Tuesday

He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion, like a lioness—who dares rouse him up? (v. 9)

Genesis 49:2, 8-10 Tuesday 17 December 2019

Psalm: Psalm 85

Background

:Judah is a lion's whelp", a young lion, strong and, perhaps, playful ... This passage seems to be somewhat ironic.

Each of the brothers who give their names to the tribes of Israel, tribes that then occupy particular packages of land, are named. Their characters are described; strengths and weaknesses. And here is Judah, like a young lion. And out of Judah will come a leader to whom people will be obedient.

What is ironic is that the "lion of Judah" who we see here is strong and playful. Judah in some ways prefigures Jesus. Jesus is strong. But his strength is subtle, somewhat less reliant on physicality, though his parables can be playful.

This is the trouble with prophecy and Jesus. We look back on messianic prophecies and just when we think we have got the character of the Messiah tied up, Jesus spins on his heel, as it were, and turns out different to what we are expecting. "See the conquering hero comes" turns out to be a "suffering servant". Choose your prophecies with care!

Still more, don't pigeon-hole Jesus. You can’t pin him down. He is who he needs to be, not who we want him to be. And that can be unsettling!

And the same is true of God. You can't hold God in the palm of your hand, or control God, but, metaphorically, God can hold you in hers. Did I say hers? I suppose that's the point!

 

To Ponder:

  •  How do you picture Jesus?
  • Have you ever found our picture of Jesus contradicted by our reading of scripture?
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