This is an interesting passage of Scripture which details how Josiah, a young and Godly king, went forth to cleanse the land, and in doing so, finds that he was fulfilling a prophecy given years before. Josiah went forth doing what was right — and in doing so, was walking out the works that God preordained for him — he was fulfilling the calling that God had set into motion years before!
Over the past few weeks, rockets have been landing roughly 30 miles from where we live in southern Israel, and we've been overwhelmed with the number of emails from people who are praying for us– which we so appreciate!… more than you could imagine! We're living in a unique time in history, as once again Israel finds herself surrounded by enemies with few friends willing to stand with her. So often we are asked, and we wonder, how things will turn out here…we've found it's usually foolish to try and predict; but one thing is absolutely certain; the God of Israel is watching over this tiny nation!
One of His greatest promises to us is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. No tribulation or distress we might ever suffer can obliterate the power of His love to carry us through!
I suppose one of the hardest questions to answer is: "Why do I have to deal with so much adversity?!"
1 Chron. 20:4-8 And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi […]
As the threat of war looms on the horizon in Israel, I'm all the more reminded that we in the Body of Messiah are already at war spiritually. Constantly contending in our minds, we battle over thoughts and emotions which flow through them. The enemy often attacks by bringing up issues from our past. Failures, regrets, wounds, and traumas all have the potential to drag us down into doubt, darkness and despair. Our tremendous challenge is not to respond to these memories with old destructive thought patterns. Our victory lies in responding to these thoughts and feelings with the mind of Messiah as new creations in Him.
Epraphras is not a name you hear much of. He was a member of the church in Colosse, and obviously a dear saint in the Lord. We know that he suffered imprisonment with Paul at one time. But the thing that really impresses me about this saint is what Paul wrote about him– he always labored fervently in prayer!
When Ruth pledged her alligence to Naomi and to the God of Israel, it wasn't based on, "What ifs?" or circumstances. It was a faith rooted in her devotion to Naomi and God even to the point of death!
In Biblical Hebrew, the verb tenses are not like our "past", "present", and "future" – there are only two: "perfect" and "imperfect". The "imperfect" tense is that which is not yet, not done, or not completed. The "perfect" is that which is done, complete and finished.
This is a powerful passage which believers must claim! The Greek for the word "heaven", "oo-ran-os", implies not only heaven, but also eternity. The enemy was removed from the eternal places, and his power is only temporary in this world. Our power does not come from this temporary world, but from eternity, from the eternal throne of God.
As we continue our study of the Mighty Men of David, another quality is worth pointing out — they were not procrastinators. Notice that these men decided to cross the Jordan river when it was at flood stage! They didn't wait till the river receded, but rather, boldly crossed when it was the most dangerous!
When David was a fugitive from Saul, the men who followed him recognized his rightful place as King of Israel, and they developed a deep loyalty to him, this little band. As we read yesterday, these men were transformed from distress, debt, and discontentment [1 Sam. 22:1-2] into becoming mighty men of war. Having joined David, they quickly realized that they were joining a conflict.
When David was anointed king over Israel, he didn’t take his place at the throne immediately. He had to wait, and bide his time, until Saul was removed from power, before arriving at his destined place as King. Like His father David, Yeshua (Jesus) was received as Israel's king/messiah at the triumphal entry, (often called "Palm Sunday"), and then, "anointed" King of the Jews, ironically receiving His true title from the Romans, while hanging on a cross. But He is still waiting to reveal His identity as King on earth, during the Millenial reign when His kingdom will replace the kingdoms of this world at His second advent. [Rev. 11:15].
The story of the Exodus is a story of miracles – yet in the beginning when Moses first appeared before Pharaoh to deliver the children of Israel from 400 years of slavery, the Israelites were severely tempted and became angry because of the initial hardships that were laid upon them.
This scripture makes an astounding promise — God ALWAYS leads us to triumph or victory! But can we ALWAYS count on this amazing word to be true?
I ran across a profound story that shows what happens when the family structure breaks down — but this didn’t have to do with people — it had to do with elephants.
We have seen that names have significant meanings, and as discussed earlier, Elimelech, whose name means "My God is King", left Bethlehem with Naomi his wife and their two sons. The birth of these two boys must have brought joy and happiness, yet, having perished in Moab actually caused their very names to lose their original meanings.
During the Biblical festival of Shavuot, the book of Ruth is read. It's a powerful story of faith, restoration and redemption. The book opens with a famine in all the land surrounding Bethlehem, forcing a difficult decision upon Naomi's husband, Elimelech. Now, Bethlehem (beth: "house", lechem: "bread") literally means “house of bread”, so the irony of Elimelech's departure from his home, "house of bread", during a famine, is lost on English speaking readers, but reveals that every detail in the word of God can be meaningful, especially the meanings of names.
One of the paradoxes of our walk is that God’s gifts often require work on our part. After He delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, the Lord led them to the Promised land and told them He was going to "give" it to them. It wasn't long before they realized, however, that they were going to have to fight battles and overcome fortified cities in order to inhabit the land. God did promise that they would not have to fight the battles on their own, but even with this divine advantage the Israelites themselves would be required to destroy their enemies – they would still need to fight.
As most of you know, we've been on a speaking tour throughout the United States during the past month, and have been preaching throughout the country in the midst of flu season. This past weekend the flu finally broke down my immunity and seriously knocked me out. But after a few days of battling, I'm starting to feel better. Influenza is a nasty virus that has the ability to replicate extremely quickly and once it establishes a foothold, rapidly gains a stronghold within the body. You may guess where I'm going with this personal illustration.