August 18

2 Chronicles 27:2, 6 (NIV) 2He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done, but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the LORD. The people, however, continued their corrupt practices...

6Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the LORD his God.

Uzziah's son, Jotham, learned from God's quick and severe dealing with his father's pride. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and no exceptions to that are noted. The problem was in the people. Sometimes God will place a godly leader over a people whose hearts have turned away from God. His example to them should cause them to see the blessing of God is upon those who walk in His ways. Do you know someone who is full of the fruits of the Spirit? The peace and joy and patience in their life should give you a hunger to walk more closely to the LORD.

Sometimes the people will not heed the example God has given them. Then you can count on future leaders to not be as godly and the nation to not be as blessed. Everyone makes choices, and those choices not only affect you but those around you. Jotham's faithfulness showered a rain of blessing upon ungodly people. Perhaps that is why he died at the young age of 41. The people did not deserve the blessing he brought them through his godly life.

God gave power to Jotham because of his godly life. The word 'steadfastly' is two words in Hebrew. It means to set one's direction. He laid out a course and stuck with it. He aimed for God and would not swerve off course. In Colossians 3 the Apostle Paul tells us to set our mind and heart on things above. The writer of the Hebrew epistle tells us to hold unswervingly to the course we have set. Is your course set like Jotham's was, or are you drifting? Do you know the direction of your goal, and have you decided to pursue that goal with all you have? Distractions are many and are often subtle.

Remember: Learn from both the good and bad examples of others, and keep your eye fixed upon the goal, Christ Jesus.

August 18

Romans 11:25-27 (NIV) 25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."

Paul called himself the apostle to the Gentiles, yet he had a great burden for his own people, Israel. He hoped the conversion of the Gentiles and their relationship with God would make the Jewish people jealous and desirous of knowing Jesus as Messiah.

Many Christians today believe the church has taken the place of Israel, yet many of the promises to Israel have not yet been fulfilled. We are living in the times of the Gentiles. Jesus referred to it in Luke 21:24. In the passage for this evening, Paul is instructing us that God has predetermined a number of Gentiles that will become His own. When that number is reached there will be a great conversion of the Jews. They will accept Jesus as Messiah. If that is the same time as Jacob's trouble, the same as described in Zechariah, there will be a great number of lives lost and the remnant will turn to Jesus.

Israel's various forms of godlessness and idolatry will end. They will be saved just as we are saved, through faith in Jesus. When the "times of the Gentiles" ends, then the time of the restored kingdom of David will begin. The 1000 year reign of Christ on earth is one with Jewish traditions. The reality of all the types and shadows in the Old Covenant will be understood. The feasts will be observed with an understanding of what they truly represent.

Gentile reader consider: Are you making the Jews jealous with your daily walk with the Lord? Live in constant communion with Him so that others who observe your life might desire to have what you have found.