The Reward in Righteousness

“There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.” – 2 Chronicles 19:3 Jehoshaphat is one of my favorite Old Testament characters. He was the King of Judah, which was the southern part of the Promised Land, with Israel being a separate country to the north. Though they were originally one nation, they split in two in 930 B.C. because the people wouldn’t accept Solomon’s son Rehoboam as king. After they were divided, their relationship was unpredictable — sometimes they were at peace and sometimes they were fighting. They were also in different places where it came to ridding their land of pagan practices. The Caananites in the region lived as enemies of the Lord, and they worshipped relics known as Baal statues and Asherah poles. Though such objects seem harmless enough when we

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A Shoot From a Stump

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” – Isaiah 11:1-3 Isaiah is an Old Testament prophecy about the destruction of Israel. Even though God took His people out of darkness and set them apart to be an oasis of truth in a brutal and harsh world, they were often too weak to stand alone. As is common for humans, they were influenced by the secular culture around them and succumbed again and again to its idolatry and paganism. Though the Lord was repeatedly merciful to His people, His anger burned, and He ultimately allowed them to be

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Stretch Your Tent

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” – Isaiah 54:2 Our God is the God of redemption and restoration. Though His people were in captivity in Babylon for many years, He never ceased reminding them that He would ultimately bring them home to Israel, and that when He did, their lives would be even better than before they were exiled. While what they could perceive with their physical senses spoke of defeat, He invited them to assume spiritual vision that could see beyond their immediate circumstances. Since they lived in tents, He advised them to expand their dwelling places, embrace their new home, and expect Him to move in their midst to broaden their strength and influence. In fact, this account is the root of a spiritual principle that can benefit us today — we should

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