Bible Readings for July 11th
The allotment of the inheritance in the land west of the Jordan begins, rightfully, with Caleb. Caleb and Joshua had been the only two spies to enter the Promised Land and return with a good report. At that point, forty-five years ago when Caleb had been only forty years old (Josh. 14:7, 10), Caleb pleaded with the people to enter into the land. Because of Caleb’s whole-hearted obedience to Yahweh, he receives the land of Hebron (Josh. 14:13–15).
Now, Caleb is from the tribe of Judah, and after he receives his own inheritance, the rest of the tribe of Judah receives the first apportionment of the land before all the other tribes. Since the tribe of Judah plays an incredibly important role in the whole story of the Bible—so much so that our Lord Jesus descends from this tribe—it is valuable at this point to review some of Judah’s history.
The man Judah, after whom the tribe was named, had been an absolute scoundrel. In Genesis 38, he had hired Tamar, his daughter-in-law, the widow of his dead sons, as a prostitute because he did not recognize her. But as Judah matured—and as God apparently worked on his heart—he eventually offered himself as a substitute in Egypt to protect his younger brother from being held prisoner (Gen. 44:18–34). Then, on his deathbed, Judah’s father, Jacob, had prophesied that the scepter—that is, the kingship—would never depart from Judah (Gen. 49:10).
In the book of Numbers, Judah is the first tribe named in the arrangement of the camp, with the choicest location in the camp, on the side of the entrance of the tabernacle (Num. 2:3). Then, when Israel broke camp, Judah set out first to lead the other tribes (Num. 10:14). All of this is setting up the story for the rise of David, a son of Judah, who would become the great king from whose family the scepter would never depart (2 Chron. 7:18).
So, when the Apostle John weeps in despair during a vision of the throne room in heaven at the thought that the world might never be put to right since no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could be found to open the scroll, one of the elders reminds him of the story, saying, “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” (Rev. 5:5).
Brothers and sisters, our hope is found neither in Judah nor Caleb, nor even David, but rather in the greater Son of the tribe of Judah who conquered all the powers of hell and the curse of sin and death through his own life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, weep no more.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.