Jehosheba: Preserving the Messianic Lineage

Jehosheba

Daily Reading: (2 Kings 11:1-3):

“When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.”

Who is Athaliah? She is the offspring of two of the evilest people to ever live on this planet. Imagine if Adolph Hitler and Queen Mary I had a baby, it would have been Athaliah. On learning the death of Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:27), Athaliah who is the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the queen-mother, murders all her grandchildren (except the youngest, who is secreted by his aunt, Jehosheba) and seizes the kingdom. No resistance is made to her, and she retains the sole authority for six years. She maintains the worship of Baal (2 Kings 11:18), introduced by Jehoram into Judah, and supported by Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:27).

She issued her orders and had all the members of the house of David put to death. The royal house had already been greatly depleted by Jehoram’s murder of his brothers (2 Chronicles 21:4), by Arab marauders (2 Chronicles 21:17), and by Jehu’s murder of the “brethren of Ahaziah” (2 Kings 10:14). We have Satan at work trying to wipe out the Messianic lineage that would bring about Jesus. But in enters a hero. The text says “But Jehosheba”. Do you know what her name means? Jehosheba is Hebrew for “Yahweh is an oath”. The enemy (Athaliah) has a plan to steal, kill, and destroy, but God is a promise keeper (Jehosheba) and will preserve the Messianic lineage (Joash), so that we might be given life.  

Who is Joash? Joash became the youngest king of Israel. He became king at age of 7 years old! He is the eighth king of Israel. Of the Kings of Israel and Judah almost all were evil. But what do you think about Joash? God gave distinct names to individuals to communicate a message. We have “God is an oath” (Jehosheba) preserving the Messianic lineage by saving Joash and Joash’s name means “Jehovah-given”. Does God ever give evil?  Just because Joash will start off being a great king it doesn’t mean that he will finish as a good king though.

When we go to Jesus’ lineage in Matthew 1 where is Joash? God blotted out his name from remembrance in the Gospel of Matthew.

Second Kings 12:1–3 says that Joash “reigned in Jerusalem forty years. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” The tragedy of King Joash of Judah is that, after his mentor and guardian, Jehoiada died, he began listening to wicked advisers. We should have seen this coming. Jehoiada’s name means “Jehovah knows” sought after wicked advisers this is when things went terribly wrong for him.

Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Whereas with Jehoiada, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Why did God go through all the trouble to bring about Joash when He knew in the end things would go bad with him?

The answer is in the name of the person who saved Joash, Jehosheba, “God is my oath”. God saw all of humanity, and even in all of our failings, God is faithful. God saw our need and gave the greatest most costly gift He could give, Jesus Christ.  Before the Law was ever given, this is the oath that God made to Abram. Genesis 12:3: “and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” You can trace the lineage of Abraham to Jesus where all the people of the Earth will find their blessing in Him. When the enemy has raised up in power Athaliah trust that God keeps His Word always (Jehosheba), and will provide, Jehoiada because “Jehovah knows” how to bring about salvation (Jesus Christ).

The Two Who Dared to Believe

The Two Who Dared to Believe

Daily Reading: (Numbers 14:38):

“Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.”

How many spies did Moses send? Moses sent out twelve. How many of them failed to believe the land would be theirs? Ten of the twelve or 83.3% of the people sent to check out the inheritance God was giving them did not believe that is was theirs to receive.

 “So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it” (Numbers 14:36).

What is unique in this story is that the faith of these two had no impact on the other 10 spies, in fact the other ten convinced all of Israel to not believe in the promise of God. But just because it seemed that Caleb and Joshua had failed to influence the people- they were still going to be great influencers. God’s plan was to use Joshua and Caleb to lead the next generation into the inheritance He was giving.

Moses makes a fatal mistake, the mistake is not in sending the spies, this was what God said in Numbers 13:2, but allowing the spies to poison the minds and hearts of the people into not believing God for the good things He said He would bring about. I believe the error starts in the questions Moses asked of his spies:

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes” (Numbers 13:17-20).

What difference does it matter if the people are strong or weak, if the city is fortified or not? God wanted you to send the spies to see what amazing place He had promised to give you that it is exactly as He said it would be. Caleb and Joshua, unlike the others, see the promise through eyes of faith not of doubt.

The report of the land and even who inhabited it should have instilled faith in the people, if they paid attention to the Word of the Lord. Faith is what inherits and faith is what possess what God desires to give.

The people chose to not believe and it leads them to grumble. They are so close, they tasted of the grapes that were brought back from the land, they heard how amazing the land is and they fail to take a step of faith and claim their inheritance. So, Deuteronomy 28:15 will become their reality. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.”

Today, people have mistaken text like this to think that maybe the bad things that have come upon them are because God is punishing them for not doing what is right. We don’t live in the Old Covenant and in Christ, Jesus is the one who qualifies us for every single blessing because He has kept all of God’s commandments. When He died for us on the cross, He not only fulfilled all of God’s commandments, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). If the curse is gone, what our inheritance in Christ is would be all of the blessings found within the Law because of the One who kept the Law perfectly for us. Jesus did not redeem us from the blessings of the law, but the curse, so the blessings are still ours today!

Joshua means “God is deliverance” and Caleb means “whole-hearted” or “loyalty”. The names of the two who believed was meant to instill faith in the people to believe the land was theirs: “God is deliverance” and “loyal” is God to deliver. Joshua and Caleb points us to Jesus. While it is true that God did lead His people to receive the Promised land because of His own faithfulness, God ultimately would deliver us from sin and death in Christ and lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven.

Priscilla The Powerful Church Leader

Priscilla The Powerful Church Leader

Daily Reading: (Acts 18:26):

“He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”

According to the text Apollos is preaching boldly meaning he had the courage to speak freely in the synagogue about Jesus, he still had a way to grow in his knowledge of the faith. There were two people who loving would invite this man into their home so that the text says that they might “explain the way of God more adequately.”

The word “way” is an interesting Greek metaphor that means a way of thinking, feeling, and deciding. And the last word used in this verse  “adequately” is better translated as diligently.

Acts 18:24-25 tells us some information about Apollos and an area that Aquila and Priscilla might explain to him more diligently. “Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.” 

It is clear based on the last sentence that the problem wasn’t his accuracy of teaching about Jesus, but that He didn’t know about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We have the benefit of having the entire Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament. This man is living the New Testament. Acts chapter 18 is talking about a sermon he just preached. So, unless you heard other disciples share their first-hand accounts with Jesus and His teaching- or you encounter someone like Paul, Barnabas, or Timothy along the way your actual knowledge of what Jesus said and did would have been limited.

God sent Aquila and Priscilla to Apollos but to find out how God would first have to prepare them we have to go to Acts 18:1.

“After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome” (Acts 18:1-2).

A hardship was used as a divine move of God. When have you experienced a hardship in your life that God used for your good and for His glory? God accomplishes great things during difficult circumstances. ”and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). Paul is moving around planting churches and in order to support himself and his travel needs, he makes tents for a living to support the spread of the Gospel. This is what Aquila and Priscilla do too. And the cool thing is instead of seeing themselves as tentmakers in competition with each other, they work together and in that time together Paul will share Jesus with them so that later when they encounter Apollos they can share Christ more fully with Him. Most women were not tentmakers in the ancient world, and yet, Priscilla had a mastery for tent making, hospitality, and theology.

In verse 18 we find that after spending some time in Corinth, Paul leaves from there and takes with him Priscilla and Aquila and they will encounter Apollos in Antioch.

Aquila and Priscilla go to the synagogue where they hear Apollos preaching and they know they can help him. God sent Paul to us, and now God has brought us to Apollos.

“When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26).

They invited Apollos into their home- they had a meal together, they opened their home so that Apollos could grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Priscilla is a remarkable woman who along with her husband Aquila provides for Paul, and those she later has in her house for church, to the best of her ability. Priscilla exercised extreme hospitality and kindness, even when she’d lost her riches as an esteemed family in Rome. Nevertheless, she continues to walk faithfully with God and her husband, and excels in whatever task she has set before her.

After spending time with Aquila and Priscilla they send Apollos off in ministry in verses 27-28: “When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. or he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.”

Paul first met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth. Apollos, didn’t start off in Corinth, but in Antioch and look at the success Apollos will have in ministry. In the very first letter Paul writes to the Corinthians one of the very first things Paul addresses is this:

“My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Peter”; still another, “I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11-12).

I love Paul’s response as he could have been jealous of Apollos. Apollos was more charismatic and a more dynamic speaker than Paul according to many people. Paul could have written that Apollos would only be where he is because Paul trained Aquila and Priscilla would trained Apollos. Instead, Paul brings it back to Christ. You aren’t baptized into Paul, I wasn’t crucified for you. My desire is that we would be united not divided. Let’s celebrate the work God is doing through us all. So, although this verse is looked at typically negatively because people are divided in whose teaching we follow, I see it through the positive aspect that Apollos is mentioned with Paul, and Peter. Apollos has grown in his faith and is reaching more and more with the message of the Gospel as is Paul. “I have been sent to preach the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17). God was powerfully at work in Paul, in Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos.

So whatever happened with Priscilla and Aquila?

“They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them” (Romans 16:4). Most of us are Gentiles and I can tell you, there is a chance you might not have heard the Gospel had it not been for their sacrifice.

Did you know that Priscilla went by another name too? She sometimes also goes by the name of Prisca (2 Timothy 4:19).

In Ephesus, the two of them establish a church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19). She and her husband Aquila not only risked their lives for Paul (Romans 16:4) but showed an example of a godly marriage. I am very grateful for both Aquila and Priscilla and all they did to spread the Gospel.

Deborah: Israel’s Only Female Judge

Deborah

Daily Reading: (Judges 4:1-4):

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.”

What is so special about Deborah is that not only is she known for her wisdom and courage, she is the only woman of the Old Testament who is known for her own faith and action, not because of her relationship to her husband or another man. Also, the only other person in the Bible who was said to be both prophet and judge was Samuel. Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible.

A lot of people believe that she was married to Lappidoth because of verse four. We don’t know this for sure, because in Hebrew, the same word is used for “woman” and “wife,”. She could be the woman of Lappidoth the place, however, no such place is known to exist either.

Another possibility is that Lappidoth is her husband, but not his real name. Lappidoth means torches. There is another person who is very close to her whose name means something very similar. “When Deborah felt that she had helped the people to return to God, she sent for Barak, the son of Abinoam.” Some say he was her husband, because “Barak,” means lightning, another name for “Lappidoth.” I think this is the most likely case.

God gives an option to Barak which is so interesting, the end will be victory no matter which option you chose because you are still going forward into what God is leading you to, but the victory option will change depending on which choice you will make here. The victory was already given, but the honor was up for grabs (Judges 4:6-9). There is a blessing I want to give you Barak and through you, it will bless the entire nation, but you have to receive it by faith. Because faith is what inherits the blessings of God. Barak has faith that victory has been given, but to go forward he says: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8).

God gives the Israelites the victory and they are no longer oppressed. In the very next chapter, Deborah writes a praise song to the Lord.  So, Deborah has an impressive resume of a judge, warrior, poet, and prophet as well as singer and songwriter.

We learn from this story that God has given you everything you need for success in Christ, go forward by faith. 

Judges 5:12-13: “Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.”Here is the takeaway, start your morning off by singing God’s praises for the victory you have in your day because of Jesus Christ. Peace will fill your heart as it filled the land. You go out in your day in victory in Jesus’ name. Wake up, wake up and break out in song.

The last words of Judges chapter 5 say, “Then the land had peace forty years.”

Judges 5 is the life song Deborah and God’s people got to live. Judges chapter 5 is what a life of peace and experiencing God’s salvation looks like. In Christ, the life song that we live is one of peace and the salvation of the Lord too. Christ has given us the life song of peace with God forever. Salvation is ours whenever we need it. So, I will say it again, wake up and sing God’s praises.

King at Eight

King at Eight Devo

Daily Reading: (2 Chronicles 34:1-2):

“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

These verses are a quick life summary of Josiah. He was only eight when he became king. And it seems like his kingship must have started suddenly, because who plans to king a boy at eight? If this was your initial thought, you’d be right. Life doesn’t generally go according to plan. Josiah’s father Amon was assassinated after reigning for only two years (2 Kings 21:19-24).

For one hundred years, ever since the time of Ahaz, Judah had been a vassal of the Assyrian empire. Their homage and allegiance is with the Assyrians.  Cultic practices had been imposed on Judah that suppressed or obscured their religious identity. There is an opportunity at this moment in history, for a restored identity in the Lord as the Assyrian empire had fallen into chaos.

In the midst of an entire nation who had done evil, the Lord raised up a boy who would not follow the false gods of the pagan nation of Assyria, instead follows the ways of his ancestor David. That is a real influencer right there.  Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but a true Godly influencer will follow after Truth (2 Chronicles 34:2).

Josiah is eight when he starts to reign, and he does right immediately, but his relationship with the Lord takes some time to develop another eight years. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3a).

So, what grand thing has Josiah done yet? Other than following after Truth, nothing is recorded yet. It takes him eight years as king, until he actually seeks God. Four more years of following the Lord before any recorded action, what does this mean? He is resting in relationship with God. He doesn’t make things happen for the sake of making things happen. He is growing in relationship with God and God is preparing him for what comes next. An absence of activity can simply be the preparation that is needed for a breakout at the right moment. Think of the ocean tide, when a tidal wave of God’s activity is about to burst forth, there is first a longer absence of the waves. Be excited for those periods of rest and growth because it will bring forth something incredible for God’s glory.

 “Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 34:4-8).

Josiah means “Jehovah heals”. What God did through Josiah was to heal the nation, to remove the idols, and restore the covenant between God and His people. Even in the name of the king that God raised up, He was pronouncing what He would do, bringing about healing to His people.

The incredible thing is that while the Law foretold death and judgment, Josiah will introduce the people to hope, the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35). This is God’s ultimate plan of salvation, Jesus as our Passover Lamb. Josiah first needs to reinstated the Old Covenant Law with the people before he will offer the Passover Lamb and that is what he does.

Now in 2 Chronicles 35 is the pinnacle to me of Josiah’s accomplishment. “Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah provided for all the lay people who were there a total of thirty thousand lambs and goats for the Passover offerings, and also three thousand cattle—all from the king’s own possessions” (2 Chronicles 35:1,7).

Josiah instituted back the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35:16-19) to remove the sins of the people which points us to Christ. But in Josiah’s death, we are pointed to Christ once again. Josiah was great, one of the greatest Old Testament kings it seems, but even he could not save his people. Jesus succeeds precisely where Josiah failed. By taking God’s wrath on Himself, Jesus delivers His own people from it. He is a king with no limit to his ability to save. Through Josiah and all that he tried to do we are shown the greatness of the Lord Jesus – our King who can and does finally and fully reconcile us to God forever.