When you look at the relationship between Leah and Rachel, on the surface you may feel bad for Leah because you read of Jacob’s great love for Rachel. Read Genesis 29. Rachel was younger, “had a lovely figure and was beautiful,” while Leah “had weak eyes” (v. 17 NIV). Plainly put, “Jacob was in love with Rachel” (v. 18 NIV).
Despite her love of Jacob, Rachel sacrificially remains silent so that Jacob would marry her sister Leah first. It was not a custom to have the younger child marry off before the eldest. Though Leah was “not loved” by Jacob as she desired, God soon blesses her with Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Note, Judah is the line that leads to Jesus.
These two sisters certainly had their moments, and more children followed to form the twelve tribes of Israel; Leah bore six of the twelve. Though Leah lacked the love of Jacob that she desired, God provided her a huge family and wealth. She is mentioned in Ruth 4, along with her sister, as building the house of Israel. Eventually she would be buried beside the man she adored, in the cave with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah (see Genesis 49:29-33). God was with her and her children. She was loved by Him. She was not for lack. God loves you too. Today, rest in His love. You, too, are not for lack.
“When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” Genesis 29:31 [NIV]
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [NASB]
We always say if we have something, we will be forever content. For some people, the something is a someone. For some people, the something is a particular sum of money or a house or some other items. In reality these things are never enough. We always crave for more. We always have this void that only God can fill.
In Isaiah 26, there was mention of a song that would be sung in Judah. It spoke about not being in a hurry, even being “content to linger.” It continued, “Who You are and what You’ve done are all we’ll ever want.” WHO You are and WHAT You’ve done – ALL we’ll ever want.
Can you say that about God today? Can you say that all you’ll ever want is Who He is and What He has done? Can you sing this song? The song continues, “Through the night my soul longs for You. Deep from within me my spirit reaches out to You.” I pray that these words are upon your lips today. May your spirit reach out to Him today and always.
“We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
are all we’ll ever want.”
-Isaiah 26:8 [MSG]
When you yell at the top of your lungs, people pay attention. It is loud. It is usually uninhibited. When I think of someone screaming at the top of their lungs, I consider two things: screaming in delight after receiving some great news or screaming in fear when in danger. These moments are typically moments we do not forget.
When all of Judah and Jerusalem followed Jehoshaphat’s actions, worshiping God together, the Bible says that the Levites were on their feet praising God. How did they praise Him? They praised God “at the top of their lungs.”
This reminds me of my car rides when I have the windows down and I am in the middle of uninhibited worship. I am praising God. I have one hand off the steering wheel raised (which is a no no). I get loud but I don’t care. Once I was even yelled at by a young boy to quiet down. But I kept praising Him for He alone deserves honor and glory and praise. Today I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. Praise God at the top of your lungs. Aren’t you delighted by Him? Let us jump to our feet and shout! Thank you Lord! Praise you Lord!
“Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!”
-2 Chronicles 20:18-19 [MSG]
Have you ever begged for something? Perhaps when you were a child, you begged your parents for a trending toy. When you neared driving age, you begged to learn how to drive and then when you passed your test, you begged to borrow the family car. Have you ever begged God for something?
Some people beg God for selfish requests. We do not always see it as such, but when things are uncovered, it is very self-centered. We also beg for particular things like healing because we do not see God’s bigger plan. I know I’ve begged for my pain to go away, and yet my pain has taught me patience and humility. I am all the better because of my pain.
In today’s verse, we read that Jehoshaphat was terrified knowing that there was a large group approaching via the sea. He was afraid and he immediately turned his attention to God. He begged Him for guidance. Have you ever begged God for guidance? Have you ever wanted His guidance that bad? Have you ever approached Him with that humility?
“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3 [NLT]
In 2 Chronicles, it says that the people would “not even need to fight.” They were to “stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.” Sometimes we do not like to “stand still.” Most people are okay with watching television, but when it comes to our own lives, we think we have to do something. We have to do something to fix everything. Look around and you’ll see the evidence.
In this verse the people are told to take their positions. They were to be ready. But they were not going to have to do anything. They would be watching the Lord as He did great things. They simply had to watch with eyes open and see the victory.
For every situation in life, it is not always going to be the same. You will not always need to be fighting and keeping busy toward the goal. There are times when God will have you slow down for a moment so He can show you His great power and control. When you are to stand still, be sure to stand still. Open your eyes and see what the Lord has done.
“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” – 2 Chronicles 20:17 [NLT]
Jehoshaphat was deeply committed to the Lord and His ways. He showed this in many ways. He removed the pagan shrines. He removed the Asherah poles. But he didn’t stop there. He gathered his officials, the Levites, and others, and sent them off with copies of the Book of the Law. They went traveling around through all of the town of Judah. They were teaching the people the Law.
If we are deeply committed to the Lord, we will follow His commands and we will attempt to remove the bad things in our lives. We slowly transform by the power of Christ, by the Word of God. But we aren’t simply to be deeply committed to growing in Christ in our own lives. There should be an overflowing that reaches others.
Jehoshaphat was in a position to send the Levites, his officials, and a group of others to teach. He had that within his power due to his position. He not only had them travel with the copies but also to teach them to the people in ALL the towns of Judah. That’s a lot of towns. Today, what are you in a position to do? Are you committed or are you deeply committed? You might say you do not have the power to take the message of Jesus very far; however, remember that this isn’t on your power but through His power. Don’t limit what can be done. By His power, you may only be starting a great work. Let us reach the finish line of this great race. I pray you all will be deeply committed.
“He was deeply committed to the ways of the LORD. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah. They took copies of the Book of the Law of the LORD and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people.” – 2 Chronicles 17:6, 9 [NLT]
“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace.” – 1 Kings 14:25-27 [NIV]
We read that “Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD” (v. 21). Then the passage mentions high places, sacred stones, Asherah poles, and even male shrine prostitutes. The people were engaged in horrible, sinful acts. The people were committing idolatry. Then the judgment for their actions followed. The king of Egypt attacked and the treasures were taken. The gold shields that Solomon had made were carried away, and Solomon’s son has them replaced with bronze shields.
When we look at this replacement of the shields, it reminds me of something that a criminal does, replacing something real with something fake to pretend that the fake item is the real thing. At the end of the day, the deception is deception and can never be truth. Even if the shields were replaced, it was easy to see that they were not the original gold shields. Solomon made those gold shields when he was doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD. The shields were just one of many things that pointed to the splendor of Israel when following the Lord.
Today let this be a reminder of what truth is and what is not considered the truth. Let us remember that we have the option of having a true, real relationship with God. We can attempt to fake it by having a Bible on our bookshelf or attending church on Sunday, but there is no replacement for the real thing.