The Redemption of Judah

Genesis 49:8-12


Greetings from Fort Lee Gospel Church.  Heard you have a theme this year of the gospel in the Old Testament.  In preparation for this sermon, I started with the story of Joseph.

The last chapters of Genesis tell us the story of Joseph

In some ways Joseph is a figure like Jesus.  We have no record of his sins and he was used of God to save people from starvation.  As I read the account of Joseph, I became more interested in the story of his brothers.  As a group, the 12 brothers have a very special place in the history of the Jews.

In some ways, Judah receives greater honor in redemptive history

This surprises me.  Joseph is highly regarded, but Jesus is a descendant of Judah.  King David is a descendant of Judah.  One of the studies I lead is from the book of Revelations. 

"Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.¡±   Rev 5:5

The story of Judah is a story of God¡¯s mercy and grace.  It is a story that we can identify with.  Most of us have more in common with Judah than with Joseph.  Joseph inspires us because he always does the right thing.  Judah is a person we can identify with because we are flawed people.  The message will look at the failings of Judah, his restoration and lesson of God¡¯s Grace.

I.                   The Failings of Judah

Joseph¡¯s 10 brothers are most famous for selling their brother into slavery.  Read Gen 37

Sold brother into slavery ¨C Gen 37

Judah initiated selling Joseph (37:26,27)

Judah is a leader among his brothers in doing the wrong thing. 

Family struggles ¨C Gen 39

Gen 39 seems to be an unimportant chapter until you realize the two main characters in the story are Joseph and Judah.  In a summary, Judah had 3 sons and God struck the first two dead because they displeased Him.  Judah¡¯s daughter-in-law tricked him into fathering twins. 

Two sons struck down by God and twins born by deception

The writer of Genesis gives a whole chapter to show that Judah had a complicated home life.  How many of us also have home lives that are far from perfect. 

II.  Restoration of Judah

Genesis 43:1-10, 44:10-34  - Read

Judah becomes the protector of Benjamin

Now we see Judah leading in a more godly way.  He seems responsible in how he protects Benjamin. 

Judah does not seem bothered by his Father¡¯s favoritism

Notice that Jacob always loved Joseph and Benjamin more than his other 10 sons.  That never changes.  This favoritism contributed to the brothers sin of selling Joseph.  Jacob never changes, but Judah does.  One application for us is that the injustices of our lives may never change, but they are no excuse for our sin. 

As one example, if your father was an alcoholic, you may have had many challenges that hurt your Christian faith.  God wants to change us, whether our father changes or not.

Judah is determined not to repeat his past sins

The main theme of this section is that Joseph tests his brothers to see if they have changed and the brothers seem determined not to repeat what they did to Joseph.

For us, our greatest mistakes can lead us to work hard to not repeat them, or we can give in and chronically make the same mistakes.  To fail a college class can lead to a determination to never do that again or it can lead to failing many classes and dropping out of school.  The choice is ours.

III.  The Grace of God

Gen 49 takes place when Jacob is about to die and he blesses his 12 sons.  The two longest blessings are for Judah and Joseph.  Judah is the 4th oldest, but he is like the first born because of the sins of the first 3.  Reuben disqualified himself by sexual sin.  Simeon and Levi were too violent as they killed a small village for raping their sister. 

Genesis 49:8-12   Read

Future honor, future kings, and future prosperity ¨C a summary

As mentioned, from Judah would come David, Solomon, the southern kings and finally, Jesus.

Personal applications from Judah¡¯s life

What about us?  Do we believe we have made too many mistakes?  God cannot use us because of what we have done?

Story of Amazing Grace, written by John Newton. 


Gen 50: 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


God can take our greatest failures and use them for His glory.