Illustration: “Jacob Blessing his Twelve Sons.” Engraving made for “Dalziels’ Bible Gallery” by the Brothers Dalziel, c. 1881. First published in “Art Pictures from the Old Testament,” edited by A. Fox, 1894.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Genesis 49:10).
After Jacob and his sons had lived in Egypt for almost two decades, Jacob knew he was going to die soon. So he gathered his twelve sons to bless them. He told each son about the nation that his descendants would become. Those twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel. One of them, Judah, was the father of the nation through whom Messiah would come.
Jacob said “the scepter will not depart from Judah…” A scepter is a token of kingship. This was a promise of a king! This prophecy was two-pronged. In about 900 years, David, a descendant of Judah, would become king and rule Judah with a godly heart. In about 2,000 years, Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of Judah and of David, would be born. He would rule in the hearts of all who believe in Him. Jacob’s sons did not know these details of how God would fulfill His promise, but they believed He would save His people. God’s promise through Jacob would sustain them through the difficult years ahead.
Prayer: Messiah Jesus, thank You for being faithful to Your promises. Help me to learn and remember them always. Amen.
As We Wait: Just as Israel relied on God’s promises to make it through difficult times, you can rely on God’s promises in seemingly hopeless days. Read Jesus’ promise to you in John 14:2-3.