Journey to Judah

Roadtrip to the Manger  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Genesis 49:8-12 lists 4 royal prophecies of Jesus that should make you worship Him.

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Today, we begin the advent season.

We are calling this series, “Roadtrip to the Manger.”
Each sermon will be themed around a region that is a part of the Jesus story.
We will start big, today, we start with Judah, and each week will zero in on our target, which is Bethlehem, where the manger is.
Each week we will get closer and closer to the manger.

Don’t read this line - The Surprised Blessing

Today, we begin with Judah.
Open your Bibles to .
This will be where our journey begins.
Let’s read it now.
Jesus came from the tribe of Judah.
There were 12 tribes of Israel, but only one of them was host to the kings.
Judah was the tribe that housed the kings.
You might already know this.
But sometimes you become so familiar with a story, that you forget the awe of the story.
You forget the wonder of the story.
We forget the surprising nature of the story.
For example, are you familiar with the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
It was written by Robert Louis Stevenson, in 1886.
The same author who wrote Treasure Island.
The story is something that we are familiar with.
Dr. Jekyll is a mad scientists of sorts, who creates a potion that turns him into Mr. Hyde, a violent maniac.
Stevenson wrote the story to be a picture of the human condition.
The affects of sin have made us Mr. Hyde.
We do things that are evil, that you would never imagine us doing.
We are too familiar with this story.
We don’t appreciate it, we don’t read it as Robert Louis Stevenson desired us to.
If you were to read it, you already know the story.
But the story itself was actually a murder mystery.
You aren’t supposed to know that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person.
For the modern day reader, the book ends with a dull thud, when the mystery is revealed, Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll, because you knew all along that they are the same.
You have grown too familiar with the story.
When it comes to Judah being the tribe that would be home to the Messiah, you have grown too familiar with the story.
Because it’s supposed to be a surprise.
This passage, are Jacob’s last words.
And before he dies he gathers his sons around him, and prophesies over them.
Jacob definitely favorite sons.
His two favorite sons were Joseph and Benjamin.
The reason for his fondness of them is because they came from his favorite wife.
Earlier in Genesis, he fell in love with Rachel.
But on the night when he married Rachel, her father, gave him the old switcherroo, and gave him Leah, Rachel’s not as attractive sister.
Leah was never in Jacob’s plans.
He ended up marrying Rachel as well, meaning he had two wives.
He had difficulty having children with Rachel.
Meanwhile Leah, the unloved wife, had children with Jacob.
All the while, Jacob never loved Leah, it was Rachel he loved.
Leah then had her fourth child with Jacob.
She thought surely this 4th son would cause Jacob to love her.
She was so hopeful, she named him Judah, which means praise.
More children were born, but eventually, Rachel gave birth.
She had two sons.
Joseph, who would eventually be sent to Egypt.
And Benjamin.
She died giving birth to Benjamin.
These two sons were very special to Jacob.
Now imagine the dynamics of this family.
You have one old man.
He’s had 2 wives.
One he loved.
One was unloved.
12 sons.
And lots of sibling rivalry.
Jacob is dying, he’s on his deathbed, and he’s about to give his final blessing to his sons.
This blessing is more than a wish.
He’s not saying, “I hope good things happen to you.”
This is not a dying father’s advice to the next generation.
Through the Spirit, he prophesies over his 12 sons.
Back up in verse 2, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he gathers his sons, and he says, “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob, listen to Israel your father.”
He has adopted the name that God Jehovah gave him, Israel.
These are prophetic words.
He is speaking with authority here.
Who will receive the best blessing?
You’ve got 12 sons.
Would it be the oldest, Reuben?
Would be Benjamin or Joseph, since they came from the wife that he loved?
Who will receive the best blessing?
He first prophesies over the sons of the unloved wife, Leah.
He says something about Reuben, Simeon and Levi.
Then he gets to Judah.
Then he gets to Judah.
Judah is blessed, and with him his descendants as well.
Too familiar with a story you miss the surprise
The tribe of Judah will be a special tribe.
They would be a tribe that would be a leader of Israel.
Jacob’s Blessing
When they wandered in the Wilderness, it was Judah that took the head, and lead them.
The kings would come from Judah.
The land that belonged to Judah would be home to the temple.
And from the tribe of Judah would come a single king.
Some would think that this single king would be David.
But David faced insurrection.
As great of a leader as he was, he had to flee the throne, because of the evil of one of his own sons.
Some would think that this son was Solomon.
But he would lead the nation astray into idolatry.
Israel would recognize the evil of adultery, and its dangers because of Solomon’s behavior.
From Judah would come a single king, who fits the description of Jacob’s blessing to him.
What he says to Judah is one of the clearest passages describing the Messiah, the savior of the world.
And this blessing, this prophecy, comes to Judah.
The 4th son of Leah.
It’s not to any of Rachel’s sons, it’s to Leah’s son.
Jacob blesses Judah, and he gives 4 royal prophecies about Jesus, that should make you worship Him.
They should give you and understanding of Who Jesus is.
I think of the Christmas Carole, “Oh come let us adore Him.”
This passage gives us 4 reasons to adore our King.
We enter the Christmas season, and you have probably been asked to put together a wishlist.
And you are thinking of things that you need.
Friday was Black Friday, tomorrow is Cyber Monday, and stores are putting everything on sale.
And you ask yourself, “What do I need?”
Here are 4 reasons to be completely satisfied in Christ.

First, we learn that Jesus is A Praiseworthy King.

Look at verse 8.
“Your brothers shall praise you ...”
This is quite the dysfunctional family.
They don’t give praise to anyone.
Even the thought of giving praise to each other was hated.
Joseph learned this lesson the hard way.
He told his dreams to his brothers, and he was sold as a slave.
Judah’s name, which means praise, will eventually bring praise to God.
People within Israel, will praise this son.
But in Judah, there will be one who rules and is praised by
This is seen when Jesus is born.
, famously records what is known as the Magnificat.
It’s a song of Mary, Jesus’ mother.
She begins by saying, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”
She, would praise God for Jesus.
James and Jude, were two half-brothers of Jesus, they would praise Him.
Growing up with Jesus, I’m sure it was difficult.
Jesus’ hometown rejected him.
But eventually, Jesus would be praised by his brothers.
. 25 says some special things about his half-brother.
“to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
In addition to Jesus being
Jesus is praiseworthy, because He will conquer His enemies, the blessing says, “your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies.”
Why is this important?
Because Christ has His enemies now.
Peter says that Satan is prowling “around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
There is actual evil in the world.
And yet, evil is not roaming free.
I think evil is just as real today.
It is not completely unhindered.
In October a man was convicted of triple homicide.
Christ has his hand on the neck of His enemies.
He sawed off the head of two young boys in front of their mom, before killing her.
He has them under his control.
Yes I think evil is present.
The Great Commission, in , begins with Jesus saying that he has “All authority in heaven and on earth ...”
He has all of it.
He has authority over creation.
Over what is good.
And He has authority even over what is evil, over His enemies.
His hand is on their neck.
Let’s fast forward to .
talks about a future time, when evil will become especially bad.
Let’s look at some verses, and note the language.
- “And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.”
- “Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,”

A Praiseworthy King

- “and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.”
- “And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.”
What are the key words there?
It was allowed.
Something was given to it.
As evil as Satan is, and as wicked as things can be, all things work under the sovereignty of God.
His hand is on the neck of His enemies and they only do what they are allowed to do.
gives us the first hint of Christ in the Bible.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This is after Satan, in the form of a serpent deceived Eve, causing Adam to sin, and bringing sin into the world.
The prophecy is that someone will come, who will bruise or crush the head of the serpent.
Evil is not running lose.
It’s as if Christ has Satan and His enemies under His foot, and He is just waiting to no longer restrain Himself to put His full weight on the head of Satan.
He has His enemies neck’s in His hand.
And He is waiting to crush and destroy them.
And another reason to give Jesus praise is “your father’s sons shall bow down before you.”
Remember when Joseph had his dream that his sons, father and mother would all bow down to him.
His family didn’t take it too well.
That kicked off the sibling rivalry that sent him into Egypt.
This was a proud family.
But Jacob’s prophecy is that one of Judah’s descendants would be someone who would cause these brothers to bow down to Him.
And for the most part, Christianity has been a Gentile religion.
Though it started within Judaism, not many Jews have worshipped Christ.
But the day is coming when this prophecy will be true.
A day is coming, when what I call a Jewish Revival will take place.
People from the 12 tribes of Israel, will turn, and acknowledge Christ.
talks of a day when that would be reversed, it says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
This really is a tremendous prophecy, because it was written about 800 years before Jesus was born.
The Jews will see him who they pierced, him who was an only child, and they will weep for him.
They will mourn for their sins.
Revelation describes a time when 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of Israel will do just this.
They will bow down and worship Jesus.
Knowing Jesus, means worshipping Jesus.
Giving him praise.
We worship a praise worthy king.
Your worship is not wasted on Him.

The second description of Jesus is that He is A Powerful King.

Look at verse 9.
He is described as a lion’s cub, a young lion.
He has strength.
He has vigor.
And he is on the prey.
He is agile, and able to leap upon what He pursues.
But not only is he a young lion, but he is described as a lion and a lioness.
He is described as a mature lion.
He has the strength of youth, and the skill of age.
It says that He is stooped down and crouched.
What does this mean?
He’s dangerous.
We must never forget the nature of Christ.
Our culture seems to have forgotten this dangerous side of Jesus.
Forgetting to fear Jesus is dangerous.
Growing up we had our hawks and falcons.
At anytime, I could go into my backyard, and pick up my red tailed hawk, and hold her.
I could have her fly and she’d come back to me.
I’d stroke her head.
I’d pet her.
I would handle my hawk.
There was always a danger in this, and it was getting too comfortable with her.
Trusting her too much.
Because when you forgot that these are wild animals people would get hurt.
I had a friend who had a big red tailed hawk, and she grabbed his face.
A talon went through a cheek, into his mouth, and back out the cheek.
Kind of like stitching fabric.
And once those talons close, you can’t open them.
When you forget the nature of the hawk, things get dangerous.
Being a falconer, you had to always be on guard of trusting your bird too much.
You had to always be on guard of reimagining her as a pet.
When you reimagine her nature, you get hurt.
The same thing applies to God.
says, “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,”
Jesus is not your homeboy.
I fear that this is what we are doing with Jesus.
We are reimagining him.
We have created a Jesus to fit our desires, our own imagination.
There is such thing justice of God and the judgment of God.
Hell is real.
The Bible talks about it.
If you have sin, unpaid for, still on your account, you will go to Hell.
A terrible place.
It is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
You will thirst, and never have it satisfied.
You will wish you could die, but it continues for eternity.
There is a real reason to fear God.
says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
You know who that is?
It’s not Satan.
Hell is not where Satan rules.
He’s not there in a red jump suit with a tail and a pitchfork.
Do you know who rules in Hell?
It’s Jesus.
says that those who reject Christ will be “tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.”
That’s Jesus.
He is a crouched lion.
He is dangerous.
And most of our culture has forgotten that.
They have reimagined a Jesus that they can pet and they can control.
You do that with a hawk, you’re gonna get hurt.
You do that with Jesus, that’s idolatry.
People will get hurt.
They let us be around them.
It’s idolatry.
It’s inventing a new God.
And in the process people will get hurt.
Our culture has forgotten that Jesus is dangerous.
Jesus has the strength to judge.
He does not make idle threats.
Verse 9 says, “He stooped down, he crouched ...”
He’s ready to spring.
CS Lewis rightly said, “He is no tame lion.”
He is to be respected.
He is to be feared.
says, “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,”

The third royal description of Jesus is He is An Eternal King.

When Jacob blessed Judah, there was no nation.
Jacob’s family had 70 people, and all of them were in Egypt.
The thought of a nation was distant.
And the idea of a king ludicrous.
Yet, Jacob is prophesying that his future descendants would be so big, that they would even have a king.
And which son would be the father of the kings of Israel?
And Judah would always be home to the kings.
As history progressed, Jacob’s family grew.
They eventually occupied the promised Land.
Judah’s sons became the kings in the south.
Then in 586 BC the kings were no more.
Judah was lead in chains to Babylon.
But Jacob’s prophecy is that the scepter would never depart from Judah.
There remained a line of Judah.
Nations come and nations go.
His descendants would always be around.
Babylon is gone.
Persia is no more.
At the beginning of Matthew and Luke there are 2 genealogies, and these genealogies show that the scepter, extended from Judah, all the way down to Jesus.
In our lifetime, we watched the cold war evaporate in a dud, as the USSR collapsed under its own weight, and simply disappeared.
says,” Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;”
But time would
We need to remember that now.
Because there is no throne that we see.
There is no land or border that says, “Christ’s Nation”
And yet, Christ has all authority, and He rules even now.
This eternal throne it belongs to Jesus.
The next line in verse 10 is a little difficult.
It says, “until tribute comes to him.”
There’s confusion over how best to translate those words.
I’ve read to you the ESV.
Other translations say until someone is sent.
Other translations don’t translate the word at all.
Instead they say “Shiloh”, because that’s what it is in Hebrew.
What makes the word hard is that it means so much.
It means one who comes.
It means one who is sent.
It means one who rules.
How do you get all that in one English word?
This means this Shiloh, this king He is sent and He has a right to rule.
He is comes to rule.
He is sent to rule.
He most certainly will rule.
rings in my ears as I think about this.
You’ve probably heard these words in Handel’s Messiah.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The eternal throne belongs to Jesus.
The plan has always been for Him to rule.
The Father plans.
The Spirit converts.
The Son rules.
Not only is it an eternal reign, but it’s a global reign.
“… and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
Earlier it was Jacob’s sons that would bow down.
Now it’s all people.
The day is coming when Christ will rule, and it will be unmistakable.
says, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Do you ever think about what Christ’s reign will be like?
You ever think about who He will be over?
He will rule over all His church.
Those in Temecula.
Those on the other side of nation.
He will rule over His saints who are in Europe, and Asia.
Over those in Africa and South America.
And the saints will join in the chorus and sing, “holy, holy, holy” before him.
But the verse says people will be in obedience to him, and Philippians says every knee shall bow.
Christ will rule not just over the saints, but even over His foes.
Modern day atheists.
His enemies from Rome.
His enemies from Babylon.
His enemies from Rome.
His enemies who were in Egypt.
His enemies who drowned in the flood.
Christ will gather all His enemies, and they will tremble.
But Christ will rule over the nations.
This is a reminder to worship Him now.
So people have two options.
, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
So people have two options.
Either worship Him now.
Or you will worship Him as a conquered foe in His anger.

The fourth royal description is Jesus is A Wealthy King.

The most wealthy king of Israel was Solomon.
says of his wealth, “And the king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.”
Could you imagine a place where silver and gold were common?
Imagine a place where you wouldn’t bend over to pick up a gold coin on a street?
As rich as Solomon was, Christ’s future kingdom will be even greater.
This final verse shows 2 ways that Christ’s kingdom will be wealthy.
Verse 11 says, “Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine.”
Imagine going for a ride on your donkey, you get to where you want, and you have to tie your donkey to something.
There’s nothing nearby except for a vine that produces the finest grapes for the finest wines.
Normally, you would never do that, because if you did the donkey would eat the fruit on the vine, and damage the vines.
But in this future kingdom you can tie your donkey to the choice vine and it can eat all of the grapes.
Because there’s so many grapes.
The second description is that you can wash “your garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes.”
When I go out to eat, sometimes its fun to look at the wine list.
I try and find the most expensive bottle of wine.
And I wonder, “Who would pay $200 for a bottle of wine?”
Christ’s kingdom will be so wealthy, that you can wash your clothes in wine.
Wine will flow like water.
One commentator said that Christ’s kingdom will be defined as “exuberant and intoxicating abundance.”
This kingdom will be like the Garden of Eden.
Food will be abundant, and all will be provided.
This kingdom will be like their time in wilderness when God rained down manna and blew in quail.
No one went hungry.
Every one had as much as they needed.
We will see the reverse of the curse found in .
No more will the ground produce thorns.
No more will work be a grudging burden.
But under Christ’s reign there will be an abundance.
And the beauty of this kingdom will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
describes it as a city enthroned in jewels.
says, “The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.”
And later on in verse 21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
When have you ever seen gold like clear glass?
You haven’t.
But you will.
The kingdom of Christ will be wonderful.

You are making your wishlists for Christmas and you are thinking, “What is it I need?”

What you need is Christ.

Are you looking forward to your king?

I am.
I love my king.
He alone is worthy of all praise.
I fear my king.
I know that He is powerful.
His reign will never end.
His reign will beautiful.
When Jacob blessed Judah, he was looking forward to the incarnation, and beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
A praiseworthy king.
A powerful king.
An eternal king.
A wealthy king.
These are 4 reasons for you to worship Jesus.
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