The Bible Keeps Its Promises—The Messiah Is a Lion

The Messiah Is a Lion

Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? ~ Gen 49:9

Genesis 49:8-12

Abraham begat Isaac. Then Isaac begat two sons, Esau and Jacob. Ordinarily the older son would receive a larger inheritance, and for Abraham and his descendants no greater inheritance could be given than the privilege of being one of Jesus’ ancestors, a blessing that usually went to the first born. But God told Isaac that the Messianic bloodline would flow through Jacob, the younger of the two. Then Jacob had 12 sons, who fathered the 12 tribes of Israel. At the end of his life, Jacob gathered his sons to his bedside to give a blessing and pronounce a prophecy over each. In that moment Jacob revealed that his fourth son Judah would be next in the bloodline of the Messiah. In Jacob’s blessing of Judah, we learn that the baby born in Bethlehem was not only destined to be the lamb Who would die for the sins of the world. He would also be a lion, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who would rule over the nations with great strength and swift justice. As it says in Genesis 49:9, “Who dares to rouse him?” The Lamb of God died on the cross, but it was the Lion of Judah Who commanded His disciples to conquer the world by making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Parting Thought: Sometimes when a promise is made, we think we understand it, only to later realize that much more was intended. Who knew when God promised the woman’s seed would crush Satan’s head that He was talking about His only Son? (Rom. 1:5)

The Bible Keeps Its Promises—The Messiah Is Our Lamb

The Messiah Is Our Lamb

Genesis 22:1-18

Even in ancient times people knew that worship of God involved the death of an innocent animal. Even as the first family was being formed God explained the close connection between sin and the necessity of shedding blood for atonement (Gen. 4:1-5). But what had not been made clear was the connection between the worshipper and the animal being offered. When Abraham obeyed God and placed his son Isaac on an altar, he did not lack faith. In fact, according to Hebrews 11:19, Abraham was so confident in God’s promises toward Isaac that he was certain his son would be raised from the dead if necessary. But God never intended for Isaac to die. At the last moment a ram was given to take his place on the altar. In the same way, Christ came on that first Christmas to be “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Parting thought: When it takes a long time to fulfil a promise, it is sometimes helpful to let the promisee know you haven’t forgotten. This is partly what God was doing in this little vignette with Abraham.

The Bible Keeps Its Promises—The Miracle of Christmas

The Miracle of Christmas

Abraham named the son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac.

~ Genesis 21:3

In yesterday’s reading God had promised Sarah that she would give birth to a son “about this time next year” (Gen. 18:10), which sounded so crazy Sarah laughed at the very idea. But God never fails to keep His promises, partly because faithfulness is an essential part of His character, and partly because His sovereignty means He is always able to keep His promises. Just as promised, Sarah conceived and gave birth to a son while well into her nineties. The text tells us that Abraham named his son Isaac (Hebrew for laughter), probably because the little boy laughed early and promised to be a happy child. But Sarah was laughing too. God had made this barren woman happy beyond words. Christmas is the most joyful celebration in the world because this is when we celebrate the moment that proved beyond all doubt, we serve a good God loves us and keeps all His promises Parting Thought: If we really believe that God is good, and that He keeps His promises, why do we doubt God from time to time?

The Bible Keeps It’s Promises—Because Nothing is Impossible with God

Because Nothing is Impossible with God

Is anything too hard for the Lord? ~ Genesis 18:14

Remember, Christmas proves the Bible keeps its promises. Thousands of years before Jesus was born, God began choosing men and women to be a part of the Messiah’s blood line. Of course, some of Jesus’ ancestors were more important than others, with Abraham arguably the most important. It was through Abraham that God promised to bless “all the peoples of the earth” (Gen. 12:3). But here is a principle that should never be forgotten. Those greatly blessed of God are usually greatly tested by God. That was certainly true of Abraham. God had promised to make his descendants so numerous they could only be compared to the “dust of the earth” (Gen. 13:16) and the stars in the sky (Gen. 15:5), but Abraham was now approaching 100 years of age, and his wife Sarah was past 90. They had every reason to believe that God had waited too long and that His promises could no longer be fulfilled through them. That’s when God Himself raised the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14) This is similar to the impossibility the virgin Mary faced when Gabriel told her she would give birth to a son. Not surprisingly, the answer her question, “How?”, was surprisingly similar. “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).