Weekly Devotion – Genesis 49:8-12

Published 7:27 am Sunday, August 4, 2019

By Mike Caton

Genesis 49:8-12, “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

The blessing for Jacob’s third son is by far the longest, which is appropriate since Judah will become the largest and most powerful of the tribes. Judah’s brothers will praise him, again when Jacob was born to Leah, she praised God for him. There is no mention of Judah’s sins, as with the other boys. But make no mistake about it, Judah had his failings as well. But he seemed to repent of them better, to learn from his mistakes and not make the same ones again. Judah will get the largest portion of the Promised Land and maybe the most fertile.

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Judah is compared three times to a lion; a cub, a lion, and then a lioness. The image is of power, lions are the king of beasts, ferocious. And yet the lion has lain down, he is content, he does not attack for the sake of attacking and after his conquests, he enjoys a time of peace. We can see much of that happening with David and Solomon, the kingdom was secure, David had fought his battles and in his latter years and for most of Solomon’s reign, there was peace in the land. The land will also be rich and fertile, vines strong enough to tie animals to, wine plentiful enough to wash clothes in, food enough to be healthy. Maybe the most important part is about the sceptre never departing. This is a reference to Jesus, the Messiah who was to come. It was from the line of Judah that Jesus was born. And we know the kingdom of the Messiah will never end. Surely these men knew the promises made to Abraham, but in their wildest imagination, could they begin to grasp this?

Judah was faithful, God was praised when he was born, he praised God himself in his life, and others praised God for him. Maybe there is a lesson we can learn. We need to be the kind of people that cause others to thank and praise the Lord. Jesus would later say that we need to let our lights shine before men that they could see our good deeds and glorify our father in heaven. Life is not just about us. Lions don’t kill just for themselves, but for the whole pride, everyone gets a share in the meal. And we need to learn to look to others as well, to see what is good for them, to act in ways to bless them, to do things that will help draw them closer to the Lord.

Father, let my light shine for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.



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