After Israel was divided, the northern and the southern kingdoms were often at war with each other. On this occasion, Abijah, king of Judah had amassed 400,000 select troops and Jeroboam, king of Israel, had gathered 800,000 select warriors. From the human viewpoint, it was fairly easy to see who would win the war, but God had other plans. Judah had the original powerful weapon of mass destruction on their side. They trusted in God. They still worshiped God as they were supposed to but Israel had polluted their worship service with false prophets and false priests. God only accepts purity, He will not accept being one of many gods, when He is the only true and living God. Even though Judah had enemy troops behind them and in front of them and they were outnumbered two to one, they showed no fear, but trusted God to do what He promised to do. This obedience and trust in God resulted in God winning the battle for them. “God defeated Jeroboam and all of Israel”. All Judah had to do was the “mopping up” and retrieve the bounty. If we refuse to accept God’s gift of salvation and love, then we will have to face His wrath. No one can stand against the wrath of God. The only time satan thought He had defeated God, he soon learned that was his worst defeat. Do not be deceived by appearances and false claims, there is only ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD! He is the Victor and only through Him will we obtain the victory!
“This gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. — Hebrews 7:14-18 NIV
Under the Old Testament law, the priest had to be a member of the Levite tribe. No one else was allowed to serve in the temple and/or offer the sacrifices that were required. Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah. This was one of the issues that the Jewish religious leaders had with Him. But knowing the Old Testament, they should have realized that a new order would be established and the eternal priest would come from the tribe of Judah.
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. — Genesis 49:10 NIV
This new order would begin when the law had been fulfilled and Jesus did just that. He fulfilled the law and established a covenant of mercy and grace. The old law was weak and served only to show us that we needed a Redeemer. We could never live the life of perfection that it required. So, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to fulfill that law. His death and resurrection would usher in a whole new way of coming close to God. Earthly priests were no longer needed as we now could speak directly to God on our own behalf. Having a living God and a resurrected Jesus to worship is the defining difference in Christianity and worldly religions. It is why Chrisitanity offers the only hope for an eternity with Jesus. No religion offers the hope that we have as Christians and that is the real Christmas message that we need to be telling every day. It started with the birth of a baby in Behtlehem, it continued with the disciples and apostles and has been handed down to us to continue telling the old, old story. A story that is just as alive and vibrant today as it was when Jesus walked on the face of the earth. A light shone in the darkness then and has continued and will continue to shine throughout eternity. Our lifestyles should be mirrors that reflect that light every day, not just at this time of the year.
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”—John 7:25-27 (NLT)
The people knew Jesus was the man the Jewish leaders were trying to kill. They wondered how He could preach in public without being arrested. Did the leaders really believe this man was the Messiah? They decided that that was impossible since they knew where Jesus had been born and raised. If they knew this and they knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah, how could they possible come to the conclusion that no one would know where Messiah came from? After all, there were hundreds of prophecies fulfilled by the birth, life and death of Jesus. It should have been crystal clear to them that Jesus would be born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, that He would be of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David. Messiah must be born of a woman to fulfill the prophecy in Genesis. 15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”—-Genesis 3:15 (NLT)
But we should not be surprised, even today, with the myriad of historical and Biblical proof there is available, people still find ways to disbelieve. It is our job to pray and to speak the truth in love. We must follow Paul’s example. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.–1 Cor. 9:23 (NLT)