22 November 2020 (Sunday before Advent) Jeremiah 23:5
Today’s meditation is based on a prophetic message from Jeremiah 23:5: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth”.
We are familiar about the history of Israel and Judah. Moses led the captive Israelites from Egypt to the promised land. Joshua led them after Moses. Judges ruled the people and saved the tribes of Jacob from their enemies. God the Almighty Father ruled and led the 12 tribes of Israel through Judges. The Israelites asked prophet Samuel for a king. God gave them Saul to be the first king for United Israel. When king Saul turned away from LORD Jehovah, He chose David to become the king. During his reign, David fought many wars but he established a large kingdom called United Israel. Some of the successors pleased God Jehovah like David and some turned away from God and influenced people to worship gods from other faiths. The kings turned away from God and could not save the chosen people from their enemies. God punished them when they turned away and was merciful when they turned back to God. Jeremiah means ‘Yahweh will raise’. Jeremiah was known as the ‘weeping prophet’. He lived between 626 and 585 BC. His father, Hilkiah, was a priest in the land of Benjamin. Jeremiah prophesised in the days three kings of Judah: Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. He prophesised asking the people to turn from their sinful life to the God of Israel. God allowed the Northern kingdom to be taken as slaves to the Assyrians and the tribe of Judah and Benjamin as slaves to the Babylonians. They took the best of the land and people as slaves. The temple of the LORD God was robbed and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed and burned.
At this time, God the Father remembered the covenant He made with David. To encourage the people, Jeremiah prophesised and said “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth”. In Isaiah 11:1 we read a similar verse. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots”. Both these prophecies were about the advent of a saviour from heaven who is Jesus Christ the Messiah. This prophecy was given when the tribes of Israel were scattered and the land of Israel was in desolation. Both the verses promise a branch from the stem of Jesse and David. Why did God promise a Saviour particularly from David’s line?
We are familiar with the 10 commandments given by God the Almighty Father. The second commandment is “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them nor worship them: for I the LORD thy God am a Jealous God, and visit the sins of the father upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thousands in them that love me and keep my commandments”. The first king of Israel, King Saul, went to wizards for guidance and lost the kingdom. The jealous God gave the kingdom to David and not Saul’s descendants.
David walked upright in the sight of God. Many times, David committed sin against God. But when he was convicted by the prophets, he humbled himself before God and asked for forgiveness. God was pleased with David and said David was a man after His own heart. He made a covenant with David. We read about the covenant in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14: “And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.”
As promised, the kingdom and God’s mercy passed on to Solomon. Solomon’s life was peaceful. He did not fight any war in his life. He built the temple for God in Jerusalem. Initially, he was righteous before God but he lost the grace of God because of his idol worship. Like David, God made a covenant with Solomon. We can read about this in 1 Kings 9: 4–7. God cautioned Solomon when he worshipped other gods to please his wives. But Solomon did not give heed to the caution and God’s promise was not fulfilled in his life or passed on to next generations. After Solomon’s death, United Israel was split into two. One part that consisted of only two tribes was ruled by Solomon’s son Rehoboam. The other part of ten tribes was ruled by Solomon’s servant Jeroboam.
Solomon’s ways were not pleasing in the sight of God. So, he could not pass on the blessings that were promised to his father David to the next generation. His son Rehoboam also worshipped other Gods. In the fifth year of his reign, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem and took away everything including the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house. He took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
When the kings did not walk uprightly before God, they could not pass on God’s grace and blessings to the next generation. But God did not forget the covenant made with David. The prophecy of Isaiah was that a rod out of the stem of Jesse shall come forth and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. David was the eighth son of Jesse. God the Father chose David and sent Jesus in his tribe. He established His covenant when Jesus was born as David’s descendant to bring salvation to human race. God was truthful and faithful to His commandments and promises.
Today, we are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. We will either face rapture when Jesus will come to the mid of the sky and those in Christ will be transformed into glory and meet Jesus in the sky. After the seven-year Antichrist reign, Jesus will come to save the tribe of Judah. The final battle will be at Armageddon. Jesus and His army will win the battle and establish His 1000-year kingdom in this world. Both of these prophecies will be fulfilled again during this time. Jesus will be the king of Judah for 1000 years. The Messiah will be a saviour again to His chosen tribe and the whole world will be Judged on the day of ‘The Great White Throne Judgement’.
We don’t know when Jesus will come to receive the church as His bride. Before we begin another Advent season, let us ask ourselves two questions:
1) Are we passing on the blessings and the mercy of God to the next generation like David? Or are we stopping the blessings from the next generation like Solomon? The flesh is weak but the grace of the Saviour strengthens us to be firm in our calling. The Holy Spirit speaks to us in a still, small voice to convict us. Are we listening to the voice? Revelation 22:11 says, “he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” When Jesus comes with our reward, will He say we are people after His own heart?
2) Will we be with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven when the prophecies are fulfilled again? Will He say to us “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”? Or will He say to us, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”?
Before we enter another Advent season, let us self-examine ourselves and be transformed to be people after God’s own heart.