Lent day 15 Who is Obed?

Lent day 15 Who is Obed?

Luke 3: 32 “the son of Obed”

The name means ‘Servant of Yahweh’.

In one of its toughest times in the history of Israel lived a family, Elimelech and his wife Naomi and their 2 sons. There was lawlessness and there was famine, they lived in Bethlehem which ironically means House of Bread. Elimelech’s name means ‘My God is King’. But God was not king in his life. He made a decision without consulting His God and King. That decision took him to Moab, there he made a further bad decision when he allowed his sons to marry Moabite woman. This was an abandoning of God and His land for the land and people of the enemy.

They had planned only to live for a while in Moab, but they remained ten years. At the end of those ten years, all that remained were three lonely widows. Everything else was gone.

Naomi had lost two things:

Her husband and two sons had died before their time. They had years to live, certainly for the sons, but they were no more. It was just a dream that never came true.

Of most importance was the carrying on of the family name. How more devastating for Naomi is that not only has she lost three loved ones, there is no heir by which the names will be continued and the inheritance guaranteed.

She has lost her future. Naomi would have to come to the realisation that everything has gone because she moved away from God.

And yet what she hadn’t realised was the most gracious and beautiful love story in the Old Testament was about to happen!

A reminder that the reason why Luke’s genealogy is different to Matthew’s is probably not because of the thought one was Joseph’s and the other Mary’s but because of this example, the levirate marriages. When Obed was born (to Ruth), the women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!” (Ruth 4:14).

Naomi left Moab grieving for her husband and two sons. She arrived in Bethlehem a broken widow and with great bitterness. But now the women of Bethlehem share in her joy. Obed is now the levirate son for Mahlon, he is heir of Elimelech. Through Obed, Elimelech’s family name has not been wiped out. Ruth and Naomi were both given a bright future. However, something far greater was on the horizon. Obed would become the grandfather of King David. He was not just a blessing to Ruth and Naomi, not just to Bethlehem, not only to Israel, but to the whole world through God’s hand on David’s life.

Now that we have the background to his birth let us see his name. Obed’s story has what Apostle Paul famously said running all through it: “And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.”

Romans 8:28-29

It is God’s primary goal for your life to reproduce the image of His Son in you. But what does that look like? Jesus gives the answer:

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

It is very appropriate that Obed’s name means ‘Servant’. Out of the worst of times can come the most powerful and God inspired times. If God has done anything in your life it is so that you may serve and in serving you become like Jesus. With the towel and basin in your hand you wash feet and you give yourself away to even the most unlovable of people. And in doing so, they don’t see you, they see Christ.

Lent Day 14: Who is Jesse?

Lent Day 14: Who is Jesse?

Luke 3:32 “the son of Jesse”

 

His name means ‘firm’ or also ‘wealthy’ and it would appear he was both.

His wealth and position is seen in that he supplied David with a haulage of food to take to his brothers who were supposedly fighting the Philistines in 1 Samuel 17; he also came from a good lineage himself, seen in the genealogy in Ruth 4 where it states that his ancestor was chief of the tribe of Judah in the time of Moses, Nahshon; finally, David entrusted his parents to the King of Moab in 1 Samuel 22 when Saul was pursuing him and this would indicate it could only have happened if Jesse had some kind of prominence.

But he was firm and no more is this seen than with his 8th son, David.

 

Nobody but God would have guessed that David would be God’s chosen leader, Jesse certainly didn’t.

  1. a) Jesse did not consider David ready for anything of importance. (1 Samuel 16:5) When Samuel consecrated Jesse’s family, David wasn’t there. Consecration involved the preparation of washing and putting on clean clothes before attending a sacrifice.
  2. b) Jesse considered his youngest irrelevant, 1 Samuel 16:11. The Message says “Well, yes, there’s the runt.” David was not important in Jesse’s eyes.
  3. c) Jesse didn’t consider David at all. 1 Samuel 16:10-11. Jesse didn’t offer David to Samuel. Samuel had to remind Jesse of David’s existence. David was being overlooked and rejected. This is the life of Jesus, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” Matthew 21:42.

People will always see and maybe say that you’re not ready. God is looking for a heart that has experienced that. According to the world’s standards you may appear foolish, weak, lowly, despised and a person who has not and is not. You may have been overlooked and not considered. God is looking for you!

The Apostle Paul in Romans 15 quotes Isaiah 11:1 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”

Throughout David’s life he is known as ‘David son of Jesse’ and often in derision, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse?” 1 Samuel 25:12.

Just like our Lord’s title, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’.

Grace makes you become all that you can become.

At the end of David’s life the Chronicler writes, “David son of Jesse was king over all Israel” 1 Chronicles 29:16.

The contrast is huge. It brings us right back to the beginning. To the place of ordinariness, shepherding the sheep, playing the harp. The place of rejection, the youngest lad, the irrelevant son, the one not even asked to be present at the meeting with Samuel. But it does more than speak of the potential of David. It tells of the potential fulfilled. David became all that he could become. He became king. How did that happen? Primarily it happened because of God’s grace. David was because God is. David would never have made it to kingship without God.

Jesse could not stop God’s plans for his 8th son. No man (or woman) can stop God’s plans for your life either. You may have a firm rogue in your family tree but that doesn’t mean this is who you will become. You may be known as coming from a bad stock or even an irrelevant one but with God you can become famous!

Lent Day 13: Who is David?

Lent Day 13: Who is David?

Luke 3: 31 “the son of David”

His name means ‘beloved’. He was the second king of Israel and alongside Moses the leading figure in the Old Testament. He is found in the gospels because of his Messianic title no less than 35 times. In Acts 10 times, Romans 3 times. He is in 2 Timothy, Hebrews on 2 occasions and in Revelation 3 times. David is important!

Jesus is known as the Son of David, born in the city of David, Bethlehem. He is the new King of the Jews who would shepherd Israel.

John 7: 42 “Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”

Maybe today you could do what I have done and read Psalm 59. It is a song that David wrote recollecting his thoughts of the time in 1 Samuel 19 when Saul sent men to capture him and he fled and escaped through a window and went to Samuel.

David knew that if he just remained the armour bearer and personal musician for Saul he would not do so for much longer. But by escaping, his life became really under threat, for Saul seemed to want to do nothing but kill him.

David made things worse for himself by escaping that night. But he also discovered that he could:

  1. Know HIS Confidence v8

David knew that God was going to win against every evil individual, gang or nation that ever rose up to try to defy him. God knows He will win the war. God is totally and perfectly confident in every situation.

The first step in surviving is to know what God knows. To know that He knows He cannot be beaten or overcome or defeated at any time, in any place. It’s never happened in the past and it will never happen in the future. Even when it looks like it will happen, when Jesus His Son is dying on the cross, it looks like God has been defeated, but then lo and behold 3 days later at his resurrection we find that it was actually God’s plan all along for the bringing about of salvation for all who believe.

 

 

 

 

2, Know His Character v16

‘for you are’. David knew who God was. He lists 12 characteristics of God, he did it because he knew each one of them in a personal way and would do so the remainder of his life.

He is our defender v1. Throughout his life David would know God as a deliverer. He delivers us from the attacks of unbelief, depression, purposelessness, fruitlessness and all sin.

He is our protector v1. The Bible declares God to be the defender of His people. Psalm 20:1 May the name of the God of Jacob protect you. There is protection in the proclamation of His name.

He is our Saviour v2. A Saviour is one who intervenes, who steps in and rescues from either physical or spiritual suffering.

He moves v4. Is 60:1 Arise shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  Be ready for a visitation from God time after time. Not once in your life but numerous, countless occasions.

He sees v4. He is not blinded, nor ignorant to your situation. He knows because He can see it.

He is a fortress v9. The Hebrew definition for the word ‘fortress’ is: a net to capture, a fastness, a fortification, a castle, a fortified city. God provides safety and security from the attacks of the enemy.

He is loving v10.  1 Jn 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us.

He is a shield v11. God wants to shield all His people from the devils schemes. But we must allow Him to be our shield.

He is mighty v11. God is an immoveable, all-encompassing foundation for a person’s past, present and future life. He is mighty to save and mighty to keep. Psalm 91 tells us there is a rest in the shadow of the Almighty God.

He is a ruler v13. The Bible describes God as ruling over heaven and earth and over His people. From the beginning he called for man to rule with him and like him.

He is the Strength v16. God does not want us to faint in the heat of the battle. God wants to be the strength of our spiritual, domestic, emotional and moral lives.

He is a refuge in times of trouble v16. Whenever we are feeling oppressed or suffering from the attacks of the fire there is a place of relief from distress and affliction.

Deliverer, protector, Saviour, one who moves, one who sees, a fortress, loving, a shield, mighty, ruler, a strength, a refuge. This is His character and this is what gives us confidence!!

We truly are the beloved of God!

Lent day 12: Who is Nathan?

Lent day 12: Who is Nathan?

3 v 31 “the son of Nathan”

His name means ‘gift’ and that would indicate he was special wouldn’t it?

I wonder how special Nathan felt being from such a large family?

Taking 1 Chronicles 3: 1-9 and then adding the daughter, Tamar and of course the son that died 7 days after his birth plus the children born from David’s concubines then we can definitely say Nathan is one of 20 children from David plus many others!

Let’s see what the Chronicler writes: “David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, and these were the children born to him there: Shammua,] Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel” v 4-6.

Nathan, ‘the gift’ was born amongst many others and his parents had that horrible story which contained adultery, deception and what amounted to murder!

On top of all this, Nathan, ‘the gift’, wasn’t chosen to succeed his father David, it was another brother, Solomon, not even a step-brother, but the one younger than him who was chosen. Seemingly, Nathan wasn’t qualified, experienced or perhaps ‘gifted’ enough to build the Temple and lead the kingdom.

I wonder how special Nathan felt he was. I wonder if he believed he was indeed a gift?

There are many who have similar situations to Nathan’s in their family.

Some have similar work situations of feeling overlooked.

Or personally, their friends all seem to have what they want but not for this person, they struggle to find their place, their purpose in life. Who am I here for?

Here is our Lentern memorisation verse and I will explain why I include it:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”

When God first promised salvation there were only 2 people in the Biblical story, Adam and Eve. That could have been you. You could have been 1 of 2 people in the garden of Eden and you would have done exactly what they did and God would have said exactly the same thing: He would crush Satan’s head (speaking of Christ’s victory on the cross).

So you may belong to a crowd and feeling the least, the last and the lost and yet God favours you, sees you as the first and has found you! (That’ll preach!)

So say this over your life, “I am more than what I think, I have been bought by a price and that price was Christ alone.”

 

You are not in competition with anyone else, there is none. You are worth far more than the circumstances around you. You are indeed a gift. I wonder if Nathan knew this?

Lent day 11: Who is Mattatha?

Lent day 11: Who is Mattatha?

3 v 30   “the son of Mattatha”

We have met a few variants of this name already, this is the 6th one. The name means ‘gift of Yahweh’.

God is still giving gifts today.

  1. Salvation

The greatest gift is eternal life.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  1. Spiritual gifts are given, (you are born with natural gifts or they are learnt).

 

  1. We can be used to give gifts of God to strengthen the Church.

Romans 1:11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong

  1. God doesn’t take back the gifts He gives.

Romans 11:29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

  1. There are different gifts given by God

Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.

  1. We can be blind to what is available to us.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.

  1. We don’t all have the same gifts

1 Corinthians 12:30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

  1. Gifts to be used for people are not as important as loving people

1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

  1. Desiring gifts is good.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.

  1. We need to improve in the use of our gifts that strengthen the Church.

1 Corinthians 14:12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

  1. We must not stop using our gifts.

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

 

  1. Silver

We need to be generous with gifts of money.

2 Corinthians 9:5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

 

Those 3 entities, Salvation, Spiritual gifts and Silver cover Mattatha. Salvation is a gift given by God and is available for everyone for their eternity. Spiritual gifts are given for the edification of the individual and mainly for the Church. Silver are gifts we give to demonstrate Mattatha.

Who is Menna?

Lent day 10

3 v 31 “the son of Menna”

His name is also spelt Menan according to the RSV and it means comforting or consoling.

We wake today to the news of ‘Deadly mass shootings in mosques of New Zealand’. Our prayers are for the families that “…the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort …” may be with them today. (2 Corinthians 1)

We know this verse I am sure: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever” It is the Amplified version of John 14:6.

Isn’t it wonderful to see the understanding of the role of comforting the Holy Spirit plays in our lives?!

When you are at your lowest and no one is there, He is.

Some lessons about being comforted:

  1. You must receive comfort into your life. Unlike Rachel who refused because of her deep loss (Matthew 2:18).
  2. The kingdom, the rule and influence of God belongs to those who mourn or as the Message puts it ‘when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you’ it is then that God ‘becomes most dear to you’ (Matthew 5).
  3. Be careful who you allow to comfort you because some are more strokers of dead things than raisers of hope (John 11:19).
  4. Trust opens the door to comfort (John 14).
  5. Comfort is a new sound that is needed through the Church to the community (1 Corinthians 14:3)
  6. Turning up is sometimes enough (2 Corinthians 7:6).

When Harry Lauder, the great Scottish comedian, received word that his son had been killed in France, he said, “In a time like this, there are three courses open to man: He may give way to despair and become bitter. He may endeavour to drown his sorrow in drink or in a life of wickedness. Or he may turn to God.”

If your heart is broken today, if you are feeling overwhelmed beyond measure then here He is, Jesus, sending the comforter, the Advocate.

Menna is yours today.

 

Lent day 9 Who is Melea?

Lent day 9 Who is Melea?

3 v 31 “the son of Melea”

It means supplying or supplied.

The Lentern memorisation verse is 2 Corinthians 9:10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”

Some days call for big, loud and bold statements of faith.
Melea!!
God can build me up
He can bring me back from a distant place
He can heal my broken heart
He can bind up my wounds

Melea
He can understand all my complexities
He can sustain me
He can cover me
He can supply my every need

Melea
He can make me grow
He can provide for me
He can strengthen me
He can bless me

Melea
He can give me peace
He can satisfy me
He can command me
God can do all these things for me!

Melea!

My supplier!

Lent Day 8: 3 v 30 Who is Eliakim?

Lent Day 8: Who is Eliakim?

Luke 3: 30 “the son of Eliakim”

His name means ‘whom God will raise up’.

Here is a Lentern passage to memorise:

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1: 18-21

We are people who believe that ‘all things work together for good to them who love him and are called according to his purpose.’ (Rom 8:28). We are people who believe that what man ‘intended for harm, God intended for good’ (Gen 50:20)

We may journey for a period of time in joyful release or painful struggle, yet we know we always arrive on a certain day where it may start out in desperation but it will end revealing a God whose best work is reserved for the day of Satan’s worst.

The same power that God exerted towards Jesus.

The same power that raised Jesus.

The same power that seated Jesus far above all any other.

The very same power can be known by us.

Whatever around you that looks like it is over, it isn’t.

We will never be in a moment when it is over even if it looks like it is so.

Why? Because of Eliakim!

God is still at work. Behind the scenes, away from you and the situation … God! So don’t give up, hang in there, it is God who gives life and ends life. It is God who says when it is over, no one else. God never finishes He raises!

Lent Day 7: Who is Jonam?

Lent Day 7: Who is Jonam?

Luke 3: 30 “the son of Jonam”

Nothing is known about Jonam except his name means gift or grace of God.

Have you noticed how angry and hateful the world is becoming?

Here is today’s Lentern verses: “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1: 16-17

Grace covers identity: Grace exposes the dark side of our lives, it is for Judas and Peter to say “yes I did that” but one of them could not accept that they had done such a thing and made things worse; the other accepted it and found their identity in grace. To live by grace means you are not denying or trying to forget the dark side of your life, but by allowing grace to expose it you find who you really are.

Grace opposes self-pity: Not that we end up depressed and whipping ourselves in a frenzy of guilt and shame over our sinful lives. Self-pity will never motivate you. Self-pity will not move you to grace any more than the victories, visions, successes and miracles will. Self-pity will keep you locked in failure, away from your home. Grace calls you to keep coming back to Jesus, let Jesus bind up the wounds, don’t let your self do it.

Grace is honesty: An honesty that says we keep breaking the rules. An honesty that says “I am cautious to say God told me … Because I could be wrong.” An honesty that displays character and silences the tongue. An honesty that says I may never be the person I want or should be but God loves me now as I am.

You can have the Law of Moses or the Grace of Jesus Christ. The measure you use will be measured to you.

Grace is for those who have offended you. Grace is to reach out to your enemy as if they were your friend. Grace offends your friends because they don’t like your enemy receiving from you what is not rightfully theirs. But grace turns the tables on all that and sees through the eyes of the mission of Jesus. Filtered through those eyes gives a whole different perspective.

The Rwandan genocide in 1994 only lasted 100 days. But during that time 800,000 citizens were brutalised and murdered by their own neighbours.  Though Hutu and Tutsi tribes are the same ethnic group, share the same language, lived and worked together, shared the same religion (mainly catholic), Tutsis and supportive Hutus were slaughtered by people they had co-existed peacefully with for generations. Even from school age Tutsis became dehumanised. They were called snakes and cockroaches. The killings were horrific and sadistic. Here is a story of a mother whose son was killed in that genocide. The woman had nursed bitterness, grievance and thoughts of vengeance; she just wanted to find her son’s killer and bring due punishment. But one night she had a dream and in the dream she was going down the street and saw a house and she knew it was a house of her enemy. And she heard God say, “Go into the house”.  She said “I don’t want to go into the house” She went into the house and God led her through many rooms and then up the stairs. And He said “I want you to go up the stairs” She said “I don’t want to go any further in this house” “I want you to go up the stairs” She went up the stairs, opened the door at the top, and found it led into heaven. And she had a revelation. That the path to heaven goes through the house of her enemy. Two days later there was a knock on her door. A young man is standing there at the door and he is shaking.

He says to her, “I am the man who killed your son. I place my life in your hands, whatever you want to do with me, I accept it. I have had no peace since I did what I did. And I will accept whatever. If you want to kill me, you can kill me. If you want to turn me in to the authorities turn me into the authorities. Whatever you want, my life is in your hands. And because she had a revelation from God, she said “I will not do any of this. But I do have one request. You must now become my son.”  She took him in and fed him at the table where she fed her son. He’s the same size so he wore his clothes. He actually moved in and became a son to her, because heaven passes through the house of her enemy.

Who is your enemy? Who is the person that hurt you? Would you believe that heaven goes through their house? The reality is that you cannot love that person unless God does something in you first. What God does is Jonam, it is grace upon grace, the gift of God.

Do you need more grace today?

Lent Day 6: Who is Joseph (again)?

Lent Day 6: Who is Joseph (again)?

Luke 3: 30 “the son of Joseph”

I recently saw a picture on social media of a church worshipping in a building in Africa. There were 15 people in the picture and the title said “We are possessing the nation”. I checked the population of that nation and it is 29 million. I marvelled at their faith and I realised that they needed God to add His presence for them to possess their hearts desire.

We already know that Joseph’s name means ‘may God add’ and we are served a reminder today that we continually need the added presence of God.

The fable of the elephant and the mouse helps. The mouse crossed the bridge over a deep ravine with an elephant. As they crossed over the bridge shook. When they reached the other side, the mouse said to the elephant, “Boy, we really shook that bridge, didn’t we?”

As followers of Jesus journeying through this Lent period let us be reminded of what He promised us:

Jesus will add rest to those who are weary from carrying burdens, Matthew 11: 28-30.

Jesus will add understanding to a time of darkness when you cannot see what to do, John 8:12.

Jesus will add resurrection to whatever appears to be dying, John 11:25.

Jesus will add provision for our needs whilst we put Him first, Matthew 6:33.

Jesus will add the ability to produce, John 15:5.

Jesus will add His presence as we go, Matthew 28:20.

Jesus will add peace, John 14: 27-28.

Let’s shout out JOSEPH today, MAY GOD ADD.

May He add rest, understanding, resurrection, provision, ability, presence and His peace to our lives!

May these be days of increase because of all God will do!

So we pray:

Add blessing so my influence is enlarged, 1 Chronicles 4:10.

Add protection so that my enemies are driven from my influence, Exodus 34:24.

Add the power of increase to the harvest, 2 Corinthians 9:10.

And as He does then maybe we will shake that bridge and possess our nation!