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#418 JUDAH GENESIS 38
We have just studied about the wonders of God's grace to His people and His love to them while they were yet sinners, as we learned from the biography of Jacob and his children. In this lesson we will study Judah.
The history of Joseph is interrupted with a chapter about Judah. We do not have this interruption regarding any of the other brothers of Joseph. The next chapter goes back to telling about Joseph.
This interruption about Judah begins in GEN 38:1: "And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah." Judah has separated himself from his brethren. He is no longer out feeding the flocks with his brethren as he was at the time they sold Joseph. He "turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah."
There must have been a cave in that area, because we also read that David fled to the cave of Adullam (that is where he sought refuge).
Judah separated himself from his brethren. Remember that it was Judah who bartered the thought of selling Joseph instead of murdering him. Now we see Judah separating from his brothers.
The sins of Judah are set forth in a very distinguished way from the rest of his brothers. This is most remarkable when we remember that it was from the tribe of Judah that the Messiah was to come.
We see that Judah was notoriously wicked, but ROM 5:8 says, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." This teaches us about the coming of the Messiah: Christ was a descendant of notoriously wicked people; that was His heritage.
The chapter before us is a record of Judah's faithlessness toward God, which is an important lesson in God's wonder of redemption.
At the time that Christ was upon the earth, we find MAT 9:10-11 says, "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?"
This brings us to what we see in PHI 2:1-6: "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: [See the condescension of the Lord Jesus Christ] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
Man had exalted himself to be God; that was the temptation of Satan; "ye shall be as gods." Jesus "thought it not robbery to be equal with God." He was rightfully equal with God.
See the condescension: "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (PHI 2:7) He did not come from a heritage or from an ancestry of noblemen; He came from an ancestry of notoriously wicked men. He made Himself of no reputation. Verse 8 says, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
This teaches the condescension of our Saviour. This chapter, I believe, is recorded to show us the notorious wickedness of Judah. Christ was to come from the tribe of Judah.
Not only does our Master eat and drink with "publicans and sinners," but also the twelve gates of heaven are named for some of these sinners. The name of Judah is on one of the gates of heaven. This teaches us that you and I will never fall beyond the call of mercy. This is the encouragement that we have in these Scriptures; that is the reason that all these things of Judah and the patriarchs are recorded: to show us that Abraham is the father of all the faithful. The seed of Abraham teaches us what the Church is. It is a fallen, notoriously wicked generation, and there was certainly nothing in man that God saw that made Him so love the world. The love of God was outside of us.
We learn from the history of Judah what a notoriously wicked ancestry our Messiah descends from. He did not have an ancestry of righteous, noble men, but His ancestry was a man like Judah.
See what the Lord Jesus said of the voice that came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." (JOH 12:28) Jesus said, "This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (JOH 12:30-32)
The death that He died began from eternity. He was slain from the foundation of the world. The generation of His ancestry brings us to understand the condescension of Christ and how He must be lifted up. This becomes His glory wherein He is glorified. "And I, if be lifted up ." The prince of this world has been judged.
He stooped not only to eat and drink with publicans and sinners, but He stooped to the extent, as we read in 2CO 5:21: "For he hath made him to be sin for us." The sin of Judah that is recorded in this chapter was charged to His account. The sins of every one of His people were charged to His account. He became our creditor as He took upon Him the sins of His people.
This condescension is the death that He died. JOH 12:33 says, "This he said, signifying what death he should die." He died the death of the cross: the most shameful and ignominious death. The prince of this world is cast out; he has been dethroned; he is no longer the one that we must serve. See to what depths our Saviour stooped in order to reach the lowest worm. That is what we will learn from the history of Judah.
The history of Judah teaches the wonder of God's election and salvation by grace alone. There was certainly nothing but grace and the love of God that would have brought salvation to such a notorious sinner.
In GEN 38:1 we read, "And it came to pass at that time, [that is, after Judah had succeeded in selling his brother into slavery, and deceiving his father with his brother's coat], that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah."
He separated himself from his brethren and the first thing he did was to join himself to an Adullamite. He saw there a daughter, a certain Canaanite. He joined himself in marriage to a woman of Canaan.
We must sink in wonder and admiration to think of how much higher God's ways are than our ways. Instead of being cast headlong into hell for such devilish sins, Judah was chosen as the ancestor of the Messiah. Notice that the Lord did destroy the two sons of Judah for their notorious sin, but the Lord spared Judah because he was to be the ancestor of the Messiah. This is why we see the distinction in Gods elective grace.
It speaks of the ancestry of the Messiah in MAT 1:2-3: "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren." Judas is named in the ancestry of the Messiah.
The history of Judah teaches the native glory of Christ. The glory of Christ does not rest in His ancestry but is native to Himself. He derives all His glory from His Father (His heavenly Father) and Himself, not from His ancestors.
In JOH 17:4-5 we read, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." The glory of Christ is vested in Himself and in His heavenly Father.
This chapter teaches us the great condescension of Christ, not only that He came and died while we were yet sinners, but also that the greatest, and most shameful, hell-deserving sinners have their names recorded in His birth registry.
As though it were a light thing to desert his father's house and join himself unto this Adullamite, "...whose name was Hirah," Judah proceeded to take a Canaanite wife a heathen. We see the fruit of it in his family; notoriously wicked.
GEN 38:2 says, "And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her." This name Shuah was the name of her father (you see that in verse 12). "In the process of time the daughter of Shuah, Judahs wife, died." The name of Judahs wife is not mentioned.
Jacob's grief must have abounded at that time. Joseph, as far as he knew, was torn to shreds by an evil beast. We see the sin of his sons is only gaining momentum. They had become very hateful toward Joseph because he had brought the evil report of his brethren unto his father.
GEN 26:34-35 says, "And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."
Abraham sent his servant to get a wife for his son that was not a Canaanite. It was a grief that Esau took heathen wives. Jacob went to Padan-Aram to receive a wife who was not a heathen. How much it must have grieved Jacob, adding sorrow unto his grief, to see that Judah took a Canaanite woman to be his wife.
As one sin genders another, so this heathen wife also became the mother of a very ungodly family. You see in Scripture repeatedly that, as with Joseph, the selling required another sin of concealment, which required another sin of hypocrisy, comforting their father when they knew Josephs death was a lie.
This Canaanite mother had a very ungodly family. The first-born was notoriously wicked. We do not read in very many places in Scripture that the Lord slew a man for his notorious wickedness. The first-born of Judah, the one who was entitled to the birthright, was notoriously wicked.
In GEN 38:3-7 we read, "And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him."
There is the beginning of Judahs strength: his first-born. Judah was the one from whom the Messiah was to descend, and now he marries a Canaanite woman - a heathen woman and his children were notoriously wicked.
In spite of his pernicious ways, it is obvious that Judah understood the laws of the God of his fathers which were later recorded by Moses in DEU 25:5-6.
GEN 38:8 says, "And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother."
The reason for this is in DEU 25:6: "And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel." The reason for this was so the name of his brother would be carried on. That child, which now should be born of Onan, would have the birthright because his eldest brother was entitled to the birthright, but now Onan must raise up seed unto his brother; the first-born must be named in the name of his brother and that child would be the one who would carry the birthright.
Onan understood this. Whereas his brother Er was the first-born son of Judah, this would mean that Onan's first child by Tamar would have the birthright of Er, Judah's firstborn; however if Er's name were to perish the birthright would go to Onan. What did he do? In order to steal the birthright (as Jacob stole it from Esau) he would not raise up seed to his brother by taking his wife.
GEN 38:9 says, "And Onan knew that the seed should not be his [because the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, DEU 25:6]; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother."
He was notoriously wicked: not only defying the law of God, but also in effect committing a sin equal to homicide. It was equal to slaying his brother, because the command was to raise up seed unto his brother so the birthright could carry on in the son that would be raised up in his name. Destroying the name of his brother was equal to homicide, but it was also a crime against the image of God, and degradation lower than an animal.
The most heinous part of this crime was that Judah was the ancestor of the Messiah, and it was of his seed that the Messiah was to be born. In very fact, the Messiah was to proceed from Tamar. Do you see why Satan was so busy trying to destroy that seed? The Messiah must proceed from Tamar and from Judah.
MAT 1:3 says, "And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram." Notice that the ancestry of Christ not only came from Judah, but it came from Tamar.
It is so awesome to see how often man would have cut off the very ancestry of the Messiah had not the Lord overruled all things according to His eternal counsel. In the book of Esther, Satan had a plot to destroy all the Jews to cut off the ancestry of Christ. At the time Christ was born, King Herod murdered all the children two years old and under to cut off the ancestry of Christ and to cut off Christ Himself. Satan had a firm resolution to cut off and to prevent the coming of the Messiah. The recording of GEN 38 shows us the crafty design of Satan and how man voluntarily will comply with Satan to cut off the ancestry of the Messiah.
This was not an isolated case. After Abraham had taken Hagar and Ishmael was born, Abraham would have been content to die without Isaac. Abraham, the father of the faithful, the one who must be the ancestor of the seed, which is the Messiah, in his human reasoning, was content to have Ishmael and to have never received Isaac.
In GEN 17:16-18 we read, "And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed [That word laughed means literally "laughed out loud." It was a mocking laugh.], and said in his heart [Not only did he say it with his mouth, but also he said in his heart], Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!"
In reproving him for his folly the Lord told Abraham in GEN 17:19, "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him [not with Ishmael] for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him." It says the seed shall come through Isaac, not through Ishmael.
Man would have been willing, outside of the overruling of Gods grace, to have cut off the ancestry of the Messiah.
The Lord has just told Abraham that Sarah indeed shall have a child, that He shall return unto her the time of life and that she shall indeed conceive. After this, what did Abraham do? This is something that is so awesome.
GEN 20:1-2 tells us, "And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah."
This is something that is beyond comprehension: that after the Lord told Abraham that He would revive her womb so that she would conceive, Abraham gave her into the hands of a heathen king and let him take her! Abraham would have foiled the coming of the promised seed by exposing her to becoming with child by a heathen king, but God's restraining grace overruled all Abraham's folly to preserve the chastity of Sarah.
GEN 20:6 says, "And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her."
Can you imagine that Abraham, the father of the faithful, did not have faith enough to believe that God would spare his life if he to the king that Sarah was his wife? He lied in such a time and exposed her to becoming pregnant from a heathen king when the Lord said He would return unto her the time of life.
This sin of Onan was also very grievous because his sin was to prevent raising up seed unto his brother; it was to prevent raising up seed as the descendent of Judah, wherein the Messiah was to come. It was a very grievous sin. In GEN 38:10 we read, "And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also."
Judah, who was to be the ancestor of the Messiah, had only one son left after the Lord had slain the other two for their sin.
GEN 38:11 says, "Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house."
Judah realized that the Lord was not going to be mocked, and that there must be seed raised up unto his oldest son. Before, when Onan had taken her, he said to take her and raise up seed unto his brother. Now He sees that after Onan has been slain that Shelah might be slain also as his brothers were. He still had one son left to raise up seed to his brother.
Judah's fraud against his daughter-in-law only added sin unto sin. He sent her away to be a widow in her fathers house because he had no intention of giving Shelah unto her. Again, man would have foiled the ancestry of Christ; he would have left her to die a widow without seed. Tamar is in the ancestry of Christ.
GEN 38:12-14 tells us, "And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. [That friend Hirah was apparently a long-term friend.] And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife."
Judah had lied to her. Judah was not giving her "unto him to wife." She saw that she had been deceived. In the Lords Providence, He allowed very grievous sins to be committed and through these sins brought about His purpose. These are awesome truths. The sin of selling Joseph, the sin of lying about Joseph and having him put in prison for something he did not do, all these things work together to bring about Gods decree. The Lord, in spite of the most heinous crimes, will bring about His purpose, and in His decrees He will even use those heinous crimes in the fulfilling of His decree.
Tamar used deceit, whoredom, and grievous sins to conceive. He prostituted himself incestuously with his own daughter-in-law. The Lord allowed this shame to come upon Judah for his hypocrisy, deceit, and lying.
Again we see how man would have destroyed the ancestry of the Messiah but we see God's restraining grace. Another place where Judah would have destroyed the ancestry of Christ is in GEN 38:24, "And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt."
When you follow up the history of that, it means literally to put her on fire and burn her to death. Some of the commentators make light of it and say that it means just to brand her on the forehead. When you search it out in the original it means to literally torch her on fire and burn her to death. Again, he would have destroyed the ancestry of Christ. Tamar, and her son that was now to be born of Judah, were among the ancestors of Christ.
This was the law concerning a daughter of a priest who committed adultery. In the eyes of Judah she was the wife of Shelah, even though he had not given him unto her. In LEV 21:9 we read, "And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire." On that basis he was going to have her burned alive.
See the hypocrisy of Judah now being revealed. How did the Lord overrule the madness of such a hypocrite? In GEN 38:25-26 it says, "When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more."
Judah had to acknowledge his hypocrisy. She had to be burnt because she profaned her father, but what do you do when her father was the one that did it? Now who is guilty?
"Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more." He did not continue living with her as his wife.
It was through this sinful family that our Saviour condescended to accept His ancestry.
GEN 38:29 says, "And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee: therefore his name was called Pharez."
We see another set of twins like Esau and Jacob; another struggle between who is going to have the birthright. The first had put forth his hand, and they put a scarlet thread around his hand, but he pulled his hand back and the second one came out first.
In MAT 1:3 we read, "And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram." Phares was the firstborn of Tamar. He held the birthright - and rightly so, and was of the ancestry of Christ.
Do you know what incest is? Adultery is to have someone elses wife, but incest is when you take your fathers wife or one of your own children. Pharez was born of incest, not only of adultery, but also of a man actually impregnating his own daughter.
These two children who were born of incest were the only sons Judah had beside Shelah. Jacob had four wives and twelve sons, but these three are the only sons that Judah had left. The only son he had, besides those two that were born of Tamar, was Shelah, the one whom Judah had promised to Tamar. They were frustrating the coming of the Messiah by the fact of (first heir being taken away) Onan refusing to raise up seed, and Judah refusing to give Shelah unto Tamar.
We read about the children of Israel being taken into the land of Egypt. It gives the names of the twelve sons of Jacob and the names of their children. GEN 46:12 says, "And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul." Throughout the Scriptures, the sons of Pharez were indeed the ancesters of the Jews of the tribe of Judah.
The blessings pronounced upon Boaz by the elders of Israel establish that Pharez was the one who held the birthright in Judah's house. We see the elders of Israel pronouncing the blessing upon Boaz and upon his seed in RTH 4:12, "And let thy house be like the house of Pharez." They are, in a prophetic way, pronouncing the offspring of the Messiah.
RTH 4:11-13 says, "And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: [See the blessing of the elders of Israel pronounced upon Boaz] And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son." As we know, that was the ancestor of David. The father of Jesse was born to Boaz.
The Lord's decrees were not frustrated by the sin of Er, nor by the sin of Onan, even though he refused to raise up seed unto his brother; nor were they frustrated by Judah's refusal to give Shelah, his only remaining son, to Tamar. Tamar was to have her name in the ancestry of the Messiah, and this was not frustrated by the fact that Judah did not give Shelah to her. The total depravity of man is not a hindrance to God's decrees.
What consolation there is in the way of salvation. We see and understand that the depravity, the notorious wickedness, does not frustrate the decrees of God. Those whom the Father loved, He has loved from eternity and their refusal to accept and their refusal to serve Him is not a hindrance to their salvation.
I was reading a book about a slave trader that was notoriously wicked, whom the Lord converted. He became a notorious minister of the Gospel. He was determined that he would have nothing to do with the religion that his mother had brought him up with, but yet, when it was the Lords time, the Lord brought him into straits and into the furnace. The Lord brought him into salvation for his own soul and he became a minister of the Gospel.
We see this in the children of Israel and in Judah. Judah was notoriously wicked. He sold his brother and deceived his father. He was such a hypocrite to his own children. The Lord now has a gate in heaven that is named for Judah. There are three gates to the East, three to the West, three to the North, and three to the South.
The Lord worked grace in the heart of Joseph as a little child. He had a heart tender for the Lord and he served the Lord all his days. The Lord brought Joseph much more honor than He did Judah. Think of the disgrace that Judah brought upon himself with his incest with his own daughter, and the Lord used this to bring him to shame. Joseph never suffered such shame, yet there was a gate open in heaven for Judah as well as Joseph. The Lord leads each in their own way.
The total depravity of man is not a hindrance to Gods decree. LUK 3:7-8 says, "Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."
Of these stones, rebels, and notoriously wicked ones, God raised up the seed of Abraham: the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. So it was with the true Seed of Abraham: God was able to raise Him up through all human impossibility. Even though in His own house and ancestry He would have been murdered time after time, the Lord overruled it all to bring about His eternal decrees.
The chapter before us is such a beautiful revelation of the humiliation of our Saviour to own such an ancestry of harlots and sinners. He has nothing to boast of in His ancestry. The glory of Christ all centers in Himself.
It is for nothing that is in you or me that we have salvation. These things, humiliating and shameful as they are, are the most blessed consolation that there is for sinners for notorious sinners. It throws the gates of heaven open wide enough for the chiefest of sinners, yet they are closed so that not one sin can enter. Judah had to be cleansed from all of his sin; he cannot take his sin with him into heaven. The gate is too narrow for one sin to get through, yet it is wide enough for the chiefest of sinners.
The history of Jacob teaches that the Gospel of salvation is to every creature. None are so sinful but what there is a gate of heaven standing open, either from the East, the West, the North, or the South.
Look at the history of the first four sons of Jacob, those whose names are on the gates of heaven. Reuben went up to his own fathers couch, Judah fostered children with his own daughter-in-law, and Simeon and Levi went out and murdered a city. Two of them were guilty of incest and two of them were guilty of murder, yet what do we see in God's grace? From the tribe of Levi, a notorious murderer, descended Moses and the priest's office, and from Judah's tribe descended the kings of Israel and the Lion of Judah's tribe who prevailed over sin and the grave.
REV 5:5 says, "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
It was to this "Lion of the tribe of Juda," that the angels in heaven raised their voices in praise, as we read in REV 5:9-11, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands."
Millions and millions and thousands and thousands of angels prostrate on their face before the Lion of the tribe of Judah. What a wonder of Gods grace that the Son of Man, the God of heaven, identifies Himself with sinners, publicans, and harlots.
Have you heard the expression "You are classed with the company you keep"? Jesus Christ kept company with publicans and sinners. That is the blessed news of the Gospel.
We see the angels of heaven, "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; [Verse 12] Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
Isnt that a wonder? The Lion of the tribe of Judah is willing to identify with you and me. The Lord Jesus tells us in JOH 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." What is the real message? See the preceding verses 12-14, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
What is the commandment of love? That we lay down our lives. It is so easy to become judgmental and to put our finger on our brother: "Look what he did!" Did you realize that our Blessed Redeemer identifies with the tribe of Judah? What a consolation we have to know that it is Judah, the one who is so notoriously wicked, that He identifies with. Can we put a finger on our brother and become his judge? Be careful! It becomes such a serious matter.
Those who, by God's grace, shall be delivered from the power of sin shall join in those songs of praise. You and I will join with those thousands and millions of angels in REV 15:2-3, "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."
What is the song of Moses? We read of the song of Moses in the book of Exodus, where they rejoiced over the Egyptians that were slain on the shore. They had come through the Red Sea and they sang the song of Moses, a deliverance from the power of sin.
The Song of the Lamb is the one we read of in REV 5:9-12. "They sang "the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb." Victory over sin comes before victory over the wrath of God. We do not have pardon or justification without victory over sin.
"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." We will join in that song, that heavenly anthem that is being sung now in heaven by millions and millions of angels as they lay prostrate at His feet and as they praise Him. Amen.
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