The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah
Am I the only one that watches the news or looks at my various "feeds" and wonders, "What the heck is going on?"
There IS a ton of insanity going on in the world? People sometimes ask: it more than other times or is there just more exposure and we are simply being inundated by the constant exposure? It's a good question, but I don't know how to answer that and I don't know if anyone else does either because the globalization of the world witht he click of a button is a relatively new reality.
But Isis, school shootings, terror threats, threats of economic collapse, who-is-currently-building-THE Bomb, pension cuts, increasing national debt. You can't get around the fact that these things are evil and scary. Among the things listed they create varrying degrees of sorrow or anxiety, but the reality is, I could have listed a thousand more and it would likely still not cover what comes across your news feeds in one week.
And then, after reporting all of these things, there is usually one or two stories meant to stir up sentimentality and make you believe that "there is still good in the world". (though lets be honest, the time given to "the good" does not even rate in comparison to the other stuff).
Then, there is the obvious "click bait". You know what I'm talking about. The substanceless, vapid articles that range from celebrity gossip to speculative fear mongering. The kind of stuff that after you click on it, you are dumber than when you started reading the article, and it literally produced NOTHING of value in you.
Then add to that, that those are the problems OUT THERE. Yes, every problem OUT THERE is somebody's problem "RIGHT HERE", but for most, the catastrophies reported are still someout distant...though they do seem to be getting closer and closer. But, on top of the stuff OUT THERE, you have your own day to day stuff. For some, that can be "momentary light affliction" or even seasons of relative ease, and for others it can literally be a struggle to get by on a day to day basis.
So, the question is: Where is God in all of this? Is this all random happenstance or something holding this giant mess together?
I was reminded and comforted while studying for this week's sermon, a prophesy, in some ways a Christmas text (Genesis 49:9-12). There were some words in there that made me pause, look at the world, look at my Savior, look back at the world, and then fix my gaze where my eyes should be...on the Lion of the Tribe of Judah...who was born as child that first Christmas morning to set in motion to drive all darkness away.
Those words came from Genesis 49:10, where the writer says:
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between His feet"
Do you know what that means? It means that He is King. But it means more than that. It means that He is a sovereign King. But it means more than that. It means that He will never stop being King. Yet, it means EVEN STILL more than that. It means that there is nothing that goes on that He is not King over and above.
This was a prophesy that Jacob gave over one of his sons, Judah. It was not fulfilled by Judah. It was not fulfilled by Judah's kids. But it would be fulfilled one day by a dedendant of Judah. And it was fulfilled that first Christmas morning.
The Ruler was born. The one who would hold the staff and rule over this crazy, mixed up, confusing, often hurtful world.
I am not minimizing the fact that pain is real. Some of the stuff going on in this world is downright frightening. I have young children who are growing up in this world. And though I pray for those in charge, I have little faith in their ability to stem the tide of evil and often wonder how much they just contribute to it (not a partisan statement, just a statement on the inability of increasingly A-moral people to stem the tide of evil in a world that is marred by sin).
But Isis does not hold the scepter. The next presidential candidate does not hold the scepter. Some whack job plotting some wicked plan in his basement does not hold the scepter. The news who create the narritives to drive the fear do not hold the scepter (no matter how much they think otherwise). If your candidate win, he/she will not hold the scepter. The health exam results you are waiting for do not hold the scepter. I could go on, but you get it.
That first Christmas morning, this ancient prophesy was set in motion. The ONE who holds the scepter was born into this world. He may not have eradicated all evil in His first coming. But He did give us a set of lenses through which to view it. And guess what, as He rules from Heaven, He still holds the scepter. And you know what else, He is coming back... and that is truly when we will see an end to the chaos and we will see Him rule with His Scepter. A benevolent scepter. A good scepter.
So, though this world may be chaotic, though life may be chaotic, it is NOT out of control. The child who was born, King of the tribe of Judah, came into this world many Christmas's ago to declare: the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between His feet, and there will be a day that all tribute will be given to Him, like was begun with the magi of old, and to this King shall be the obedience of ALL the peoples.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven...
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