Chapter 3 The Voice of Judah

Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah (Deuteronomy 33:7).

Judah is the cradle of Israel’s kings—the royal tribe to which belongs the throne, the sceptre, and the sway. It is from Judah that the Saviour came—“The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” It was in Judah’s house that the King of kings put on the flesh of our humanity. We therefore look for God’s special favor to fall upon this tribe of His choosing for such signal honor.

The Power of Judah’s Prayers

Judah’s tribe is powerful in prayer. Prayer is the atmosphere in which Judah can breathe most freely. The name Judah means prayer or praise, and the tribe was a praying and praiseful people. This is the staff upon which Judah leans. This is the pillow upon which his head reclines. This is his refuge when trials and temptations assail. Judah, son of Jacob, was loud in prayer and his voice is heard in heaven with pleasure and is answered.

We see this first in his father Jacob wrestling with God at the river Jabbok (Genesis 32:24-26), and saying, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” And such a prayer it is which comes from Judah and from all Judah’s sons. Prayer’s mightiest stories come from Jacob’s tribe. Hear David: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears” (2 Samuel 22:7). Hear Solomon: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Hear Abijah: “When Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the Lord…gave a shout: and it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel, before Abijah and Judah” (2 Chronicles 13:14, 15). Hear when a million Ethiopians threatened them: “Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee” (2 Chronicles 14:11, 12). But the pride of Judah’s sons was the Lord Jesus Christ, who was of that tribe after the flesh, and whose prayers on earth were always heard. He said, “I knew that Thou hearest Me always” (John 11:42). And now we see Him on the throne of heaven praying for His needy people—for you and for me. This is the cause of all that has come to us through His wondrous mercy. Our mighty Advocate, who pleads the merits of His own blood, prevails on our behalf and for our eternal good and benefit.

The Safety of Judah’s Convoy

“And bring him unto his people.” The tribes of Judah often had to leave home to war against their enemies. It was such cheering words as these, which gave them hope of safe return. Here was a promise that they were not to be left un-cared for in some distant land. They were to return home in triumph. Within this promise lies a still greater promise—that Judah’s illustrious Son, the Lord Jesus, when He would come into our humanity, conquer all His enemies, rise in triumph over the grave, which we see He did when He appeared to many of His disciples to their great joy—would bring all His loved ones safely home to glory. His people are scattered throughout this wide world—in every clime—on high mountains—in deep valleys—amidst cold snows—in tropical heat. But Judah’s Son—the Lord of glory—will come and gather His people. He will draw us to our own people—the company who are His by right of redemption. All who are given Him of the Father will come to Him, because He comes to them and for them. He will call; we will go out from this world to meet Him. He will come with open arms; we will fly into them.

The Sufficiency of Judah’s Power

“Let his hands be sufficient for him” —a word which points to Jesus’ hands as a sufficiency of power and strength with which to combat and overcome all His and our enemies;—to work out the salvation of His people;—to supply all their needs. Judah was given a great work to do. It brought tremendous opposition and conflict with enemy forces. But Judah always had a sufficiency of power from on high and therefore could not possibly fail. Look at David from Judah’s line: “He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms… I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them (2 Samuel 22:35, 38). In such words we hear the voice of our conquering Lord. Hell arose with all its hosts against Him. The kings of the earth and the godless multitude are yet to array themselves against Him. He will tread them down under His feet. His hands are braced for that sufficiency. The final triumph is to be His as in Psalm 2.

The Triumph of Judah’s Trust

“Be Thou an help to him from his enemies.” This tribe often experienced God’s help in remarkable acts of trust as you can see from the lives of David, Jehoshaphat, and others. This was also true in the life of our blessed Lord. In themselves, Judah’s people were as nothing, yet they were more than conquerors. They were small in number. Their own weakness was all too apparent. Their enemies were often as the sand of the seashore for multitude. Yet these enemies could never destroy Judah. And why? Because the God of Jacob was their refuge. Judah’s Jehovah-Jesus was their shield and sword.

Such was Judah’s blessing. The Lord Himself was Judah’s pride. Through Judah’s line the Saviour came. He was Judah’s God, yet Judah’s Son—the God-Man—the Lord Jesus. When Judah’s God is our God, then Judah’s heritage is our rightful blessing.

I bless the Christ of God;
I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart
I call the Saviour mine.

His cross dispels each doubt;
I bury in His tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear,
Each ling’ring shade of gloom.

I praise the God of grace;
I trust His truth and might;
He calls me His, I call Him mine,
My God, my joy, my light.

‘Tis He who saveth me,
And freely pardon gives!
I love because He loveth me,
I live because He lives.

—Horatius Bonar