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Unto Us a Child is Born and the Government Will be on His Shoulder (Christmas Sermon from Genesis 49) December 21, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Christmas, Genesis, Isaiah, Religion, Sermons.


(Genesis 49:8-12 with Isaiah 9:6-7)


Jacob has lived many years. He has twelve sons. As the head of his clan, he has the responsibility and opportunity to give the prophetic blessing (Genesis 49:1. He calls his sons to him and they gather around him. There is Reuben, the oldest, the first of Leah‘s sons. It is he, who should have the much coveted birthright, but lost it to the sons of Joseph because he committed incest with one of his father’s concubines (1 Chronicles 5:1-2).


Then there is Levi and Simeon, vengeful murderers of the men of a whole city, who then with their brothers plundered the city, probably selling the women and children of the city into slavery and keeping their goods for themselves.


Next is Judah. A failure as a father and as prone to the temporary pleasures of sin as his older brother and his uncle, Esau. It was his idea to sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt.


Leah’s fifth and sixth sons, Zebulon and Issachar. Overshadowed by their older brothers, insignificant.


Then the four sons of Jacob’s two concubines: Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. It is their wickedness that Joseph reported to his father, that started to ball of dissension and hate among his brothers.


The youngest is Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother, the baby of the family.


Then finally there is Joseph. Prime minister of Egypt. Until Solomon, no Israelite would ever wield as much world power as this man. He has learned to be used by God. Jacob has given his sons the birthright.


These twelve men are gathered together to receive the blessing. There is every expectation that Joseph, through his youngest son, Ephraim‘s descendant, will receive the permanent position of head of the clan.


Jacob begins. Reuben receives no blessing but rather condemnation. For Simeon and Levi it is even worse. Their descendants are cursed because of their murderous anger.

Then God unexpectedly through Jacob chooses Judah over Joseph (Compare Genesis 49:3-4, 8-11, and 22-26 with 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). This is a shock (Hebrews 7:14). That the three oldest sons would be bypassed was no surprise. Why Judah? His sin of passion differed from Reuben’s only in that he did not know with whom he had sinned. He was no spiritual leader. God had killed his two oldest sons because of their wickedness. Joseph was the righteous one. He had delivered his family from starvation. His sons had the birthright but Jacob gave the ultimate blessing, the head of the nation, to Judah (Psalm 78:67-68). Eventually there was a boy named David. He is the first of the line of Judah to sit on the throne but the promise and the blessing goes beyond David and Solomon and their descendants…

…the child, Jesus, is the fulfillment of the blessing on Judah.

He will be worshiped in victory (verse 8-9). His brothers shall praise Him because He has His enemies by the throat. The victory has been won. All that remains is the deathblow. This baby is named Jesus, for he will deliver His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). His people will bow themselves before Him. They will worship Him. This Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). There is no one who dares to rouse Him when He is resting. This is the victorious Jesus Christ, the one who will bring everlasting peace on earth, when He comes to establish His kingdom. This baby will be worshiped, when He returns as the victor over Satan, sin, and death.

He will rule throughout eternity (Read verse 10). This is the core of the blessing. Moses won great victories. Joshua was a conqueror. Under the judges like Gideon and Samson, the enemies of God were defeated. Saul became king and fought many successful battles. David’s victories were so complete that there was peace, not only at the end of his reign but well into that of Solomon. Moses, however, is dead. The victories of Joshua and the judges after him are forgotten. Saul eventually went down in defeat. Solomon’s sin resulted in the kingdom being divided. The line of Judah no longer sits on David’s throne. In Bethlehem, one was born who should be the king of the Jews. They rejected Him but He is still their king and one day He will come and they will recognize Him as the political and spiritual ruler. Their hearts will be transformed and He will rule throughout eternity over the whole universe.

In Isaiah 9:5-7 we have both a further prophecy concerning this child, Jesus, and a description of the eternal peace that His kingdom will bring to the world. Then Isaiah describes the Child through the names with which He will be called. This Child’s Name is Wonderful — this Child does things that no other can do. His peace is beyond understanding. It is too great for us. When I think that the ruler of the universe came as a baby in order to die for me, that is too marvelous, too wonderful for me to understand. This Child, this King, Jesus Christ, is Wonderful.

This Child’s Name is Counselor — He makes the Plans. Before the creation of the universe, Christ had a perfect peace plan for this earth. If there is anything that we should learn from the book of Genesis, it is this. That’s why, if you are confused, you can go to Him to find out what to do.

This Child’s Name is the Mighty God — He makes the plans work, because He is God. Yes, He became man and was tempted as you and I but as God He also came. If you are weak, you can go to Him for strength to carry out what He wants you to do. He is the eternal, Mighty God.

This Child’s Name is the Everlasting Father (or Father of Eternity) — only an eternal God can guarantee eternal peace. If you are scared, depend on Him. If you are worried, turn to Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you, that is His promise to those who serve Him.

This Child’s Name is the Prince of Peace — His plans are focused on peace, not peace like the world gives but a peace that is free from the potential for war. If you are disturbed, He has you in His sights and He has you and everything around you in His power.

He will bring prosperity with Him (verse 11-12). These two verses are an amazing description of plenty. There crops will be so good that the donkey can be tied up in front of the grape vine and no one will worry about him devouring the vine, even the choice vine. Wine, the drink of the wealthy will be used to wash clothes in. The point here is not that wine is a good choice for washing clothes but that the prosperity of God’s kingdom will be beyond our comprehension. The most expensive wines and cheeses and caviars and truffles and golden chocolate leaves will be regular dollar store items. Maple syrup will be as plentiful and as cheap as the sugary imitations that most of the world uses on their pancakes. The earth will be a land truly flowing with milk and honey.


I know that this hard to believe but this is the promise we have in the Christ Child. Isaiah 55:1 calls those who have nothing to come to Him and buy milk and wine without money. Jesus Christ offers a prosperity that the world cannot offer.


In verses 6-7 he says, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”


How can God have mercy on the wicked? Do they not deserve to be punished? Oh, yes! They do. But this Child not only brings eternal prosperity and peace through His rule but He has won the victory over sin. Not just future sin or past sin but all sin. This Child died so that we can seek Him. Will you seek Him today? Put your faith and trust in Christ alone for salvation and you can be saved?







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