SON OF JUDAH

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SECOND CHANCE

As I wrote about king Asa I was reminded of my own walk in Yeshua.  I began with such zeal and since mellowed into a bit of laxity.  There are still some high places to be addressed.  I am comforted to have daily repentance and grace, but some things still need to be changed.  Asa’s son has focused on his father’s righteousness, and avoided some of his shortcomings.  I hope someone will notice my good side and ignore the temptation to repeat my mistakes.  As Asa, I hope some spiritual son will stand for truth in my place.

And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.  And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.  And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;  But sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.  Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.  2 Chronicles 17:1-5

There is a reward to those who will follow good examples to salvation.  They may press in to overcome the issues that hindered their predecessors.  Asa is moving beyond the errors of the past.

And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.  Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.  And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.  And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.  And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.  2 Chronicles 17:6-10

Teaching is so essential to success for nations and churches.  How can we leave the safety of our sanctuary if we are not trained for spiritual warfare?  The basic principles of Christian behavior are to keep peace within our walls, and to draw the lost to our sanctuary of healing.  So armed we will not be overcome by warfare as we go out to this lost world.  Even enemies will recognize the opportunity presented by a Messiah who is open to his world.

Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.  And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.  And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.  2 Chronicles 17:11-13

When we are wise in our warfare, we can prosper in our economy.  Our economy in turn will sustain the cost of our protection.  To a godly leader there are others who will share his leadership responsibilities. 

And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valour three hundred thousand.  And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.  And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.  And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.  And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.  These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.  2 Chronicles 17:14-19

King Jehosaphat has organized, equipped, and trained his people to be safe against their enemy’s threats.  Being in relationship with God is their first line of defense.  If they will maintain this primary alliance, they will not need any other.  Asa had opposed Israel with Syrian help which drew some punishment from God.  Now Jehosaphat has a chance to lead his nation under God.

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GROWING IN PLACE

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ISRAEL IS PLANTED IN GOSHEN

 

And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:  The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.  Genesis 47:5-6

 

Israel and his 12 sons found a home to grow in.  They were promoted by God to be fed and to prosper.  They were to become a great nation.

 

PROMISE IS REAL, REALITY IS SLOWER

 

God made these promises to Abraham, but they were not granted instantly.  It would take time to produce this great work.  It fell to the coming generations to do the work.

 

ISRAEL BROUGHT TO GRIEF, THEN JOY IN HIS CHILDREN

 

And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,  And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.  And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.  Genesis 48:3-5

 

Israel thought he had lost Joseph, but instead gained him back, with his new family too.  Indeed Israel claimed his children as his own.  This would later manifest in an unexpected way.

 

WE ARE HERE GROWING, BUT NOT YET GROWN

 

The word says that we are seated in heavenly places.  There is a manifestation of our promise even during this time when the evidence is not visible.  But we have to complete our “entrance exam” in this life first.  But God already knows the outcome.

 

ANNOYING CHILDREN CAN BECOME GREAT

 

My experience in teaching indicates that the worst brats can be destined to greatness, going on to become preachers or missionaries.  We live in hope that these lessons will be remembered when the need is greatest in some distant battle.  Peter was a bit of a brat, being impulsive, but not evil.  He needed to be both corrected, and commended at times.

 

12 ALL SONS,  BUT NOT ALL WILL RISE

 

And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.  Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.  Genesis 49:1-2

 

Israel prepared his family for a preview of their calling in God.  We know that our promise includes salvation, and a possibility for still greater rewards.  Some will just be saved, and others will earn honors in heaven.

  

DAN AND JUDAS COME SHORT

 

Unfortunately, not all of the brothers will pass their tests.  One of the 12 is doomed.  This was also true of those who followed Jesus.  Jacob spoke this of him:

 

Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.  Genesis 49:17

 

Later we read about another son of Israel who falls away from leadership.

 

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve  Luke 22:3

 

This is because God knows our choices in advance, not because he forces us to make bad choices.  We have free will to choose our path.  Dan was replaced by Manasseh even as Joseph claimed him as his own son in the earlier verses.  Dan is not sealed among the 144,000 in Revelation.

 

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.  Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.  Revelation 7:4-8

 

SMALL FOXES, SMALL SINS DO HARM

 

We have to remember that life rarely takes us by the major sins, the sin unto death.  Samson had failed long before he met Delilah.  He had compromised his testimony by taking honey from a dead animal.  Honey is good, but not if it is contaminated by sin.  Esau failed when he sold his birthright, long before he missed his father’s blessing.  God is the witness to our small sins.  These build up if not repented. 

 

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.  Song of Solomon 2:15

 

SOME BROTHERS HAVE SINED, YET WILL BE REDEEMED TO GREATNESS

 

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.  Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.  Genesis 47:8-10

 

Judah had merciful intent towards Joseph, and was destined to be the house of David and the Messiah.

 

ALL WILL GROW TOGETHER, IF NOT ALWAYS IN HARMONY

 

Joseph’s brothers were fearful when their father Israel died.  Joseph was free to get revenge now, having the power of Egypt behind him.  He knew his calling was to help them, and he comforted them. 

 

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.  Genesis 50:19-21

 

TIME OF REDEMPTION WILL BE NEEDED AS NURTURING BECOMES BONDAGE

 

This Pharaoh was generous, but a later one would forget the gift of Joseph.  Over time this comfort and feeding will become slavery.  When Israel is strong, they will also threaten their hosts.

 

TIME TO LEAVE THE CRADLE AND BECOME A NATION

 

Over time Israel’s tribes will mature and become a great nation.  We too need to grow in preparation to be a great kingdom.  We will mature in spiritual things to be ready for greater service.

 

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.  1 Corinthians 14:20

 

MATURE SONS OF GOD

 

We will be like God when we see him.  That implies that a joint-heir will have some of the power he lives in.  This requires obedience and purity that merits such a promotion.

 

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.  1 John 3:2-5

 

Israel’s children are planted in Egypt to grow into a great nation.  At this point they are like toddlers, carnal in behavior and full of jealousy.  They are becoming a great nation by physical growth.  They are under God’s supervision and forced into obedience.  Famine closes the door of escape and forces them to stay here until they are strong enough to fight enemies in the Promised Land.  They still need wisdom and maturity.

 

THE LAW WILL BE A TEACHER FOR THE CHILDREN

 

Soon this family will need to learn some lessons.  God will bring them a law giver who will lead them to new discoveries.  Imperfect man will be measured by a perfect law.