The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will obey. — Genesis 49:10
Farmers would be delighted if they could accurately predict the weather. Investors would give anything to know in advance exactly how the market will behave. And leaders in all sectors, both public and private, do not hesitate to employ “futurists” to foresee trends so that they can plan accordingly. Knowing the future can be decidedly advantageous.
The Old Testament patriarchs were, on occasion, blessed with this unusual ability. They used it to pass on blessings to their sons that, among other things, conveyed information concerning the future. A classic example of this occurred when “Jacob called together all his sons and said, ‘Gather around me, and I will tell you what is going to happen to you in the days to come’” (Genesis 49:1). We can only imagine the mixed emotions with which Jacob’s sons gathered to hear their father’s words. If their future was anything like their past, it was going to be a very mixed bag of experiences. One by one, according to birth order, Jacob spoke to each of them in the hearing of all the brothers.
Jacob’s words to Judah are particularly significant for us today. He started out by praising Judah’s obvious leadership abilities, which his brothers also recognized and which succeeding generations would acknowledge. “Your brothers will praise you... All your relatives will bow before you” (49:8). Judah’s no-nonsense leadership style would be strong and “like a lioness—who will dare to rouse him?” (49:9). Then, looking much further into the future, Jacob foretold, “The scepter will not depart from Judah... until the coming of the one to whom it belongs” (49:10).
Matthew’s gospel opens with a genealogical table that clearly shows the great king David, who reigned over Israel at its peak, was a descendant of Judah (see Matthew 1:3‑6). Given the subsequent history of the tribe of Judah, there can be little doubt that Jacob in his prophetic vision was “seeing” the reign of David when he said “the ruler’s staff [will not depart] from his descendants” (Genesis 49:10). But the words he added concerning the one to whom the scepter belongs—“the one whom all nations will obey”—pointed far beyond David to his most famous descendant, Jesus (see Matthew 1:3-16).
Jacob foresaw a day yet to come when “great David’s greater son” would reign eternally. He knew this three millennia ago, and wise men still know it today! They’ve seen the future as revealed in Scripture concerning the ultimate triumph of the Lord Jesus and have committed their eternal well-being to Him. They have taken appropriate action—like a smart farmer or a savvy investor!
For further study: Genesis 49:1-28
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.