Tag Archives: Judah

Failed Leadership

2 Chronicles 24-28; we are about to finish the history books of the Bible. In this second book of Chronicles, we are reliving the reign of the 19 kings in Judah and Israel. As I have stated before, Israel, the northern kingdom who withdrew from the united Israel kingdom, had 19 kings, all of which established their own kingdom which lasted only as long as the reigned. Israel had 19 kings with 19 different dynasties. The kings repeated have the familiar commentary – “and he did that which was not right in the eyes of the LORD, as Jeroboam, who lead Israel to reject God and embrace Baal.” When we come to Judah, the kings who reign are all from the line of David – affirming the promise Jehovah gave to King David – saying “your throne will not cease to have one from your line upon it. This was an eternal promise – David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD. This statement would mark many of the Kings that followed after the Israelite kingdom was divided. Judah also had 19 kings – but only had one dynasty. In other words no other families in Judah reigned on the throne except those in direct line of David. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this eternal promise. Jesus will reign on the throne of David. Even this is interesting because normally the first born of a family would inherit the place of leadership. Judah [the  son of Jacob] was not the first, that fell to Reuben, and even Simeon, the second born should have been the heir of the Patriarchal clan. Even Levi should have gotten the scepter, but God separated Levi out for service to the Sanctuary.  The scepter fell to Judah – now Judah is not without reproach, but it was Judah who came to the place of reigning lineage. Reuben eliminated because he took one of Jacob’s concubines sexually. Simeon excused because of the revenge he inflicted after Dinah had been raped. Levi, as I have said already had a special service dedicated to the LORD and the Temple/Ark of the Covenant.  Judah was the one who protected Joseph from death by promoting the idea of selling Joseph instead of killing him; he was also in the lead position to seek and find Joseph. Judah was not a perfect leader. His dealing with Tamar, his daughter-in-law and “prostitution” does not view him favorably. However, God saw to had the scepter to his – Genesis 49:8-12.

Leadership for Israel and Judah are marked with leadership failures. We are no less than and no more than they. God knows that we are but dust.

Rather than chronicle the individual lives of each king, I found a more significant issue that needs to be addressed. I have mentioned this once before, but it became more glaring in our reading this week. The youthful leaders/kings many times in Judah were under the tutoring of a man of God or priest that taught them the ways of God. Judah more than Israel [northern tribes] had the prophets of God that would advise and direct the King in the ways of God. An easy example is Josiah; but there are many others. In their youth they listened to the prophets of old and did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD. Joash, Uzziah and Jehoshaphat and Amaziah are all examples of how youthful kings began so strong for the LORD, but because of success, pride and arrogance, they drifted away from God in their latter years. This happened not without repercussions.  We will see this fulfilled in Hezekiah’s life next week.

Failed leadership because they didn’t stay true to the LORD God. Opulence with Solomon was a downfall to succeeding kings. In our country today, America, the thought has to be investigated, has the success economically and militarily caused the decline of our nation? I read much about the original signers of our national sacred documents, and how those men were central in establishing a country and nation founded on the premise of “doing that which is right in the eyes of the LORD.” Much is being done today to try and undermine the foundation of those men, and rewrite history from their personal failures, not from the core and heart of each man. Ultimately, Israel fell along with Samaria in 722 BC; Judah would fall to the Babylonians in 587 BC; again Israel in the Second Temple era fell at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD. When a nation departs from God; failure and demise is surely bound to happen. But in each case of destruction and fall; the nation had already crumbled from inside; Rome included. When looking at our own country – Have we gone the way of Israel by departing from God? I deal everyday with dying churches that are more concerned with their own “comfort and preferences” rather than serving God and winning the Lost with the Gospel.

The people quit listening to the prophets and the Word of God – people in America have come to a place where they don’t even discuss God. God is not even on their radar of topics to discuss. Kingdoms come and kingdoms go? Where are we in that continuum?

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Judah Cast from Yahweh’s Presence

2 Kings 24-25; the end of the road for Judah. Fallen is Samaria and Israel – the Northern Kingdom [Lost 10 tribes]; a 150 later noting has been learned by Judah. Assyria and Egypt had been fighting for control of the “Promised Land” – somehow through pay-offs and treaties Judah was able to live in relative peace. Kings like Uzziah and Hezekiah who did right in the eyes of the Lord extended their existence. Judah was not without sin; but God was faithful to keep His covenant that he made with David even though Judah deserved the same judgment as Israel for their idolatrous ways. I think that Israel/Judah felt they were exempt from the judgment of God that He displayed on the Canaanite tribes. However, Israel and Judah followed the sins, iniquities, transgressions and abominations of the nations God had expelled out of the “inheritance” of Israel.  This is not the first or the last time that arrogance and pride will cause Judah/Israel to be led into captivity. Jeremiah and so many other prophetic voices warned Israel and Judah to repent and return to the ways of the Lord. Jeremiah preaches 50 years, yet all he gain was deaf ears to his message.

After faithful King Josiah is killed, there is a series of kings with a very limited reign and influence. The world power shifts at this point from Egypt and Assyria to Babylon, more specifically to King Nebuchadnezzar. Because Judah persisted in rebellion and idol worship, God allowed Babylon to come to power and lead them [Judah] into captivity and make the Promise Land desolate except for the poorest of people. The Promise Land laid waste!!!!!!!   Why?  Easy answer Judah and Israel left God for gods – But I think that the Promise Land had become so polluted, God and to “Purge” the land of the people and idols so He could restore it again under Ezra and Nehemiah. Sometimes I think that there needs to be a purging of the Church Body before God can do His work in the lives of the Remnant.

An undertone is how God is Merciful even in His judgment. There were three deportations by Babylon – the land was stripped of all the royalty, educated, skilled and craftsmen. Judah was also allowed to continue [return] to worship Yahweh. The exile of Judah was prescribed and implemented under the Hand of God. Jeremiah told Judah “don’t resist the Babylonians, but go into the land, build houses and live among your captive masters. Isaiah 45-66 is called the Post-Exilic chapters of Isaiah or better known as Deutro-Isaiah. Many prophets foretold of the return of God’s people after 70 years in exile.

As bad as it was in the destruction and deportation of Judah, the siege of Jerusalem and the starvation of the people; God was still merciful in that He did not destroy all the people, but left a remnant. We may be looking at a similar situation here in our own USA; the condition of the Church is deplorable; the Gospel has been polluted; we worship our worship not God in our services. I truly believe God is not pleased with the Bride! But there is a remnant that hold to the Truth of God’s Word, it will be the Remnant that God will use – like the Church in Sardis there are those who have not “soiled their garments.” We the Church today must take heed to the warning given to Strengthen what remains, to Hold fast to the Truth.

Years ago America thought it was invincible from attack from an enemy on its own shores – thinking that the distance was too far for the enemy to attack unnoticed – then Pearl Harbor happened and took away the arrogance and pride of invincibility. God is doing a great work among many other “pagan” nations. The Chinese and the Muslim countries are experiencing great numbers of converts to Christ. Yet here in America the church is dying and has gone into apostasy in much of the land.

Will America be restored? Will there be a revival? Will the Church heed the warnings of Israel and Judah? Will America have to Fall before it returns to the Lord? All questions we must answer personally and collectively.

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Foolish Kings

1 Kings 10-14; David the King of Judah is gone, the man who was after God’s own heart, gone. Solomon now reigns in his place, but not without conflict. Solomon as we read last week was an extravagant king. All the luxury he enjoyed came with a price. Solomon had too many women/wives. To keep them content and happy he constructed idols of their gods. The wisest man ever, in his last days forsook God. While there was peace on all the borders, there was an up rise brewing in the people. Now we read that Solomon did not use the people of Israel to do the work of construction, but the taxing seems to be the issue Israel objected to. When Solomon fades on the scene, Rehoboam his son asks for advise from two groups of people. I talked with the elders, and the elders told him to give relief from the taxation. Rehoboam then talked with his peers [younger generation] and they advised him to not to relief the burden, but increase it. I’m not much on looking at polls and surveys, but this is one time Rehoboam should have listened to the Elders. Enter Jeroboam – who rebels against the king. The people were ready [i.e. Israel] to leave. Rehoboam had other adversaries raised up by God. God was going to do a work – Jeroboam would rule over ten tribes and Rehoboam over two [Benjamin and Judah] only because of God’s word given to David. We have issues today with listening to various generations. Pastors and leaders are encouraged to give full audience to the Millennials and Gen X and Z people. I can’t think of a more volatile time in history. So many polls/surveys are being conducted to find out what people want and what they will support. Our own political system appears to be bankrupt, with socialism gaining more and more support. It is a sad few chapters we have to read this week. From a glorious reign of a king, to a divided kingdom. Jeroboam is so arrogant that he rejects God who gave him the ten tribes. He raises up Baal and Asherah idols for fear that the people will return to Jerusalem to worship and wind up staying. Our passage says that Jeroboam did more evil than all the fathers before him. There is a ray of hope – we hear the prophecy of Josiah being born. Albeit, the revival will only be temporary and superficial. This divided kingdoms of North and South, Judah and Israel will continue on until, the fall of Israel and Samaria around 722 BC. We will have kings like Hezekiah, Ammon, Ahab and the like. The idolatry and immorality will become so entrenched into the life of both kingdoms, God will scatter Israel, and send Judah into Babylonian captivity. 19 kings and one dynasty [Davidic] for Judah, but 19 kings and 19 dynasties for Israel in the North. How could such a blessed people forget so soon the blessings they received from Jehovah? I guess America could ask the same question. This point in history is filled with politics, immorality, deception and fear. Except the fear is not of the LORD, but of man. When I think of all the Father did to establish Israel as His people, and we as His Bride the Church, I am saddened because people knew better and still chose to satisfy their own fleshly appetites, rejecting God who literally “birthed” them into a people. Warning after warning is given for people to repent, yet the warning goes unheeded. We pray today for revival – revival of the Church, of the people of God. Yet there seems to be a demonic hold on mankind to continually reject the Savior Jesus. I wonder how log-suffering and merciful with God continue to be with us; Personally and collectively before He acts in judgment?

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Blow the Trumpet!

This blog will focus on the book of Joel. The book is a clarion call to the nation of Judah, but also to the believers today, especially in America. From the onset of the book we find that Joel speaks of the devastating condition of Judah. “Has anything like this happened in your days, or in your fathers days?” Already there has been captives taken to Babylon, the city is falling apart, the enemy is camped outside the walls. Jerusalem has not fallen yet, but it is only a matter of time. I know that many have ready Joel and relate a future prophetic message only,but scripture cannot mean something today that it did not mean then. The church is in trouble today, just as Judah was on the brink of total disaster. The wonderful Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey is now a waste land. The vines are broken down, the fields lay barren and wind worn. No crops to feed the people, no hope for a better day tomorrow. Yet with all the devastation clearly in eyesight, the people are sleeping or worse drunken with a stupider and oblivious to what is going on around them. This continuation of the message from Jeremiah, still falls on deaf ears.

When we think of the Baal cultic worship, this agrarian god that promise fertility of crops and vats of wine flowing from the wine presses, and all Judah has to show for their idolatry is a waste land. For a people so dependent on the Land, the absurdity that they will not turn back to Jehovah, who gave them the Land  is ironic.

A repeated phrase “for the Day of the Lord is coming” declares that such a time is conducted at the hands of God. When I think of the apathy, apostasy and anarchy that pervades our country and world today I grieve for the Lord to heal us. But I also know that there must be a brokenness within us. We have to come to our senses, as the Prodigal son did before he returned to his loving father. What will it take for the people of Judah, even America to come to their senses? Is it too late for Judah in Joel? Is it too late for America today? The trumpet call that needs to be sounded in the assembly alarm, the calling together of the people. Like in the days as a child we had civil disaster sirens that caused us to assemble in a designated place, we must assemble at the clarion call of the Holy Spirit. We and Judah had to respond to the alarm, sadly Judah did not – will we go the same way in our stubbornness? In Joel 1:14-15 and Joel 2:15-17 declares the necessary actions for the people to avert disaster. But it cannot be just to avert punishment and calamity, there must be a humility and passion to return to the God who loves us, and to our blessed Savior.

Needed today is for the “trumpet to blow” for the people of God to come together for an out pouring of prayer and repentance – needed today is a “Holy Ghost revival!” Nothing short of a solemn assembly will do. A solemn assemble is a called meeting for a specific purpose. I recently called for a “solemn assembly for my church. It is time to drop what is in our hands and fall before the LORD. Call the elders, all the inhabitants to the House of the Lord your God and “Cry out to the LORD” – alas the day for the day of the Lord is near. God is drawing all things according to His plan. Judah is told to come and PRAY in the HOUSE of the LORD – come to the TEMPLE people!

Every great revival began with a small group of people who were broken for the Lord and over their sin – the Shantung revival in China occurred because the missionaries were broken before the Lord in prayer. Prayer is incense in the nostrils of God – let’s make is a sweet-smelling aroma.

With the call to come to the House of God, proclaim a fast and prayer; the end result “who knows whether He [God] will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him.” (2:14) Judah had the chance, but they refused – let us learn from their hard heart refusal and Call on the Lord.

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Crying Out Loud

Book of Lamentations – the five funeral dirges.  The year is close to 587 BC, the first round of captives have been taken to Babylon from Judah. All that God had said in Jeremiah, was come true in Lamentations. The book is authored by Jeremiah – the Weeping Prophet. No matter how much Jeremiah warned the Southern kingdom of Judah, the would not listen to the pending judgment of Yahweh. While there is admitted guilt about the rebellion and immorality entrenched within Judah; there is still the request for mercy or as is sometimes translated lovingkindness. Chapter 3:21-25 is a clear example of HOPE for the mercy of God. I found it interesting that while punishment was being implemented, Judah was not crying out in repentance, but in anguish for being punished. I can remember as a child that I could start crying and wiggling around even before the spanking started – crying out I wouldn’t do it again, but never admitting that I deserved what punishment I was getting. In Crisis of our lives, we too often focus on the repercussions more that the offense. In Lamentations, Jeremiah is weeping or crying out loud about the truth of God’s judgment upon the “daughter of Zion.” I had to look up “daughter of Zion” to have a more full understanding of the phrase. It has to do with the relationship of Judah [IE. Israel] to the Father. SO a relationship is being expressed in “daughter of Zion.” Since we know that God “birthed” Israel from an old and man and woman beyond child-bearing years, the Heavenly Father can call Israel not only His people, but treat her as His child.

The very language of the book is descriptive of the prophetic message given Jeremiah before the captivity and exile. I do not know why we wait so long before we pay attention to the trouble that will be ours when we sin. Of course Israel, Samaria were deserving of the m=punishment they received, but Judah, it seems to appear was appalled that they were being punished.

Clearly represented in the “anger and wrath” of the LORD on Judah. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and ransacked by the enemies. Things were so bad inside the walls of the city, women boiled their children and ate them to stay alive. Famine, sword and pestilence just as they had been warned would occur, did – yet they still are complaining about their situation rather than acknowledge there is justification for their plight.

In each of the funeral messages, we find the depth of the punishment and wrath of God. The people of Judah were compared to the sins of Sodom, but considered worse, this being because they knew better.  While reading of the lament and sorrow of Jeremiah, I couldn’t help but think of 2 Chronicles 6 & 7, where Solomon prays to the LORD about the sin of rebellion Israel would potentially get entrenched in. Solomon asks the LORD to remember and forgive the people. The LORD answers Solomon’s prayer with an emphatic YES in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The exile and destruction of Judah is only comparable to the destruction of Jerusalem again in  70 AD. The land had become so polluted with the excesses of sin and immorality, God was compelled to “cleanse the land.” the Message to us [Americans] we cannot think we are above Israel and exempt from punishment. Arrogance and pride caused the fall of Judah and Israel; it will be the downfall of America as well. In our day we are hearing warning after warning to repent and return to the LORD. Will we heed the warnings or will we relive Lamentations “Crying out Loud” in sorrow for our unrepentant hearts over the judgment of God upon us?

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Broken Jars and Ruined Clay

this blog covers Jeremiah 18-22; there are two references to the potter and clay. The first is when the potter is working the clay into a vessel, the second it when the clay has been fired and fixed, but is deliberately broken. This past weeks reading means a lot more if you have an understanding of ceramics. Behind the Potter and clay is the understanding that God the father is the potter, fashioning Israel the clay into the vessel He wants to make. Israel, the pot is being designed for the intended use of Jehovah. We have heard many times – “will the clay say to the Potter, why have you made me this way?” [Romans 9:20-21] This illustration to Judah is to bring to mind that God is God and that He is in control. The Triune God in the creator of the world. He- Jehovah has ultimate power and authority. The Potter finds the clay/vessel is not fit for use. It obviously hasn’t been fired so The Potter crushes it, puts it back on the wheel. The Clay is remade-Judah reformed by God. When thinking of this and the inability for Israel to be a useful vessel, the thought that the Gentiles becoming the New Vessel that God would make, came to my mind. However, I did have to remember, that at some point the New vessel would become unfit as well and have to be crushed. The problem with both Israel and the Gentile vessels is that they become rigid and unmalleable in the hands of God. Israel was in the hands of God, to do as he wills, as is the vessel – the Church  today. There is a promise in this passage of hope. If . . . .evil nation repents, God will relent the evil. If . . . Evil nation continues evil, I will withhold the good I intended. But herein lies the problem with Judah and the Church we will now allow ourselves to be molded by the Father. So God says – Judah – “I am fashioning calamity against you.” Rather than repent, the reply; It’s HOPELESS;  We will trust in ourselves! We will act according to our own heart [stubborn and evil]. What choice does the Potter [God] have but to crush the vessel? In that Judah could repent – the problem was the said it was “hopeless” – yet the real problem was they didn’t want to change! Depending on how people “turn” will determine blessing or discipline. “My people have forgotten Me” replaced Him. Apostasy has entrenched Judah. Even though Nature will act normal, Judah has “abnormal” behavior [13-17]. The problem with THE CHURCH today is the same problem Judah had then – refusal to obey God. Refusal to be “under the creative power of the Holy Spirit. “We’re fine just the way we are, leave us alone.” Jeremiah 19; The Broken Jar. We find  the Valley of Ben-Hinnom also called –Topheth nor Ben-Hinnom. It will be renamed  Valley of Slaughter. To understand this the background is Topheth was a location in Jerusalem in the Gehinnom where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of children to the gods Moloch and Baal by burning them alive. Jesus actually refers to this place when He talks of the Hinnom Valley. Many verses describe the “garbage” that went on in the valley of Hinnom – 2 Kings 23:10; Matt 5:20-22; Mark 9:42-45; unquenchable fire, and the worm never dies. Gehenna or Hinnom are plays on words. Hinnom was a garbage heap, where the fire would smolder and the stench smoke would reek with the putrid smell of burning carcasses. A very graphic picture of the future for Judah, but also for those going to be cast into Gehenna. Yet unrepentant they remain. Jeremiah 21; God is a gracious and merciful God. There is always a caveat in thee passages of punishment where God gives hope of another outcome. Today in our land and nation we find that so much devastation and evil at work. Yet, the Church and the world remain Unrepentant. We must heed the warnings. If there is judgment coming, then what will you do? Will you seek God? Or will you resist God?Was it too late? Verse 10?Was repentance and staving off judgment possible? Is it too late for the Church in America?

 

 

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Ruined and Totally Worthless

Jeremiah 13-17;in this selection of chapters, Jeremiah is told to use a waistband as an illustration. The Linen waistband; practice is to soak the belt in water to make it supple and flexible. Like any new belt very stiff and uncomfortable. The point is God was “uncomfortable for Israel to “Wear”. They sought after other gods’ that were more easy to serve [actually] or serve their desires. This is still thought of today, that God is too restrictive. To get rid of the “stiffness” bury in the river, subject it to the elements. This is what God did to Judah, He allowed the unbelieving nations and idolatry to have its effect on them.  Just like the belt being ruined, so had Judah. Because of Judah’s Pride and stiffnecked they would be ruined. The indictment of God against Judah/Israel, The people just won’t listen. The proverb – Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall! Judah had become worthless, being saturated with all the “filth” of the pagan nations.In the waistband – we are to cling to the LORD, listen to His counsel and trust Him. God is going to subject Judah to the treatments of the  nations like a bunch of “drunks.

Pity and compassion days are over for Judah, Yahweh has had enough. Warning after warning – but still the people will not listen. Even though captivity is coming, the kings and queens will be humble and taken as prisoners, the people won’t listen. So ask the question like most of us – WHY have these things happened? Verse 22. God gives them His answer. –Because of the magnitude of your iniquity!  In a very vivid illustration of becoming naked, God is going to remove their skirt, Their heels will be exposed, which means that God is going to reveal what is under the surface. It would be different if Judah would change, but they won’t is fact God gives some examples of things that cannot change. –Verse 23 – somethings you can’t change. Judah takes great pleasure in their sins, adulteries, prostitution, and abominations.

Jeremiah 14, Judah likes it Agricultural gods in Baalism which is dominated with a procreation mentality. So for the land to be in famine state exposes the Baalism lack of power to produce. It is God of Heaven that cause the earth to produce, something Judah and Israel forgot. The coming conditions of the Land [a Lion King scenario]; –No rain/water,  Animals languish in starvation,They recognize the “why” they still won’t repent. Rather they plead for God to act, so as not to bring shame on Himself. Confess apostates, confess sin, iniquities exposed – but Judah will not repent.  It’s like they are telling God fix this, but we are going to continue to do. God’s answer [vs. 10-12] – why? –They love to wander, –Won’t keep their feet in check, –Rejected by the Lord, –He calls them to account. Then the Lord says – “Do Not pray for this people – Jeremiah, I will not listen. They may fast, They may offer burnt offerings, They may offer grain offerings, I will not going to accept them, –I will make an end of them by Sword, Famine and Pestilence.”

Jeremiah tries to defend the people vs. 13, it because of the , Conflicting message from false prophets, but they Speaking for God, but not His message.

Jeremiah 15- It’s too late Baby now! Yahweh says “even  if Moses and Samuel interceded, No! By the time that Judah came to acknowledge God; it was way too late! But this isn’t any new news – the warning had been given 100’s of years earlier. Foretold Deut. 28:63-68; I told you before this would happen! No there are Four future possibilities for the people.

–Death by disease; –War, –Starvation, or –Captivity. Either way Bodies would be eaten and rot in the streets.

Jeremiah 16, When they ask WHY [ as if they didn’t know, but then again maybe Judah was clueless, surely not innocent or ignorant of God’s desires.

–What is our sin?

–What is our iniquity?

–Why has the Lord declared this calamity? Answer: verse 11; Your fathers idolatry and sin, Your idolatry and sin, you have done more than they have; your stubborn evil heart, don’t listen, You have forsaken Me! Forsaken My Law, You want to serve other gods – wish granted!!

The Hope of restoration

–God restored from Egypt when they were slaves

–God blessed them in the Wilderness of disobedience

–God rose up a great nation in David

–God delivered them to Babylon/Assyria

–God returned them to the Promised Land, Ezra

–God delivered them again to Roman armies; rejection of Jesus the Savior

–God restored them 1948, after 6 million slaughtered

–God will judge them again at End of the Age

–Final Restoration and deliverance

In all that has been said, God still gives the Hope of being Restored. Even when it is over, God still has compassion for restoration.

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