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Diversity in Christ

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Diversity in Christ

by

Tebogo Maimane

Diversity in Christ

Copyright 2016 by Tebogo Maimane

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing to the copyright.

Preface

The content of this book is based on Matthew 1:1-17. I chose this genealogy as it is the one that traces Jesus’ family tree in relation to Abraham, the father of our faith and the one through whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

There are forty names mentioned in this genealogy from Abraham to Joseph. In this undertaking I will be attempting to give an insight into the lives of these individuals.

It is amazing that Jesus being fully deity came into this fallen world and lowered Himself to a point where his birth into earth is through a family tree that is not perfect. This makes Him also fully human because no person is born into a perfect family tree.

As such no one should exclude themselves as available vessels to be used by God merely because of their family background.

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Abraham to David

Chapter 1: Abraham and Sarah

Abraham means father of a multitude.

Sarah means princess of the multitude.

Abraham is a descendent of Shem, his father was Terah and was born in Ur a city in Chaldea. He lived there the first seventy years of his life, this was an environment that was very idolatrous. He was born Abram which means exalted father but God changed his name to Abraham, also his wife was born Sarai which means my princess but God changed her name to Sarah.

Because God had a great purpose for his life, He commanded him to depart from his family and such an idolatrous environment, and Abraham obeyed. He moved to Haran in Mesopotamia for a few years, from there onwards he entered the land of Canaan in which he became a nomad. Some of the places he stayed in as a nomad are Shechem, Negeb, Egypt, Gerah, mountain range between Bethel and Ai, Beersheba. The third place in which he settled for a long period was Mamre in Hebron.

Like any person Abraham and Sarah had strengths and weaknesses.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a man of faith, when God commanded him to live the land which he was familiar with and go to the unknown place, he did not hesitate but rather obeyed. In Genesis 12:1&4 it says

now the Lord had said to Abram, ‘get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you…so Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. His relationship with God was so intimate that he was referred to as a friend of God. In Isaiah 41:8 it says

But you Israel are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend”.

Also James 2:23b says

he was called the friend of God”

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He had persevering faith, even when God’s instructions were difficult. When God instructed him to sacrifice his son Isaac his faith was thoroughly tested yet he remained steadfast. In Genesis 22:1-19 we are given the narration of this event.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a righteous person, Romans 4:3 and James 2:23 says

Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was generous and hospitable, in Genesis 18 we are told of how he hosted three strangers. He did not know it was the Lord and two angels.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was compassionate, when Lot his relative was taken captive Abraham went and rescued him. In Genesis 14:14-16 says

now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was an intercessor, his prayers led to Lot being shielded from God’s wrath when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 19:27-29 it says

and Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt”.

Even though Abraham had so many great qualities he also had flaws:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was fearful, God had to give him a reassurance through a vision. In Genesis 15:1 says

the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying ‘do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a liar. He lied to Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. In Genesis 20:2 it says

now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘she is my sister’”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was easily persuaded, he allowed his wife to convince him to have a child through her servant. In Genesis 16:2 it says

so Sarai said to Abram, ‘see now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid, perhaps I shall obtain children through her’. And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai”.

Sarah also had strengths.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She respected her husband. In 1 Peter 3:6 it says

Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord”.

Respect is deemed as the greatest honor a wife can give to her husband.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She had a teachable spirit. Sarah accepted the Lord’s rebuke when He enquired if there is anything He cannot do. That rebuke led to her having a change of attitude which is why she is mentioned amongst the heroes of faith. In Hebrews 11:11 it says

by faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judges Him faithful who had promised”.

However she also had faults

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She doubted the promises of God, she overheard the conversation when Abraham was told that she will bear a child but she did not believe it. In Genesis 18:12-14 it says

therefore Sarah laughed within herself saying, ‘ after I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ and the Lord said to Abraham, ‘why did Sarah laugh, saying, shall I surely bear a child since I am of old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She was the one who advised her husband to have a child through her maid yet when her own child Isaac was born she became jealous and colluded that Ishmael and his mother be expelled. In Genesis 21:10 it says

therefore she said to Abraham, ‘cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac”.

Abraham had eight sons Ishmael, Isaac, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Sarah died at the age of 127 and Abraham died at the age of 175.

Chapter 2: Isaac

Isaac means laughter

Son of Abraham, the son through whom God’s covenant was established. In Genesis 17:19 it says

Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac, I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him”.

He got married to Rebekah. Even though he was the son of promise his life was not without challenges. Isaac got married at the age of forty and because his wife was barren he only had children at the age of sixty. Genesis 25:20 & 26

Isaac was forty years when he took Rebekah as his wife… Isaac was sixty years when she bore them”.

There’s a season in his life where he got subjected to a time of famine. In Genesis 26:1 says

There was famine in the land, besides the famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.”

He became so wealthy that people became jealous of his success and treated him with disdain. In Genesis 26:16 it says

Abimelech said to Isaac, ‘ Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we’.”

Isaac had the following strengths:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a prayerful man. When he first met Rebekah he was coming from a time of prayer. Genesis 24:63 says

and Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening, and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming. Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel”.

Also when he saw that they had a difficulty to conceive he pleaded with the Lord. In Genesis 25:21 it says

now Isaac pleaded with the Lord because she was barren, and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a peace loving person. In Genesis 26:17-22 when the herdsmen in Gerar were fighting with his servants for wells, Isaac chose to move from the area instead of continuing to be around quarrelsome people.

Isaac’s weaknesses were:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He had favouritism, he loved Esau more than Jacob. In Genesis 25:28 it say

and Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob”.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. He was a liar, he used the same lie as his father and called Rebekah his sister. In Genesis 26:7

and the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, ‘she is my sister’.”

Rebekah’s strengths

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She was prayerful. When she had a difficulty with her pregnancy she sought the Lord.(Genesis 25:22)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She was brave, she agreed to get married to a person she had never met.(Genesis 24)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She was compassionate, she was willing to help a stranger.( Genesis 24)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. She was a hard worker, watering the ten camels took a lot of effort.(Genesis 24)

Her weakness

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p<>{color:#000;}. She was manipulative, she was the one who instructed Jacob on what to do in order to get the paternal blessing.(Genesis 27)

There are a lot of positives we can learn from Isaac and Rebekah however the key principle we can learn is from their mistake. Their story teaches us that parents should refrain from showing favouritism amongst their children.

Chapter 3: Jacob

Jacob means trickster, supplanter(one who takes the place of another), one who follows on another’s heel, holder of the heel( he was born holding his brother’s heel).

Jacob was born a twin however he and his brother Esau did not have any similarities physically nor in temperament. Instead of having a strong brotherly bond they had rivalry towards each other. Even though it was God’s design that Jacob rule over Esau, in Genesis 25:23 says

and the Lord said to her, ‘two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body, one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger”,

yet Jacob through the help of his mother resorted to use manipulation in order to get the blessing of the firstborn. The unpleasant incident is narrated in Genesis 27. Jacob’s action led to the rivalry between him and Esau to be intense, his twin brother hated him to a point where he was plotting to kill him. Genesis 27:41 says

Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘the days of mourning for my father are at hand, then I will kill my brother Jacob”.

Jacob fled when he discovered his brother’s intentions, he went and stayed with his uncle Laban.

When he was venturing into the unknown territory, Jacob had the privilege of having special encounters with God. When he left home he had his first encounter through a dream and he named the place Bethel which means house of God, it’s narrated in Genesis 28:10-22. Also when he was returning home, he had another special encounter with God, he named the place Peniel which means face of God, its narrated in Genesis 32:22-32.

Unfortunately for Jacob his ways of being a trickster caught up with him. In the period Jacob had ran away from home, just as he had crooked his father to get the paternal blessing, he was also crooked by his uncle Laban. Jacob worked for seven years in order to marry Rachel but Laban gave him a wrong wife on the wedding day. Because he loved Rachel dearly he worked another seven years for Laban. So Jacob found himself in a polygamous marriage not by choice but because of his uncles scheming.

After twenty years of staying with Laban, Jacob decided to move back home and reconcile with his brother Esau. At their first encounter Jacob bowed seven times as he was coming close to his brother because he was afraid. He was afraid because when he saw his brother approaching he had a group of men with him. His tactic was to present himself as being humble considering how he had left home. To his relief Esau was no longer angry but welcomed him. In Genesis 33:1-4

now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming and with him were four hundred men. So he divided his children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants. And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept”.

Despite the fact that Jacob saw that his brother no longer had ill intention towards him he still continued with his devious ways. Jacob promised to follow Esau to come settle near his dwelling but when Esau went to Seir, Jacob went to Succoth then afterwards settled in the city of Shechem. By him not keeping his word to his brother, Jacob’s decision ended up in negative consequence because in Shechem his family encountered a tragedy. His daughter Dinah was raped by the son of the king of that area, and his two sons Simeon and Levi decided to avenge their sister by murdering the men of Shechem. Just as he had deceived his father, deception was also upon his sons because men of Shechem were under the impression that they were forming a treaty with Jacob and his family by agreeing to get circumcised but his sons used the opportunity to destroy them. In Genesis 34:25-27

now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Harmor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled”.

It is evident that as privileged and wealthy as he was, Jacob did not have a smooth life, he underwent various challenges. Firstly he was married to sisters yet they did not like each other as they were continually competing for his affection, his household had no peace. Secondly his daughter Dinah was raped and his two sons became murderers as they chose to avenge their sister. Thirdly he lost Rachel, the wife that he loved the most, when she was giving birth to their youngest son Benjamin. Fourthly he lost his favourite son Joseph when his sons sold him into slavery and pretended to their father that he had been killed. Fifthly, he got subjected to famine to the extent that he had to send his sons to a foreign land to look for food.

With the purpose that God had for his life, it was imperative for his name to be changed. His name was changed from Jacob(meaning trickster, supplanter, one who takes the place of another) to Israel(meaning ,contender, fighter, who prevails with God) because through him the tribes of Israel were established. Indeed it was crucial for his name to be changed because the chosen nation of God had to be established upon a person who no longer uses his own devious strategies but upon one who was willing to prevail with God. In Genesis 32:27-28 and 35:10-11 respectively says

so He said to him, ‘what is your name?’ he said ‘Jacob’. So He said to him, ‘your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed”.

and God said to him, ‘your name is Jacob, your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name’. So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply, a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body”.

Jacob had twelve sons Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Isaachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. Through these sons, the tribe of Israel was established.

The life of Jacob teaches us that God is able to bring a turnaround in anyone’s life. We may start off in a negative way but an encounter with the Lord transforms our lives.

Chapter 4: Judah

Judah means praise.

He is the forth son of Jacob and inherited the position of the firstborn because his father was not pleased with his first three sons. When Jacob was giving paternal blessing to his children this is how he blessed Judah,

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise, your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies, your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp, from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who shall rouse him? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk”.

He is compared to a lion, but he is the type of lion that is not raging but rather a lion that is satisfied in its power, hence he lies down and no one is able to provoke him. The sceptre refers to leadership and ruling power. The donkey and the vine refer to his prosperity in material possessions.

Judah is the one who convinced his brothers to sell Joseph to the Midianite traders, his intention is not specified it might have been to spare Joseph’s life because his other brothers were set on killing Joseph.

He was the family’s spokesperson and negotiator. When Jacob was reluctant to send Benjamin with his brothers to Egypt, Judah gave his life as surety to be the protector of Benjamin. In Genesis 43:8-9 says

then Judah said to Israel his father, ‘send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him, from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever”.

Also when Joseph wanted to keep Benjamin in Egypt, Judah negotiated with Joseph not to do so for his father’s sake. Out of that negotiation, Joseph made his true identity known because until that time his brothers had not recognised him. This is narrated in Genesis 44:18-45:5.

Judah had shortfalls. Firstly he married into a culture that practised idolatry, he took a wife by the name of Shua who was a Canaanite. God had forbidden this intermarriage, in Deuteronomy 7:1-3 it says

when the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son”.

Secondly was that he failed his daughter in law Tamar pertaining to their culture of levirate marriage by not keeping the promise he made to her in Genesis 38:11.

Judah had five sons Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah as stated in 1 Chronicles 2:4.

There are positive things we see from the life of Judah. However from his shortfalls we learn the importance of keeping the promises we make. Failure to keep our promises has the potential of leading us into trouble as it happened in the case of Tamar because Judah did not keep his word.

Chapter 5: Perez

Perez means breach, rupture, breakthrough, bursting forth.

He was named so because of the events of his birth. In Genesis 38:27-29

now when the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb. And when she was in labor, one put out his hand, and the midwife took his hand and tied a scarlet thread on it, saying ‘this one was born first’. But he pulled back his hand, and his brother was born first. And she said, ‘what a breach you have made for yourself’. So he was named Perez”.

He was born a twin by Tamar who was impregnated by her father in law Judah. Tamar was married to Judah’s first son Er who died before he could have children. Then Judah instructed his second son to observe custom in accordance to levirate marriage however the son displeased God so he died also. Judah told Tamar to remain a widow and wait for his third son to mature. However Judah did not keep his promise. When Tamar realised this she came up with an unconventional plan, she disguised as a prostitute. Judah slept with her and out of that Perez and his twin Zerah were conceived.

The life of Perez illustrates that no matter how an individual is conceived, God is able to use such a person for a great purpose.

Perez had two sons Hezron and Hamul

Chapter 6: Hezron

The name Hezron has the following meanings, dart of joy, the division of a song, enclosed, surrounded by the wall.

He is the patriarch of the Hezronites. Numbers 26:6 & 21

of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites”.

One of the places belonging to the tribe of Judah was named after him.

He had five sons Jerahmeel, Ram also known as Aram , Chelubai also known as Caleb, Segub and Ashur. In 1 Chronicles 2:9, 21 & 24 says

the sons of Hezron who were born to him were Jerahmeel, Ram, Chelubai….now afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old, and she bore him Segub….after Hezron died in Caleb Ephrathah, Hezron’s wife Abijah bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa”.

Hezron died having not seen his youngest son Ashhur. This means that Hezron had an offspring who grew up fatherless. This teaches us that no one should condemn themselves by not having an earthly father because it is something beyond their control.

Chapter 7: Ram

Ram means high, elevated.

He is also known as Aram and Arni. He was the first son of Hezron.

Elihu, who reprimanded Job of the sin of self righteousness, may have been from Ram’s clan. In Job 32:2 it says

then the wrath of Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job, his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God”.

By extrapolating from his name it confers to us that in the lineage of our Saviour there were individuals who were in high positions and respected in their communities.

Ram had one son by the name of Amminadab.

Chapter 8: Amminadab

Amminadab means my people are generous, my kinsmen are noble, kindred of the prince.

He was born during the time Israel was in exile in Egypt and might have been part of those who were freed from captivity. He was the father-in-law to Aaron the brother of Moses. In Exodus 6:23 it says

Aaron took to himself Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahson, as wife, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar”.

As it was extrapolated from his father’s name, Amminadab’s name by its meaning confirms that he belonged to a family of people of high position.

His sons were Nahshon and Quenaz

Chapter 9: Nahshon

Nahshon means that foretells, that conjectures.

He was the leader of the army of Judah, in Numbers 2:3 it says

on the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies, and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be the leader of the children of Judah”.

He was the brother-in-law to Aaron and father-in-law to Rahab. He was amongst the Israelites that were set free from being slaves in Egypt. When the leaders of Israel came to give their offerings, after Moses had finished setting up a tabernacle, Nahshon was the first to present his offering. In Numbers 7:11-12 it says

For the Lord said to Moses, ‘they shall offer their offering, one leader each day, for the dedication of the altar. And the one who offered his offering on the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah.”

It is unfortunate that he died in the wilderness, which means he was part of those who rebelled against God thus did not qualify to enter Canaan. The event about those who were disqualified is narrated in Numbers 14.

Though he was a noble person his life story teaches us about the importance of obedience, and how disobedience can hinder us from experiencing God’s best plan for our lives.

Chapter 10: Salmon

Salmon also referred to as Salma means peaceable, perfect, he that rewards.

According to some commentaries, Salmon may have been one of the two unnamed spies that Joshua had sent to spy the land. In Joshua 2:1 it says

now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly saying, ‘go, view the land, especially Jericho’. So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there”.

Salmon got married to Rahab. Inter marriages were prohibited, the reason was to avoid forming a covenant with people that practiced idolatry. In the case of Rahab it is an exception because she had already acknowledged the God of the Israelites to be the true God. In Joshua 2:11 Rahab declared

the Lord your God, He is the God of heaven above, and on earth beneath”.

Rahab was instrumental in protecting the lives of the spies that were sent by Joshua. In Joshua 2:3-4 it says

so the king of Jericho sent to Rahab saying, ‘bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country’. Then the woman took the two men and hid them.”

Rahab made a deal with the spies because she had shown them sympathy. In Joshua 2:12-14 it says

now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. So the men answered her, ‘ our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you’.”

The spies agreed to Rahab’s request however there were terms and condition attached to the deal. Firstly she had to differentiate her house from others by hanging a scarlet cord. Secondly all her family members had to be in her house. Thirdly she was not to turn against the spies after they had left her house. This is outlined in Joshua 2:17-18 & 20

so the men said to her, ‘ we will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home…And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.”

As a result of Rahab’s bravery and faithfulness her family members were spared from being annihilated during the destruction of Jericho. It is evident that the spies gave a report to Joshua about the deal they had made with Rahab. In Joshua 6:22-23 it says

but Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, ‘ go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her’. And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.”

Rahab is a true example of the grace of God. She did not qualify to be counted amongst the family line of Jesus Christ because her background is from those who worshipped idols but she chose to put her trust in the one true God by siding with the Israelites. Neither did she qualify to be counted amongst the heroes of faith yet her name is recorded for eternity because of the faith she displayed. In Hebrews 11:31 says

by faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”

The story of Salmon and Rahab teaches us the importance of seizing the moment. Rahab maximised the opportunity she was granted when the spies came into their city. Her wise actions led to her deliverance and those of her family members, and now she has a great legacy.

Chapter 11: Boaz

Boaz means strength, power, quickness, swift.

Ruth means friend, companion, satisfied.

Boaz is an example of a generous person, he was not selfish with his wealth. When Boaz went to monitor the harvest season, he happened to take notice of Ruth. After he found out details about her, he instructed his workers to treat her kindly. In Ruth 2:15 it says

Boaz commanded his young men saying, ‘ let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.”

He is also a man of integrity, when Ruth asked him to be her kinsman redeemer in accordance to custom, he told her about the existence of a closer relative than him. In Ruth 3:12 it says

now it is true that I am a close relative, however there is a relative closer than I. Stay the night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of close relative for you—-good, let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for, as the Lord lives!”

Boaz approached the close relative and informed him about the kinsman redeeming that was due. The relative indicated that he could not redeem it for himself and gave his consent for Boaz to be the kinsman redeemer. In Ruth 4:8 it says

therefore the close relative said to Boaz, ‘ buy it yourself’.”

After Boaz had performed all that was required by their custom, he took Ruth to be his wife.

Ruth was born a Moabite but at the time of her first marriage to Mahlon, by marrying into a Hebrew family she followed their God. After her husband died, Ruth left her homeland to go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to take care of her. So they moved from Moab to Bethlehem. In Ruth 1:16 it says

but Ruth said: ‘entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”

This compromise that Ruth had made to live her homeland is one of the things that made Boaz to look at her with favour. In Ruth 2:11 it says

and Boaz answered and said to her, ‘it has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.”

Ruth was also good at listening to instruction, she did what she was told both by Boaz and Naomi. In Ruth 2: 8 it says

then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘you will listen my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.”

Ruth did as she was instructed by Boaz, in Ruth 2:23 it says

so she stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest.”

When Naomi discovered that Ruth had been gleaning on Boaz’s field, she gave her an instruction and Ruth’s response was positive.. in Ruth 3:5-6 it says

and she said to her, ‘ all that you say to me I will do. So she went to the threshing floor and did according to all her mother-in-law instructed her.”

The love story of Boaz and Ruth is an encouragement for those who became widows at a young age like Ruth, also for those in advanced age who are in need of companionship like Boaz.

Chapter 12:Obed

Obed means serving, worshipper.

Obed was the biological son of Boaz and Ruth. However in accordance to custom, the first son that was born from a marriage that resulted from the kinsman redeemer arrangement became an heir of the deceased. Obed became an heir of Mahlon, Naomi’s son who was married to Ruth. This was also stipulated by Boaz, in Ruth 4:10

moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate.”

This means that Naomi’s family line was restored even though she no longer had sons that were alive, hence Obed is referred to as her son. In Ruth 4:17 it says

Also the neighbour gave him a name, saying, ‘there is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed.”

The story of Obed teaches us that God has ways of restoring our lives even in situations where it may seem impossible. He was an offspring of a couple that was unconventional, his mother had been a widow at an early age and his biological father was advanced in age, but God turned their lives around by showing favour to both of them. Also when it seemed as though Naomi would not have a successor, God restored her lineage. Obed became the father of Jesse.

Chapter 13: Jesse

Jesse has the following meanings God exists, gift, firm, wealthy.

He was a man of wealth, a man of high position in his community of Bethlehem, a sheep breeder and a farmer. There was a prophecy given about him in Isaiah 11:1&10 where it was said

there shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots…and in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people, for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”

He had eight sons, David was the youngest. One day God sent a prophet to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as a king. In 1 Samuel 16:1 God instructed prophet Samuel and said

fill your horn with oil, and go, I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided for Myself a king among his sons.”

When the prophet got there, he deliberated with the elders of the town then invited Jesse and his sons to a feast. In 1 Samuel 16:5 it says

and he said, ‘peaceably I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice’. Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to a sacrifice.”

Before the feast could commence Jesse and his sons underwent a process of being consecrated by the prophet, with an exception of David. It was only when the prophet asked if there was no other son that Jesse presented David to the prophet.

There are many views on why Jesse did not include David, however the Scriptures did not specify. What is important is that God’s plan was fulfilled.

From the story of Jesse we learn how vital it is for parents not to exclude any of their children in family activities.

Chapter 14: David

David means beloved.

He started off as a shepherd boy, taking care of his father’s flock. He was a creative person, he was a skilful musician and most of the psalms were written by him. He was a worshipper, a man after God’s own heart. In Acts 13:22 it says

I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

In his teens he was anointed king but he did not take the kingship immediately, he went back to being a shepherd however the Spirit of the Lord was upon him from the day he was anointed as king. In 1 Samuel 16:13 it says

then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”

When he was thirty years he took the seat of kingship, firstly in Judah. In 2 Samuel 2:4 says

then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.”

When he turned thirty seven and half he was anointed king of Israel as well. In 2 Samuel 5:3 says

therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king in Hebron, and king David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel.”

His reign is specified in 2 Samuel 5:4-5 where it says

David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty three years over all Israel and Judah.”

He was a man of patience and perseverance, he waited a long time before he could ascend the seat of power. He suffered from a long term affliction under the hand of king Saul. David became popular thus this made king Saul jealous and he started to hate David. The king plotted to kill David, in his first attempt Jonathan the son of king Saul was the one who warned David of his father’s intentions. In 1 Samuel 19:2 it says

so Jonathan told David saying, ‘my father Saul seeks to kill you.”

In the second attempt David’s wife Michal the daughter of the king was the one who warned him of her father’s intentions. In 1 Samuel 19:11 it says

Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, ‘if you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed. So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped.”

David escaped from king Saul and was subjected to live as a wanderer going from place to place. As he was going from place to place, there were those who recognised David’s leadership so they went to join him in the wilderness. In 1 Samuel 22:1-2 it says

David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adulam. So when his brothers and his entire father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were four hundred men with him.”

The number of his followers increased because by the time he pursued the Amalekites who had raided his home, in Ziklag there were six hundred men. In 1 Samuel 30:9 it says

so David went, he and the six hundred men who were with him.”

He was a merciful person, he spared king Saul’s life twice despite the fact that the king was persecuting him. The events are narrated in 1 Samuel 24 & 26.

He was a man of war, a mighty warrior, he defeated the most feared enemy by the name of Goliath. King Saul and all Israel were afraid of Goliath because he was a giant, nine feet and nine inches tall. For forty days and nights Goliath would call out for a man to come challenge him but none had the guts to go fight him. Things changed the day David visited the camp and heard Goliath defying the army of Israel. David was courageous, he decided to fight Goliath even though no one thought he had the ability to do so. In 1 Samuel 17:33&36-37 it says

and Saul said to David, ‘you are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are youth, and he a man of war from his youth’…moreover David said, ‘ The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’. And Saul said to David, ‘go, and the Lord be with you.”

David proved himself to be a mighty warrior when everyone else doubted him, in their presence he defeated Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:50 it says

so David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.”

When his home was attacked whilst he was living in Ziklag, he pursued the enemy until he recovered all that belonged to him. However it was not an easy period for him because his subjects turned against him, to a point they wanted to kill him, but he found refuge in the Lord. In 1 Samuel 30:6 it says

now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

In his time of distress he did not blame God for his situation rather he turned to God to seek a solution. In 1 Samuel 30:8 it says

so David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘ shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ and He answered him, ‘ pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

It happened exactly the way the Lord had said. In 1 Samuel 30:19 says

and nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them, David recovered all.”

His ascent to power was not without struggle. After having been persecuted for years by king Saul, when his time finally came to take the throne after king Saul had died, he encountered another challenge. The kingdom which he was supposed to rule was divided, his kingship was contested firstly by Abner. When the men of Judah anointed David as their king, Abner who was the commander of Saul’s army, decided to appoint Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, to be king of Israel instead of David. 2 Samuel 2:8 says

but Abner the son of Ner, commander of Sauls’s army, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim, and he made him king over Gilead, over the Ashurites, over Jezreel, over Ephraim, over Benjamin, and over all Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David.”

The second contestation of his kingship was by his own son Absalom who plotted to dethrone him. In 2 Samuel 15:10 it says

then Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, ‘Absalom reigns in Hebron’.”

His plan was so well orchestrated that it made David to flee from his palace. The fight between Absalom’s men and David’s men left twenty thousand dead, and Absalom also was killed. David was restored as king.

The third person who rebelled against David’s kingship is Sheba, he didn’t want David to be restored back into his position after Absalom had died. In 2 Samuel 20:2 it says

so every man of Israel deserted David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri. But the men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king.”

Just like Absalom, Sheba died a violent death for contesting David’s kingship.

David’s weakness was women. His lust for a woman turned him into a murderer, he killed a man because he wanted that man’s wife. The story is narrated in 2 Samuel 11.

According to the recorded names in Scripture, David had nineteen sons. He died at the age of seventy.

There are many things we can learn from the story of David. One vital lesson to derive from his life is the importance of having a close relationship with God. Strong faith helps us to be victorious when people treat us unfairly and it also enable us to overcome the challenges of life.

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Solomon until Captivity in Babylon

Chapter 16: Solomon

The name Solomon has the following meanings peaceful, perfect, one who recompenses.

He was chosen by his father David to be his successor. In 1 Chronicles 23:1 and 1 Kings 1:34-35 respectively says

so when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.”

there let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel, and blow the horn and say, ‘long live king Solomon’. Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”

David chose Solomon in obedience to God, in 1 Chronicles 28:5 it says

and of all my sons( for the Lord has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.”

Solomon became the third king of Israel. His ascent to power was not without contention. His brother Adonijah assumed that he was going to be the one to be David’s successor. He started putting together a team in preparation for his kingship. This conspiracy by Adonijah caused factions in the kingdom thus propelled his father David to intervene and inaugurate another king whilst he was still alive. The events are narrated in 1 Kings 1

As part of the succession plan David gave instruction to Solomon. He gave him the mandate to deal shrewdly with those who had conspired against his kingship, and secondly to build the temple. David had a desire to build a temple of the Lord but the Lord denied him permission hence David left it to be done by his successor. In 1 Chronicles 28:2-3&6 it says

then king David rose to his feet and said, ‘ hear me, my brethren and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, you shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood’….now He said to me, ‘ it is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts, for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father.

Solomon took seven years to complete the temple. In 1 Kings 6:37-38 it says

in the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.”

The project team that built the temple consisted of 183 300 people, the team is specified in 1 kings 5:13-18.

Solomon’s reign was different from his father’s, he was not a man of war but a man of peace. In his duration of reigning he was renowned for his wisdom which he received supernaturally in a dream when God told him to ask for anything. In response to his request, in 1 Kings 3:12-14 God gave him these promises

behold, I have done according to your words, see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. and I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings of all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.’

In 1 Kings 4:29-30 it says

and God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.

People in leadership positions from various nations came to him for advice. In 1 Kings 10:24 it says

now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.’

He had three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs, as stipulated in 1 Kings 4:32.

He was also a man of great wealth, in 1 Kings 10:23 it says

so king Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.”

His weakness was similar to his father’s except that his was extreme, he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. As part of forming association with neighbouring nations he took a wife in those nations to cement the alliances. In 1 Kings 11:1 says

king Solomon loved many foreign women.”

Most of these nations were those which God had forbidden Israel to intermarry with. Unfortunately by disobeying God, a door was opened for his downfall. Firstly, his wives influenced him into idolatry. In 1 Kings 11:4 it says

when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God.”

Secondly, his intermarriages led to the withdrawal of full kingship in his lineage, they were only left with one tribe because of the covenant God had made with David. In 1 Kings 11:11-13 says

therefore the Lord said to Solomon, ‘ because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David, I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom, I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.

Thirdly his successor suffered the consequences of his disobedience. In Kings 11:35-36 it says

“[_ but I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you- ten tribes. And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.” _]

Fourthly his reign stopped being peaceful and started having adversaries. In 1 Kings 11:14 & 23 respectively it says

now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, he was a descendant of the king of Edom”

and God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah…he was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon(besides the trouble that Hadad caused), and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.”

His reign was for forty years, the same duration as his father, however it didn’t end well as compared to that of his father David. His reign was marred by heavy taxes, forced labour, unjust discrimination.

What is odd is that with so many wives and concubines yet scripture only mentions one son.

Solomon’s story shows how ones legacy can be tarnished as a result of disobedience. There is a saying that says ‘it’s not how you begin but rather how you end’. It teaches us to be vigilant and not allow anything to deviate us from the word of God.

Chapter 17: Rehoboam

The name Rehoboam has the following meanings, who sets the people at liberty, enlarger of the people.

He is the son of Solomon and Naamah, the Ammonite princess. He was forty one years when he became king, his coronation took place at Shechem and he reigned for seventeen years. This is recorded in 2 Chronicles 12:13.

His reign was a time when a united Israel came to an end, Israel and Judah separated and became hostile to each other. His downfall was as a result of listening to wrong counsel given by his peers, he ignored the counsel given to him by the elders. His conceited and undermining attitude worked against him. The people chose to dethrone him, however this was also the fulfilment of what God had said to Solomon regarding the tearing down of the kingdom. In 1 Kings 12:13-15 says

then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying ‘ my father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke, my father chastised you with whips but I will chastise you with scourges!’ so the king did not listen to the people, for the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfil His word.”

Under his reign, the palace and temple built by Solomon in obedience to David were plundered of all their treasures. In 2 Chronicles 12:9 and 1 Kings 14:25-26 it says

so Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, he took everything. He also carried away the gold shields which Solomon had made.”

Furthermore, under his leadership Judah sank into moral and spiritual decay because he did evil and allowed altars to be built which belonged to foreign gods. In 2 Chronicles 12:1&14 and 1 Kings 14:22-24 respectively says

now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him… and he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord.”

now Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.”

He had eighteen wives, sixty concubines, twenty eight sons and sixty daughters.

His story shows us how important it is for the youth not to undermine the counsel of the elders. The generation gap should not create a wall, there should be open and frank communication between the elders and the youth.

Chapter 18: Abijah

Abijah means the Lord is my father.

He is also called Abijam.

It is unfortunate that he did not live up to his name. In 1 Kings 15: 3 he is described the following

he committed all the sins his father had done before him, his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.”

He reigned for three years. Even though it was a short reign however he defeated Judah’s longest enemy Jeroboam. When Judah and Israel battled against each other, Judah had four hundred thousand soldiers whereas Israel had eight hundred soldiers. Even though the army of Israel was double the size of Judah, the Lord enabled Judah to be victorious through a supernatural act. Israel had surrounded Judah both in the rear and front, it seemed as though there was no way out for Judah yet the Lord delivered them. In 2 Chronicles 13:14-15 it says

and when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear, and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout, and the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all of Israel before Abijah and Judah.”

Jeroboam and Israel were defeated because they were warned that to fight Judah was fighting God directly, yet they ignored the warning. In 2 Chronicles 13:12 it says

now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper.”

The victory of Abijah was not because he was righteous, it was as a result of the covenant that God made with David. God can be trusted to keep His promises, in 2 Timothy 2:13 it says

if we are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself.”

Abijah was married to fourteen wives, had twenty two sons and sixteen daughters.

His story teaches us that when we win we should not assume that it is because we are righteous but rather because of the faithfulness of God. The victory of Judah under the leadership of Abijah was not because he was righteous but because God was being true to the promise He made to David. In the new dispensation our victory is as a result of the blood of Jesus because He has paid the price for our sins.

Chapter 19: Asa

Asa means healer, cure, physician.

He lived up to his name, he became the healer of the land by uprooting all idol worship out of Judah. The altar of the Lord was restored because it had been desecrated by idolatrous priests. In 2 Chronicles 14:2-4 & 2 Chronicles 15:8 respectively says

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and observe the law and the commandment.”

and when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim, and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord.”

He was a bold ruler, he removed the queen mother due to her idolatrous ways. In 1 Kings 15:13 it says

he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron.”

His reign was peaceful for thirty five years. The Lord gave victory to Asa and his five hundred and eighty thousand army when they battled against Zerah and his army of a million men. In 2 Chronicles 14:11, whilst facing Zerah in battle Asa made this prayer to God,

Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power, help us, O Lord our God, do not let man prevail against You.”

It is unfortunate that his zeal faded as he advanced in age, he compromised the principles that God had given to Judah. The Lord had clearly given an instruction through prophet Azariah in 1 Chronicles 15:2 that said

hear me Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

When Asa faced his second adversary Baasha, he chose to make a treaty with the king of Syria instead of crying out to God the same way he had done earlier in his reign when he battled Zerah. In 2 Chronicles 16:2-3 and 1 Kings 15:19 the strategy that Asa opted for was to form political alliance

then Asa brought silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben Hadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying ‘ let there be a treaty between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. See, I have sent you silver and gold, come, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.”

His disobedience made him to be hostile to the prophet that rebuked him of his ways for trusting in man rather than God, instead of repenting he commanded that the prophet be put in prison. Secondly his disobedience brought an end to a time of peace.

In the latter part of his reign when he became sick, his heart was still hardened because he opted to seek help from physicians rather than from God. The physicians in his time operated in curses and magic, this means he opted for sorcerers instead of seeking God.

He reigned forty one years

His story teaches us not to get to a point where we think we know it all and have no need to seek God. The moment we take things into our own control and disregard God’s principles is the beginning of our downfall. He started off being bold and zealous but became weary along the way. Which is why the scriptures exhorts us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, it indicates that if we are not alert we might lose our zeal for the kingdom of God.

Chapter 20: Jehoshaphat

Jehoshaphat means the Lord is judge.

Jehoshaphat became king at the age of thirty five. He was a king that delighted God because he had great zeal for His commandments. As part of his reign he delegated the Levites to go into the cities to instruct people in the ways of the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 17:9 it says

so they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them, they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”

The favour of the Lord was upon him, he became powerful, a man of great riches and honor.

He formed alliance with Israel through marriage. His son Jehoram got married to Athaliah the daughter of Ahab.

He experienced divine protection, firstly was the time he went to battle in alliance with Ahab against Syria. In 2 Chronicles 18:31 it says

so it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, ‘it is the king of Israel!’ therefore they surrounded him to attack, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him.”

It was a case of mistaken identity because these people were actually looking for Ahab.

Secondly was when Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir ganged up against him. Under such immense pressure Jehoshaphat instructed that the whole of Judah go on a fast and seek the face of the Lord. During this day of national prayer, God gave them instructions through a prophet on how to handle their enemies, and this strategy brought them supernatural victory. In 2 Chronicles 20:22 it says

now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were defeated.”

His shortfall was forming allies with wicked people, firstly was when he joined Ahab to go to war at Ramoth Gilead, secondly was when he went into a business partnership with king Ahaziah who was not approved by God, so their business venture failed. Thirdly was when he went to fight Moab with Jehoram. These are narrated in 1 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, 2 Kings 3.

He reigned for twenty five years. His reign is described as having been the most prosperous in Judah. He had seven sons and left a great inheritance to them all, in 2 Chronicles 21:3 it says

their father gave them great gifts of silver and gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn.”

His story shows us the power of prayer and that there is a reward for trusting in God.

Chapter 21: Joram

Joram means elevated, Yahweh is exalted, whom Jehovah has exalted.

Also known as Jehoram

He was the firstborn son of Jehoshaphat, married to Athaliah the daughter of the evil couple Jezebel and Ahab. Joram began his reign at the age of thirty two. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father, he was ruthless. When he became king he destroyed what his father had worked hard to establish, and he killed all his brothers and other sons of the princes of Israel. He did evil in the sight of God and he led the people of Judah astray. He was influenced negatively by his wife, just as Jezebel had influenced Ahab to worship idols.

The only reason God allowed him to reign was due to the covenant that He had made with David. In 2 Kings 8:19 and 2 Chronicles 21:7 respectively says

the Lord would not destroy Judah, for the sake of His servant David, as He promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.”

the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.”

The consequence of his evil ways firstly led him to be struck by an incurable disease which resulted in him dying a painful death. Secondly during his reign Edom revolted against Judah’s authority. Thirdly Judah was invaded by the Philistines and Arabians, they took all the kings possessions, his wives and sons except for the youngest son by the name of Jehoahaz.

The people reviled him so much that they did not give him a proper monarch burial. In 2 Chronicles 21:20 it says

he was thirty two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem for eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”

His story teaches us that when we are in positions of authority we should not mistreat people. Secondly to keep company with people of good character, his evil deeds was as a result of receiving counsel from evil people. Thirdly it shows us the danger of low self esteem, he killed his siblings as a result of not being confident in himself, he thought they might take his position.

Chapter 22: Uzziah

Uzziah means strength of the Lord.

Also known as Azariah.

The people appointed him king over them at the age of sixteen instead of his father who had been killed. His father was Amaziah and his mother was Jecoliah. Uzziah was God-fearing and faithful to the ways of the Lord in the initial part of his reign.

He was a great man of war, the Lord enabled him to be victorious and he became well known. His reign was innovative and industrious, in 2 Chronicles 26:15 it says

he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skilful men.”

He reigned for fifty two years, his reign is described as having been similar to that of Solomon and Jehoshaphat, a time that was prosperous.

His shortfall was when he succumbed to pride and undermined the authority of the priests. The consequence of not following the protocol of God led to him being struck by leprosy. In 2 Chronicles 26:18-19 says

and they withstood king Uzziah, and said to him, ‘ it is not for you Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.’ then Uzziah became furious, and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar.”

In the latter part of his reign, he lived in isolation and was cut off from the house of the Lord because of leprosy. Uzziah was a leper until the time of his death.

His story shows us the danger of pride and undermining other people. In Uzziah’s case he lost honor and finished his life being an outcast because of pride and not adhering to the ways of God.

Chapter 23: Jotham

Jotham means Jehovah is perfect, Jehovah is upright, God is honest.

He was the son of Uzziah and Jerushah. As a result of his father being struck by leprosy, Jotham at the age of twenty five became responsible for royal duties. He took over the administration of his father’s kingdom since his father was not allowed to interact with people. He officially became king after his father’s death. He was Judah’s eleventh ruler.

He was faithful to God and served the people well. He learnt from the good part of his father and refrained from repeating his father’s mistake. In 2 Chronicles 27:2 it says

he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all his father Uzziah had done(although he did not enter the temple of the Lord).”

By saying he did not enter the temple does not mean he did not worship but rather it means that he acknowledged what had wrecked his father’s life.

He developed the infrastructure, in 2 Chronicles 27:3-4 it says

he built the Upper Gate of the house of the Lord, and he built extensively on the wall of Ophel. Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built fortresses and towers.”

He was also a great warrior, he defeated the Ammonites and they were subjected to paying him annual tribute for three consecutive years.

The downside of his reign is that he did not remove the high places that were used to sacrifice to false gods so the people continued in their idolatrous ways.

He reigned sixteen years.

His story teaches us the importance of applying wisdom and learning from other people. People make mistakes so our role is to refrain from repeating them. But that does not mean we disregard the good that they have done. We can learn from both the negative and positive actions of others.

Chapter 24:Ahaz

Ahaz means has held, it is an abbreviation of Jehoahaz which means Yahweh has held.

He became king at the age of twenty. He did not follow his father’s example instead he neglected worshipping God and served false gods.

As a result of his disobedience, when they went to war their enemies defeated them. In one day one hundred and twenty thousand people were killed in Judah, they lost possessions, and two hundred thousand women and children were taken into captivity. In 2 Chronicles 28:19 says

the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord.”

The Lord showed compassion to the captives and sent a prophet to go instruct their captors to let them go. In 2 Chronicles 28:11 the prophet commanded the captors as follows

look because the Lord God of your fathers was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven. And now you propose to force the children of Judah and Jerusalem to be your male and female slaves, but are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? Now hear me, therefore and return the captives, whom you have taken captive from your brethren, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”

Ahaz’s apostasy was so extreme that even what had happened when people were taken captive did not lead to his repentance. He continued in his idolatrous ways, he even sacrificed his own son making him walk in the fire. He also built altars for other gods in every city of Judah. He copied an altar he saw in Damascus and erected it in Jerusalem replacing the one that was built according to God’s pattern.

When he was under siege, he opted to form political alliance. So he took treasuries from the temple of the Lord and the palace and sent them to king of Assyria requesting for his help. His focus was on pleasing the king of Assyria instead of pleasing God. However with all that he had done trying to win over the king of Assyria still he did not come to his rescue. In 2 Chronicles 28:21 it says

Ahaz took part of the treasures from the house of the Lord, from the house of the king, and from the leaders, and he gave it to the king of Assyria, but he did not help him.”

He did not regard his defeat to be as a result of him disobeying God, he reasoned that the god of Assyria was mightier than that of Israel. In 2 Chronicles 28:23 says

for he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him saying, ‘because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.’ But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.”

He reigned same duration as his father, sixteen years. Unlike his father though, he was not given a kingly burial. In 2 Chronicles 28:27 says

Ahaz rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel.”

His story teaches us not to misplace our trust. Ahaz trusted in the king of Assyria yet he failed him because he did not come to his rescue when he was in need.

Chapter 25: Hezekiah

Hezekiah means whom Jehovah has strengthened, strength of the Lord.

He was the son of Ahaz and Abi also known as Abijah, he became king at the age of twenty five.

His name became manifest because it is evidenced in his reign that he was a man who had the strength of the Lord. A great reform took place under his leadership, in the first year of his reign he purged the nation of all altars of idolatry that his father had established throughout Judah. His priority was to restore the place of worship in accordance to God’s pattern. He destroyed the bronze serpent that Moses had made because people had started worshipping it, they even gave it a name. He gave an order that only Yahweh shall be worshiped in Jerusalem. He had a deep trust in God, 2 Kings 18:5 says

he trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.”

The king of Assyria took Israel into captivity so when they came to do the same against Judah, Hezekiah pleaded with Sennacherib king of Assyria to refrain from invading their territory. He negotiated that Sennacherib give him an amount to pay. The amount imposed by Sennacherib caused Hezekiah to take silver that was found in the Lord’s temple and the palace, he even had to strip the gold on the doors and pillars of the temple of the Lord. However Sennacherib was insatiable he came the second time, he wanted Hezekiah to give him another pledge but this time around he also insulted God. Sennacherib threatened the people of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 32:17 it says

he also wrote letters to revile the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him saying, ‘ as the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand.”

So Hezekiah sought the face of the Lord, he firstly went to the temple of the Lord and secondly he sent messengers to prophet Isaiah to seek the Lord’s counsel. In the face of trouble Hezekiah showed great leadership by encouraging his people, in 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 he said to them

be strong and courageous, do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him, for the are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”

Hezekiah’s prayer for deliverance was answered and the Lord saved Jerusalem from Sennacherib in a supernatural way. The Lord went into the enemy’s camp and killed one hundred and eighty five thousand people. When Sennacherib saw what had happened he departed back to his home, it was in his own home that two of his sons killed him. This victory over Sennacherib made Hezekiah to gain great respect from all nations and many brought him great presents. All these are narrated in 2 kings18-19 and 2 Chronicles 32.

Hezekiah became sick and a word of prophecy came to inform him that he should put his house in order because he was going to die. His response to the prophecy was not anger but rather he appealed his case with God in prayer. The Lord heeded his prayer, he sent the same prophet who had told him he would die to let him know that he will live. It is not surprising that Hezekiah had some form of doubt which is why he asked for a sign that what prophet Isaiah had said regarding his healing was going to come to pass. In 2 Kings 20:9-11 it says

then Isaiah said, ‘this is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which He had spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go backward ten degrees?’ and Hezekiah answered, ‘it is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees, no, let the shadow go backward ten degrees.’ So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward.”

Hezekiah recovered from his sickness and the Lord added an extra fifteen years to his life.

He reigned twenty nine years.

His story teaches us not to lose hope no matter how dismal things may seem. In the midst of receiving troubling news, Hezekiah chose to be hopeful and sought a solution through prayer.

Chapter 26: Manasseh

Mannaseh forgetfulness, he that is forgotten, causing to forget.

He was the only son of Hezekiah and his mother was Hephzibah, he began to reign at the age of twelve. Unfortunately he did not follow into his father’s example but rather reverted back into idolatry. His name became manifest because it is evident by his conduct that he had forgotten the repercussions of prior kings who disobeyed God. In 2 Chronicles 33:9 it says

so Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.

Anyone who went against him was murdered, in 2 Kings 21:16 it says

moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.”

The Lord informed Manasseh of his dissatisfaction by sending various prophets who served in the time of his reign. As a result of being resistant to God’s warning, he was taken captive to Babylon in a hostile manner. The assault and cruelty he experienced when he was taken captive led to his repentance. He cried out to God and received mercy, he was restored back to his kingdom. He quit his idolatrous ways and encouraged the people to worship Jehovah. In 2 Chronicles 33:15-16 it says

He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he cast them out of the city, he also repaired of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

Even though Hezekiah received mercy from God, his disobedience had repercussions for Judah’s future generations. This we see in 2 Kings 24:3 during the reign of Jehoiakim where it says

surely at the commandment of the Lord this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done.”

Also in Jeremiah 15:4 it say

I will hand them over to trouble, to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.”

He reigned fifty five years, the longest among all the kings of Judah. However he was not buried in a way befitting a king, instead of being laid to rest in the city of David, he was buried in his house at the garden of Uzza.

His story teaches us that we should choose God’s ways because going against His ways leads to pain and hurt. Also it teaches us that our actions have repercussions on future generations..

Chapter 27: Amon

The name Amon has the following meanings faithful, true, builder.

Amon was the son of Manasseh and Meshullemeth. He is the fourteenth king of Judah, he was twenty two years when he began to reign. Unfortunately he did not live up to his name because he practised idolatry which led to moral decay during his reign. Instead of being true, faithful and building the nation he led it astray.

He reigned for only two years. He died in his youth, he was killed by his servants in his own house. In 2 Kings 21:23 & 2 Chronicles 33:24 it says

then his servants conspired against him, and killed him in his own house.”

The people of Judah also put to death those who plotted Amon’s demise.

As young as he was he already had a son who became his successor.

His story teaches us that even though we may be unhappy with those in government and other leadership roles, plotting against them is not the best solution as it has negative consequences. Vengeance belongs to God. Amon’s servants thought they were helping the nation but their solution was wrong hence they were also put death.

Chapter 28:Josiah

The name Josiah has the following meanings, healed by Jehovah, Jehovah will support, the fire of the Lord.

He was the son of Amon and Jedidah, he became king at the age of eight, after his father Amon was assassinated at the age of twenty four.

Unlike his father, Josiah was very loyal to Jehovah. At the age of sixteen he began to sincerely seek the Lord God. When he was twenty years he was directly involved in the team that purged the nation of all things that represented idolatry. In 2 Chronicles 34:2 & 2 Kings 22:2 it says

he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David, he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”

After Judah and Jerusalem had been purged of all idolatry, which took him a duration of approximately six years, Josiah commanded that the house of the Lord be repaired. This was a huge project as the temple had become dilapidated as a result of the neglect from previous kings who were not loyal to the God of Israel. Whilst in the process of repairing the temple, one of the priest by the name of Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law of the Lord. After the book was read to Josiah, he was alarmed by what was revealed, so he sent a team to go enquire the way forward from the prophet of God. Josiah was assured through the words from prophetess Huldah, that even though God was angry at Judah, the calamity written in the book would not take place during his reign because he humbled himself before God.

As part of his leadership he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to all the people, he made a covenant to follow the Lord wholeheartedly in front of the people, and instructed them to also take a stand to diligently serve the God of Israel. After the repair of the temple of the Lord, Josiah also reintroduced the celebration of the Passover in his eighteenth year of reign. In 2 Chronicles 35:18 it says

there had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet, and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept.”

2 Kings 23:25 says

now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor after him did any arise like him.”

His downfall came because he meddled in a war that was not directed to him. Necho king of Egypt sent a message to him saying

what have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war, for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest he destroy you.”

Josiah ignored the warning, went to battle and as a result of that he died. His death led to a national mourning, he was greatly loved in Judah and Jerusalem.

He reigned for thirty one years.

His story teaches us to learn to choose our battles wisely. Just because there is a fight around you doesn’t mean you need to get involved. When someone starts an argument it does not mean you have to argue back.

Chapter 29: Jeconiah

The name Jeconiah has the following meanings stability, preparation, whom Jehovah establishes.

Also known as Jehoiachin which means Jehovah will uphold.

He was the son of Jehoakim and Nehushta, he became king at the age of eight. He was the nineteenth king of Judah and only reigned three months and ten days before he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar.

He did not live up to his name because instead of stability and being established, Jeconiah, his mother, wives, officers, and all the valiant men were taken into captivity. The temple of the Lord and the palace were plundered of all their possessions. Only the poorest people of the land were left behind.

Jeconiah was held as a prisoner for thirty seven years. He found favour when a new king came into position in Babylon and was released from prison. However he continued to reside in Babylon, being one of those who ate at the king’s table. In 2 Kings 25:29 and Jeremiah 52:33 says

Jehoachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.

He died there in Babylon.

His story teaches that one can find favour even in unfavourable circumstances. After many decades of hardship he finally got a breakthrough, he was able to eat at the kings table even though they were still in the land of captivity.

Chapter 30: Shealtiel

Shealtiel means asked of God.

Also known as Salathiel

He was the son of Jeconiah. He is included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ however no personal details are given except who his father was and who his son was.

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Zerubbabel from Captivity to Jesus Christ

Chapter 31: Zerubbabel

The name Zerubbabel has the following meanings, a seed of Babylon, stranger at Babylon, dispersion of confusion.

Also known as Sheshbazzar.

He was the leader of the first group that returned from Babylon, they totalled forty two thousand three hundred and sixty. When he arrived in Jerusalem his priority was to build the temple of the Lord. This may have been a priority because the first temple built by Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians, in 2 Kings 25:8-9 it says

Nebuzarad the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house, all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire.”

The first part he partook in was to build an altar where they could present their offerings. He might have opted for this strategy taking into consideration that the building of the temple was going to be lengthy. In Ezra 3:1-2 it says

and when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubabbel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.”

As much as Zerubbabel had zeal to build the house of the Lord they unfortunately met up with resistance during the building project. In Ezra 4:4-5 it says

the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose.”

It was a challenging time for Zerubbabel and as such he needed encouragement along the way. In the midst of this adversity God sent him prophet Haggai and Zechariah. In Haggai 2:21-23 it says

speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah saying, ‘ I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them, the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by sword of his brother. In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,’ I will take you Zerubabbel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord, ‘and will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you’, says the Lord of hosts.

In Zechariah 4:6-10 prophet Zechariah was given a message to convey to Zerubbabel. The prophecy went as follows

this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘ who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’ moreover the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘ the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple, his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. for who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

According to historians, it is estimated that the timeline for building the temple was between sixteen and seventeen years. The building project began during the time of Cyrus king of Persia and finished during the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ultimately the building project was successful because God was on their side, and it was a time of great celebration when they completed. Upon completion Zerubbabel restored the priests and Levite system. In Ezra 6:18 says

they assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.”

His story teaches us to finish what we begin no matter how long it takes. There may be obstacles along the way however they should not divert one from pursuing their vision.

Chapter 32: Abiud to Jacob

From Abiud to Jacob there is not much information about their lives. In the Bible they are only mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

With the nine names before Joseph the father of Jesus, I will therefore only be giving the meaning of their names, and make mention of second names for those who had them.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Abiud

His name has the following meanings father of praise, my father is majesty, Father of renown.

Also known as Abihud. He is supposed to have been the grandson of Zerubabbel through his daughter Shelomith.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Eliakim

His name means resurrection of God, raised up by God.

He is said to be same as Shechaniah who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:21.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Azor

His name means helper, or a court.

He is supposed to be the same as Azrikam who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:23.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Zadok

His name means righteous, just, justified.

Also called Sadoc.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Achim

His name means preparing, confirming.

Also called Jachin which means the Lord will establish.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Eliud

His name means God is my praise.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Eleazar

His name means God is helper.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Matthan

His name means gift.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Jacob

His name means supplanter.

Chapter 33: Joseph

Joseph means increase, addition.

He lived in Nazareth, the town of Bethlehem and was a carpenter by profession. He is described as having been a just man. He had the privilege of hearing directly from God through dreams. The first dream was when he discovered that Mary was pregnant, he intended to break off his marriage to her but Joseph had a change of heart because he had a visitation from the Lord. His encounter with the Lord through a dream led to him being the adoptive father of Jesus Christ. God made Joseph not to be excluded, He involved him by revealing the name he was to give to the child.

Matthew 1:20-21 says

but while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

The second dream that Joseph had was when there was impending danger and the Lord alerted him. Joseph did not hesitate but rather acted swiftly to ensure the safety of Mary and the child. In Matthew 2:13-14 it says

an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word, for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.”

The third dream was when he was instructed to move back home. In Matthew 2:19-21 it says

now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt saying, ‘ arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came to the land of Israel.”

It is evident that Joseph was a God fearing man, the type of man who was quick to obey the instructions of God. He was devoted in keeping the custom of the law. Firstly, he ensured that Jesus was dedicated to the Lord, according to Jewish custom. In Luke 2: 22-24 it says

they brought Him to the Lord(as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord.”

Secondly, he ensured that his family was part of the pilgrimage that went to Jerusalem annually to partake in the feast. In Luke 2:41 it says

his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.”

His story teaches us that it is possible to unconditionally love a child that is not biologically yours.

Summary

Things we learn from the genealogy of Jesus:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We learn that the choice of His ancestors was of grace and not of merit. It is evident as we look deeply into their lives that the majority of them did not qualify. The same applies to our salvation we receive it by grace and not by works.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The church is God’s family. Jesus’ diverse family tree teaches us to accept each other in the church and not to measure one another in terms of our personal or family backgrounds.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. It teaches us that whatever challenge we come across in life someone has encountered it previously. We should take courage in knowing that no one is excluded to challenges even the forefathers of Jesus went through life challenges yet they prevailed.

Encouraging testimonies from the genealogy of Jesus:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person struggling in getting children, be encouraged and trust in the Lord for He will make a way in due season. Abraham and Isaac also went through the difficulty of starting a family. Abraham got Isaac twenty five years from the time God had given him the promise. Isaac got his children after twenty years of being married to Rebekah.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who has observed favouritism in their family, remember that Jacob also grew up with his father showing preference to his brother Esau. However the purpose of God(heavenly Father) still triumphed in Jacob’s life no matter the actions of his imperfect earthly father.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who has been manipulating their way to get things to be done to favour them, know it’s not too late to change because God is able to transform you. God turned Jacob from being a trickster to being a person through whom the tribes of Israel were established.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person whose family is undergoing a time of lack, be encouraged because it’s only a season and it’s bound to pass. The most important thing is to support each other as a family like Jacob and his sons did.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who may have had strained relationship with their siblings, be encouraged to seek reconciliation like it happened with the sons of Jacob when they reconciled with Joseph.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who is born into a family set up that is unconventional, remember that Perez was also born into such a family. It should be immaterial how one landed on planet earth, what should matter is to discover the purpose of God for your life and pursue it.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who is fatherless, Ashur son of Hezron went through the same thing. His father died before he was born.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who comes from a family tree of people who might have been promiscuous, don’t despair, it’s not about how you start but rather how you finish. Rahab started off as a harlot but ended up as a great grandmother of Jesus Christ.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. To a person who has felt excluded in their family, let them take courage in the fact that David was excluded by his father yet the purpose of God for his life prevailed.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. No matter how far away one may have gone against God’s principles, there’s always room for repentance. Just like Manasseh who had done great evil in the eyes of God yet received mercy when he repented, God is willing to accept every person who seek Him.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. We see in the lineage of Jesus that there were people who nothing much was mentioned about them in the Bible, such as the nine names before Joseph. This means that they may have been ordinary people who were not in the spotlight or held high positions. This teaches us not to undermine our significance no matter how small it may seem.

Conclusion

It is wonderful to discover that the lineage of Jesus does not consist of Jews only but also include Gentiles. Rahab and Ruth are representatives of the fact that salvation is not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. So no one should reject the gift of salvation merely because Jesus when He became incarnate was born into a Jewish family. In simple terms, Jesus came for people from all nations no one is excluded.

The pen-ultimate lesson is that no one who goes against God’s ways ends up well. We see this being evident in those in this genealogy that their disobedience landed them in detrimental circumstances. Therefore we should learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them. let us apply wisdom and choose to live in accordance to the principles that God has given us through His word as recorded in the Bible.

Finally, let us learn to celebrate our diversity as the children of God and love each other.

References

www.biblehub.com

www.sharefaith.com

www.blueletterbible.org

www.gotquestions.org

www.behindthename.com

www.biblestudytools.com

www.complete-bible-genealogy.com

www.christianity.com

www.christiananswers.net


Diversity in Christ

This book is about the lineage of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the book firstly is to encourage us to be content with the family into which we were born. Jesus' lineage shows that there is no such a thing as a perfect family. Secondly this book aims to exhort us as the body of Christ (the church) to find beauty in our diversity and learn to accept each other instead of tolerating each other. To accept means you fully embrace that person with all their strengths and weaknesses. Whereas tolerance has conditions, you get along with the person on condition that they meet certain standard. Thirdly this book aims to show that no one is excluded, each person has a place in Jesus Christ.

  • ISBN: 9781370103751
  • Author: Tebogo
  • Published: 2017-03-07 17:35:18
  • Words: 17556
Diversity in Christ Diversity in Christ