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Advent #4 -- Genesis 49

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Prophetic Images of the King

Introduction —
Introduction —
Americans spend an estimated 37 billion hours waiting in line each year, much to our individual and collective distaste. Few things inspire as much universal frustration and ire as long queues and lengthy wait times — many of us even struggle to wait for a sluggish web browser to load.
In fact, according to computer scientist Ramesh Sitaraman, Internet users may be a particularly impatient bunch. His research has found that we’re willing to be patient, on average, for two seconds while waiting for an online video to load.
“After five seconds, the abandonment rate is 25 percent,” Sitaraman told the Boston Globe. “When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone.”
We want it all, and we want it now — which is why we’ve created apps to zap as much wait-time as humanly possible from mundane daily tasks like food delivery, transportation and paying bills (and even arenas of greater import, like dating). We devour articles with time-saving “life hacks” to shave 30 seconds here and five minutes there off of the day’s drudgery.
So why do we hate waiting so much? According to M.I.T. operations researcher and line expert Richard Larson, occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time, so when we’re standing in a long line or in a doctor’s office waiting room, the time does feel as if it’s dragging on. Waiting can provoke impatience, stress and anxiety, and in turn, anxiety also makes waits seem longer.
“The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away,” Alex Stone wrote in the New York Times in 2012.
But while waiting in line may be, to some extent, innately annoying, there’s no question that our lifestyles of constant busyness, multitasking, and information overload have made it even more difficult for us to tolerate idle time. And of course, mobile devices and wifi have made it possible to avoid idle time almost altogether. We’ve become accustomed to instant gratification, and any less-than-stimulating situation invites us to immediately whip out our phones in order to keep our brains occupied. This need for instant gratification and loss of patience is indeed a negative side effect of hyperconnectivity, according to Pew Center research.
Transition
Imagine the way that God asked His people to wait. Many years from Adam to Abraham to Jacob. Now, Jacob is making a future prediction about a son of Judah who will come and reign.

1. Images of Preeminence

Genesis
Genesis 49:8 ESV
“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
This is really a curve ball in the narrative of Genesis. We would likely have thought that it would be Joseph. But it was to be Judah. He was to have preeminence.
The seed who has been promised is to have preeminence.
“Leonardo da Vinci took a friend to criticize his masterpiece of the ‘Last Supper,’ and the remark of the friend was, ‘The most striking thing in the picture is the cup!’ The artist took his brush and wiped out the cup as he said, ‘Nothing in my painting shall attract more attention than the face of my Master!”
He was to be the Tribe above the others. This theme is picked up again many places in the New Testament.
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-
This idea of
Col
Colossians 1:15–18 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Does Jesus have preeminence in our lives? (how would this be reflected?)
In our schedules? In our priorities? In our daydreams? In our checkbooks? In our family life?
Do all of those things reflect God’s priorities? The Father has worked history, so that all things will exist for the glory of the Son. How about your life ?

2. Images of Victory

Genesis 49
Genesis 49:9 ESV
Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
“Judah is compared, not to a Lion rampant, always tearing, always raging; but to a lion couchant, enjoying the satisfaction of His power and success, without creating vexation to others; this is to be truly great.” Matthew Henry

3. Images of Rule

Genesis 49:10 ESV
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
We obey Jesus because all authority has been given him, not just because he makes us feel better.
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If it’s not too much, can you occasionally reach out to people (you know, don’t be too crazy), and tell people that I have come to be positive and encouraging and fulfilling. Ask if they will do what I ask, but only if their hearts are in it. Besides, it’s mostly about making them happy anyway. So, you know, tell them to choose what they want to do, cause I don’t want them to think that I am being pushy.
Revelation 5:1–5 ESV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Revelation
Revelation 5 ESV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

4. Images of Abundance

Genesis 49:11–12 ESV
Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
The images here are images of abundance.
All of this so far has been spiritual, but we must remember why Christ became incarnate — to bring this to all of reality.
All of these images start ‘spiritual’ and end ‘physical.’
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