|The Line of the King|
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
The Story: With these words, Jacob blessed his sons in about 1859 B.C. While he blessed his sons from eldest to youngest, he gave Judah the distinction of being their ruler in perpetuity. Judah was the fourth son of Jacob and his wife Leah. Ruben was the one born first, but Judah became the “firstborn” and chief among the brothers. Kingship, Jacob declared, would come to, and never depart from, Judah’s line. We see this in the unlikely choice of Judah’s descendant David, who received the same promise of perpetual kingship (2 Samuel 7:16). And, of course, we see the promise fulfilled fully in Jesus. His ancestors were Judah and David. He inherited the promises God made to them. And while Solomon, David’s son by Bathsheba, was rich beyond measure, received great tribute, and extended his rule over many people, all people will bring their tribute to David’s greater Son, and every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow to Him now and forever (Philippians 2:10-11).
The Structure: “God, who is faithful,” wrote St. Augustine, “put Himself in our debt, not by receiving anything but by promising so much. A promise was not sufficient for Him; He chose to commit Himself in writing as well, as it were making a contract of His promises.” Part of a Christian worldview is a proper understanding of God’s promises, beginning with what He has and hasn’t promised. God never promised a life of ease, what Francis Shaeffer called “personal peace and prosperity.” Quite the opposite, in fact. “In the world you will have tribulation,” Jesus promised (John 16:33). There’s no getting away from that. At the same time, He immediately went on with encouragement and another promise, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We overcome in Him, but only according to God’s plan and only “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4). As we wait to celebrate the promised Savior’s first coming at Christmas, so we wait for every other promise: patiently, prayerfully, and expectantly.
What has God promised you? How is Christmas a reminder to you of God’s promises and their fulfillment “in the fullness of time”?