Precedence: “the condition of being considered more important than someone or something else; priority in importance, order, or rank.”
As we begin to consider Joshua 15, a review of what has just occurred is helpful.
Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance, 2 by the lot of their inheritance, as the Lord commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them… 5 Thus the sons of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they divided the land, (Joshua 14:1-3, 5).
The Lord had commanded to apportion the land for an inheritance, by lot. The two-and-a-half tribes who chose to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan have received their inheritance, listed in careful detail. And now in the land of Canaan, there is rest from war.
Then the land had rest from war, (Joshua 14:15).
Chapter 15 resumes with the dividing of the land commanded in Joshua 14.
…by the lot of their inheritance, as the Lord commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe… (Joshua 14:2).
The Tribe of Judah takes Precedence and is the first tribe on the west bank to receive their detailed inheritance.
Consider the Precedence of the Tribe of Judah
Now the lot for the tribe of the sons of Judah according to their families reached… (15:1).
Although Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn, it was Judah who would hold the place of Precedence among the tribes.
- The Precedence of the Tribe of Judah: the line of the Ruler’s Scepter
- “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9 Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples,“ (Genesis 49:8-10).
- “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
- The Precedence of the Tribe of Judah: the line of the Messiah
- The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers… 16 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations, (Matthew 1:1-2,16-7).
- For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah… (Hebrews 7:14).
- The Precedence of the Tribe of Judah: the line of the Lion of Judah, worthy to open the book and its seven seals.
- I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4 Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5 and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals,” (Revelation 5:1-5).
How do we respond to the Precedence of the Tribe of Judah?
Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, in his rebellious betrayal forfeited his birthright and blessing. By God’s assignment, the Tribe of Judah would take Precedence.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch,” (Genesis 49:3-4).
Created in His image, the first man, Adam, the son of God, gave up mankind’s birthright and blessing of eternal life when he disobeyed God’s command.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life, (Genesis 3:22-24).
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12).
By God’s assignment, the Tribe of Judah would have Precedence, and by One descended from the Tribe of Judah, eternal life would be granted.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive, (1 Corinthians 15:20-21).
Have you been made alive in Christ? Only by trusting Him for our salvation will we receive His gift of eternal life. The day is coming when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah will hold the Ruler’s Scepter and open the books and the seven seals. Only those who know Him as the Messiah from the Tribe of Judah will escape His wrath.
Do you know Him? Do not let this day pass if you are unsure.
“…what must I do to be saved?” “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, (Acts 16:30-31).
…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed,” (Romans 10:9-11).
And if you are certain you belong to Him through faith, does the Lord Jesus Christ have His rightful place, taking Precedence in your life?
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything, (Colossians 1:18).
Let us submit to His Lordship, daily, that He would come to have first place in every part of our lives.
Oh Lord Jesus, Lion of Judah… take Your rightful place of Precedence in our lives.