A pattern screams from the Old Testament stories: God chooses the unexpected. He chose Isaac instead of the first-born Ishmael. He then chose Jacob instead of the first-born Esau. He chose Joseph, over his many older brothers, and then when a blessing was being given to Joseph’s sons, the boys' grandfather deliberately crossed his hands. It’s almost as if Jacob were carrying on the tradition of confusing the blessing.
What a crazy family! Jacob had 12 sons. And Joseph, dearly beloved of his daddy, didn't get the real blessing. When handing out blessings, Jacob skipped right over Reuben, Simeon and Levi, when looking for a son to lead the others. Genesis 49 gives hints to Jacob’s reasons for this; the three sons had sinned grievously. So, the leadership, and the kingly line, and the Messianic line, are given to Judah.
Judah. As if he is a sinless choice.
It’s wrong to examine the lives of these men, looking for reasons why God chose them. God doesn’t choose men because they are worthy; He chooses them for His own pleasure, and a mysterious pleasure it is! Why would God be pleased with Judah, who left his father’s house, united himself with a Canaanite woman, raised sons so evil God killed them outright, lied to his daughter-in-law, and cavorted with a prostitute. That’s Judah, God’s chosen.
But the house of Judah, riddled as it was with outcasts, was God’s choice. Think of the women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, all of pagan peoples, yet ancestors of the Messiah. In this line of kings are wicked men as well as righteous.
If God can bring his perfect son from a line of sinners and reprobates, certainly He can transform us, beggarly sinners, into children made royal. This mysterious choosing of God’s should give us hope. It pleases Him to choose the unworthy, the unexpected.
God seems to be playing a cosmic shell game with the powers of evil, and He always wins. They think they know His plans, but they never get it right. They know He hopes to save mankind, but He never seems to pick the ones for His purposes that they expect. The ultimate example, of course, is Jesus Himself. How the powers of hell must have screamed in anger and frustration when they realized that He had come, and later when they realized that their killing of Him had only completed the Father’s plans.
Thus it always is with God. He redeems things lowly, and uses them gloriously. He not only conquers His enemies, He uses them and their acts, without their knowledge or consent, to achieve His own ends. I want to serve a king like that.