blesses Judah with Christ

This blessing of the dying Jacob concerns:

  1. The way to Christ
  2. The reign of Christ
  3. The blessing through Christ

1. The way to Christ

[ Reading: Genesis 29: 31-35 ]
Here, a woman is fighting with her sister for her husband's favor. Leah was the not-loved one; Rachel was the beloved one of Jacob. But God gives Leah children. He defends the despised one. We have read that when the first three boys were born, Leah hoped each time that Jacob would love her, now that she bore him sons. Her concern is about her husband's feelings for her. That changes when Judah is born. She doesn't talk about her husband anymore. She sees that the LORD is good to her. She also puts it into words: "Now I will praise the LORD"1. She sings praises to God when Judah is born.

When Jacob, in blessing his sons, comes to the fourth, he also speaks about praising. Does he also praise God? No, he mentions praise for Judah: "Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise".

How is that possible? Is Judah himself so good, that he has to be praised? Is he better then the oldest three? Jacob's blessing of the three eldest sons contained a judgement, because of what they had done. Reuben had wanted to take his father's position by sleeping with one of his father's wives. Simeon and Levi had brutally and cruelly murdered helpless men after their sister Dinah had been raped. Their blessing was a punishment: they are passed over.

And now it is Judah's turn. Is he any better? No, we read in the Bible2 how Judah left his father's tent to live with and as the pagans in Canaan. Judah is not a hair better than the first three. Why then this blessing, this praise for Judah?

Jacob sees what God will do with Judah. God will do something great with a man who is no better than any other. God chooses Judah and will turn him into someone to be praised. It is God's work in him that his brothers will praise. For that reason his "father's children will bow down before" Judah.
They will bow before God's choice. God chooses Judah to become the mightiest.
Now you have to realize that father Jacob is looking into future here. He sees what will happen with Judah's descendants. They will be mighty: "your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies". That is clear: Judah will grab his enemy by the neck of and force him down. That enemy will have to bend into submission. Judah will be stronger than all his enemies!

God will make Judah so very strong in the future, that he will be the absolute victor. It will become so obvious that no-one will dare to come in his vicinity. The old father sees his son as strong as a young lion. We can read that in verse 9.

Just imagine it. A lion is hunting a big animal. He corners the buffalo and jumps on it. It claws at the skin of the terrified animal and digs its teeth in its neck. The animal falls down. The lion tears at the bloody flesh of the dying animal, and eats till it has completely had its fill. Then it goes to lie down, fully satisfied. Just like a purring cat. You could be tempted to go and stroke its fur. But no one would be so foolish as to do that, no one dares approach him. So strong, so mighty, so untouchable is Judah - like a lion after defeating its enemies.

This is what the old Jacob sees as Judah's future: He will tear down all his enemies. And when you read the Bible, you see that later the king of Judah saves his people from all the enemies roundabout. That is the lion of Judah. That is king David, who gives Israel peace by conquering all their enemies. He slays the Philistines and the other enemies by their thousands, yes, by their tens of thousands. He reigns at Zion. David is the king of Judah.

And then it will happen. When David is king, all the tribes - all his brothers - will come to praise him: "Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise". They will come to ask David to be their king. This is the king given by God. And under the reign of this king of Judah it will be a good time for all God's people.

Do you know the history of David, the king of Judah? Many people are not comfortable with it, because it is rather a bloody history. Enemies are slain by thousands, women and children are killed by the sword. "Should you be happy about that? Is that God's mighty king? Nice guy, David."

How do you read the Bible? There are a lot of wars in the Old Testament. David is indeed the lion with blood on its mouth. But why did there have to be so much fighting? Is it because God enjoys it? No, we know our God differently. Why the bloodshed then?

It is God in His love. It is His care for the world. THAT IS HIS WAY TOWARDS CHRIST. The Old Testament is about the coming of Christ.
Does God deal harshly with his enemies? Yes, but a careful reader will read about His love...

This was the first part of the sermon, about the way towards Christ. The second part will be about:

2. The reign of Christ

In the first part we saw that the dying Jacob saw king David on the throne from afar. The lion of Judah will never lose. David submits many nations. He is the lion with blood on its mouth.

"Why was it so bloody?" we ask. "Does the LORD approve of it all?" Let's read 1 Chronicles 22: 6-8 to see how the LORD in heaven thinks about these things.

[ Reading: 1 Chronicles 22: 6-8 ]

Here we get somewhat of an idea about how all that shedding of blood, done by David, the Lion of Judah, is viewed by the LORD Himself. God shows it as a bitter must. It is necessary, in order for the resistance of the enemies to be overcome. But that necessity is not an aim in itself. God is working towards a new era, He wants to give peace.

That also becomes clear in verse 10. First Jacob is shown how, in the future, David on his throne will have the power... and keep the power: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet...." He actually sees the king sitting on his throne, ruling, holding the staff in his right hand. That staff is the symbol of his royal dignity3.
But at the same time, the king is in charge of the army. The scepter is also the 'lawgiver', the commando-staff. The king is also the general, leading the army. There are battles to be fought, nations to be subdued. It is the LORD's own battle.

As we said earlier, these battles are necessary, but they are not God's aim. God is working towards another kind of kingdom. He wants to create a Kingdom of peace. Note that Judah will remain ruler, albeit in a different way. Father Jacob sees that also: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people".

With 'Shiloh' the great Son of David is meant: Jesus, the Christ. The exact meaning of the word 'Shiloh' is not clear. 'Many books have been written about it' a teacher of mine would say. But it is clear that it concerns the King of Judah, who will exceed all others. This is about Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah, who will rule the whole world. THIS CONCERNS THE REIGN OF CHRIST.

No more bloodbaths - well, blood will flow, but that is the blood of the King Himself. In the book of Revelation you can read that the Lion of Judah has won. John sees Him in heaven. But when you look closely, you will see Him also as the Lamb, which has been slain. He has given His own blood - to bring peace to the nations4.

"...and to him shall be the obedience of the people". The nations will listen to Him who brings peace to the whole world. They will bow down to that power - not the power of violence, but the power of love. They will submit to the sword, which is no longer the sword of blood, but the sword of the Spirit. That is the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Where do you see that today? Where does the reign of this Lion of Judah become visible? Where do the people listen to Him? It can be seen in the church.

The church is His handiwork. There you see His kingdom. There people gather to listen to His Word. And listening is more than hearing alone, it also means doing. Obedience is the keyword.

What is your attitude towards His Words? What has priority in your life? Is it obedience? Or is your own opinion more important? What is your attitude towards the king of Judah?

Come - submit yourself to Him. Whoever resists Him, will meet the Lion on his way. But whoever comes to Him, will find Him as the Lamb, slain for the forgiveness of all your sins. Come, listen to Him. He seeks your peace. Bowing down is difficult. But bowing down to Him makes you rich forever.

This was the second part of the sermon. Here is the summary again:

Jacob blesses Judah with Christ. This blessing of the dying Jacob concerns: 1. The way to Christ; 2. The reign of Christ. Now we will focus on:

3. The blessing through Christ

We read this in Genesis 49: 11-12: ...
[ Reading: Genesis 49: 11-12 ]

It may happen that someone cannot light a fire in a fireplace or at a barbecue. He needs paper. Imagine someone asks for a hundred dollar-note to light the fire with. What would you think? You'd consider him crazy: "You don't use a hundred dollar-note for that!" You are right. But: anyone who does such a thing must have lots of hundred dollar-notes... He must be a very rich person.

Jacob sees such wealth when Shiloh - that is Jesus Christ - comes. "Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine". Who would do such a thing?! Imagine that stupid donkey would pull down that valuable vine!
It won't matter. There will be so many vines that it won't make any difference. It will be a time of great wealth. Yes, the time of the Messiah will be one of abundance. The vines will be full of fruit. There will be a surplus of wine to the extent that people will use it for everything, even for washing their clothes in it: "He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes". There will be wealth and joy. THAT IS THE BLESSING OF CHRIST.

On his deathbed Jacob sees the coming of paradise of the Messiah is coming. But it is not about wealth and riches as such. It is all about Him from whom all these things come. It is about Shiloh, that is: the Savior Himself. He Himself is at the center. How He will stand there in His beauty...

"His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk." He is beautiful to look at. You could fall in love with him. He is the beautiful Prince of Judah.
This is how Jacob sees the time of Jesus. It will be a time of abundance. It concerns the time we live in. Who believes in Jesus experiences this wealth. Through Him you receive the treasures from heaven, He gives us His rich blessings. Everyone who lives in faith knows this.

What is faith all about? Do you believe in order to profit from Him? Is it only for the sake of His paradise? No, whoever learns to believe receives a relationship with Him. You care about Him, you love Him. You live your life for Him - not because you have to, but because He is worth it. He is so good, so wonderful, so glorious - He is the beautiful Prince of Judah.

How is your faith? Are you still far removed from Him or have you already come close to Him? Are you only interested in His gifts or have you embraced Him for Himself? To believe is to see Jesus. And to see Jesus is to love Him. To know Him is to love Him.

Behold, your Savior. See Him stand in His beauty before His Father, as the bright Morning Star. That is Shiloh, the Lion of Judah. Would we not love Him?


1 Genesis 29: 35
2 Genesis 38
3 Psalm 45: 6
4 Revelation 5: 9-10

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