It is hard to wait - January 2023

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on January 21, 2023

We wait.

As Christians, we wait for promises to be fulfilled.

As Jacob blessed his sons in our Old Testament lesson (Genesis 49-50), he spoke of Judah as a “lion’s cub” and then made this prophesy:

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his (Genesis 49:10).

Until he comes...

“There is some uncertainty about the Hebrew text of the phrase translated ‘…until he comes to whom it belongs.’ The King James Version translates these words ‘…until Shiloh comes,’ and ‘Shiloh’ is usually understood as ‘Rest’ or ‘Rest-bringer,’ a name for the Messiah who brings rest for our souls. The NIV translation understands the Hebrew word to be a combination of two elements: ‘…he to whom it (the ruler’s scepter) belongs.’ The Messiah alone deserves to rule as King; he is the only one who reconciled a world of sinners to a holy God” (Prof. John Jeske, Genesis: The People's Bible, pages 394-395).

In Revelation 5:5, an elder in John’s vision encourages him, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.”

It is hard to wait until...

Our New Testament lesson (Matthew 13:53-14:21) illustrates how hard is to wait for Shiloh, our Rest-giver, the Lion who will reign.

  • Jesus is rejected in his hometown.
  • John the Baptist was beheaded as part of a birthday party.

How long, Lord, will your enemies be victorious? How long must your people suffer?

And so we wait… as the Old Testament people waited for the Messiah to come, so we wait for his return. But even as we wait, we can trust that he (and we) will be victorious. The God-Man who fed the 5000 will come back and fulfill our every need. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst… And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7).

It is that certainty “In the waiting” (a song by Mike Westendorf) that allows us to walk in Joseph’s footsteps in Genesis 50. He forgave his brothers.

May we have that same confidence, entrust ourselves to Shiloh, the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and humbly show loving kindness even to our enemies just as Joseph did. Love as our Savior has loved us. 

Jacob's prophecies...

The map below can help you visualize some of the other prophecies of Jacob about his sons.

  • Reuben received land on the east side of the Dead Sea, cut off from contact with Israel. Reuben is hardly ever mentioned in Old Testament history.
  • Simeon and Levi were scattered. Levi became the priestly tribe and Simeon received a portion inside of Judah’s territory.
  • Zebulon settled in the Jezreel Valley close to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Issachar settled in the eastern Jezreel Valley, which was the “breadbasket” of ancient Israel, but also a target for invaders.
  • Dan couldn’t take his original portion from the Philistines, and so part of the tribe captured an unsuspecting area north of the Sea of Galilee.
  • Gad settled east of the Jordan River and peoples from the eastern desert constantly harassed them.
  • Asher enjoyed the rich farming area along the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Naphtali in the northern hills of Galilee is well watered. The greenery of the area reminds me of driving through Wisconsin.
  • Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh receive the double portion that went to the eldest son. Their large territories are in the most secure center part of the nation.
  • Benjamin received land just north of Judah. Saul, the first king of Israel, comes from the tribe of Benjamin.

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