Today’s reflection centers on the lives of the great godly men of old whom God honoured with great glory. Some of these great men held important offices in the church and in the society. Some of them where kings, prophets, teachers of the law, wise men known for their wise proverbs and words.
All these people were famous in their own times, honoured by the people of their day. Some of them left or reputation, and people still praise them today. There are others who are not remembered, as if they had never lived, who died and were forgotten, they and their children after them.
Their bodied were laid to rest, but their reputation will live forever. Nations will tell their wisdom and God’s people will praise them.
Some of these great godly men are:
Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Phinehas Son of Eleazar, Joshua, Caleb, the judges, Samuel, Nathan, David, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Josiah, Ezekiel, the twelve prophets, Zembbabel and Joshua, Nehemiah, the Patriarchs, Simon son of Onias etc.
There were also some great men who misled the people of Israel. Some of these men were Solomon, Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
Now click Here to reflect on the lives and wisdom of these great men of old (44 – 50.21)
Enoch pleased the Lord and was taken up into heaven. He became an inspiration for repentance for all time to come (44.16). He was the first man who never tasted death.
Noah was a perfectly righteous man. After destruction came, he gave the human race a new start. Because of him, there were people left on earth when the flood was over. The Lord made an eternal covenant with him, promising that life would never again be destroyed by a flood (44.17-44.18). The sign of this covenant was the rainbow.
Abraham was the great ancestor of many nations. His reputation was faultless. He kept the law of the Most High and made a covenant with him, a covenant marked on his body (circumcision). When he was put to test, he was found faithful. And so the Lord made him a solemn promise that hiss descendant would be a blessing to the world, with boundless inheritance (14.19 – 44.21).
4. ISAAC AND JACOB:
The Lord renewed that covenant with Isaac, and then again with Jacob, repeating the promise that Abraham’s descendants would be a blessing to the whole human race. The Lord assured Jacob that he would bless him, he gave him the land that would be his, dividing it into twelve parts, one for each of the tribes (44.22 – 44.23).
The Lord close Moses out of all mankind and consecrated him because of his loyalty and humility. He lets him hear his voice and led him to the dark cloud, where face to face, he gave him the commandments, the law that gives life and knowledge, so that Moses might teach the covenant regulations to Israel (45.4 – 45.5). Through Moses, the Lord delivered the Israelites from the wicked hand of Pharaoh of Egypt.
The Lord raised up Aaron, a holy man like his brother Moses of the tribe of Levi, giving him the privilege of serving as priest to the Lord’s people (45.6 – 45.7). The Lord chose Aaron out of the whole human race to offer sacrifices, to burn fragrant incense to remind the Lord of his people and to take away their sins (45.16).
Only Moses and Aaron were more famous for their intense devotion to the Lord than Phinehas son of Eleazar. He brought about forgiveness for Israel’s sin by standing firm in brave determination when everyone else was in revolt. And so the Lord made a covenant with him, valid for all time to come, that he should be in charge of the sanctuary and of his people, that he and his descendants should hold the office of High Priest forever (45.23 – 45.24).
Joshua son of Nun was a great soldier and the next of the prophets after Moses. He lived up to the meaning of his name as the great deliverer of the Lord’s chosen people. He defeated the enemies that attacked them, so that Israel could claim its land (46.1). It was Joshua who led the people of Israel to the promise land.
Joshua was loyal as Moses lived, both he and Caleb son of Jephunneh. They stood up to the whole community made them stop their ungrateful complaining and kept them from sinning (46.7).
Out of the 600,000 Israelites who matched through the wilderness, these two were the only ones spared and allowed to enter the rich and fertile land that was to be theirs (46.8). This was their reward for bringing back good news out of the 12 spies sent to spy the land of Canaan (the promised land).
10. THE JUDGES:
Then there were judges, each of them famous in their own right, who never fell into idolatry and never abandoned the Lord. May their memory be honoured. May these whom we honour spring from the grave to new life in their descendants (46.11 – 46.12).
Samuel was loved by the Lord. As the Lords prophets, he established the kingdom and appointed rulers for the people. He judged the nation in accordance with the law of the Lord, and the Lord protected Israel. Because Samuel was faithful, he was accepted as a true prophet. People trusted him as a seer because of his words (46.13 – 46.15).
After Samuel came Nathan, who was a prophet at the time of David (47.1). He was the prophet who confronted David after he committed Adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
As the choice fat portion of the fellowship offering is reserved for the Lord, so David was chosen from among the Israelites. He played with Lions and bears as if they were lambs or little goats. When he was still a boy, he killed a giant to rescue his people. He put a stone in his sling, took aim and put an end to Goliaths bragging (47.2 – 47.4). In everything David did, he gave thanks and praise to the Holy Lord, the Most High with all his heart (47.8).
David prepared the way well for his son, a wise man, to rule after him. There was no war while Solomon was king. God gave him peace on all his borders, so that he could build for the Lord a temple which would stand forever (47.12 – 47.13). He is the wisest man on earth. But his lust for women was his downfall. He stained his reputation and that of his descendants. They suffered punishment for that foolishness of his, which caused them so much grief. It divided the nation and a rival kingdom arose in northern Israel (47.19 – 47.21).
15. REHOBOAM AND JEROBOAM:
Solomon followed his ancestors in death and left one his sons to rule after him. This was Rehoboam, a man of little intelligence and great foolishness whose policies caused a rebellion. There was also the unspeakable Jeroboam, who led northern Israel in sinful ways. His people became so sinful that they were exiled from their land. They tried all kinds of wickedness until the Lord took vengeance on them (47.23 – 47.25).
Then there arose the fiery prophet Elijah, whose words blazed like a torch. He brought a famine on the people and many of them died because of his persistence. Speaking in the name of the Lord, he kept the rain from coming and on three occasions he called down fire (48.1 – 48.3). He was taken up to heaven in a fiery whirlwind, a chariot drawn by fiery horses. The scripture says that he is ready to appear at the designated time, to cool God’s anger before it breaks out in fury; that he will bring parents and children together again and restore the tribes of Israel (48.9 – 48.10)
When Elijah was hidden by the whirlwind, Elisha was filled with his spirit. As long as he lived, he was not afraid of rulers and they could not make him do as they wished. Even when he was dead, his body worked a miracle. In life and in death he performed amazing miracles (48.12 – 48.14).
Hezekiah prepared his city to resist a siege and provided it with a water supply. He had a tunnel built through solid rock with iron tools and had listens built to hold the water (48.17). Yes Hezekiah did what was pleasing to the Lord and firmly followed the example of his ancestor David. This was what was commanded by the great prophet Isaiah, whose visions were trusted. He made the sun move backward and lengthened the king’s life. He comforted the mourners in Jerusalem. His powerful spirit looked into the future, and he predicted what was to happen before the end of time, hidden things that had not yet occurred (48.22 – 48.25)
The memory of Josiah is as sweet as the fragrance of expertly blended incense, sweet as honey to the taste, like music with wine at the banquet. He followed the correction policy of reforming the nation and removed the horrors of idolatry. He was completely loyal to the Lord and strengthened true religion in those wicked (49.1 – 49.3).
All the kings, except David, Hezekiah and Josiah were terrible sinners because they abandoned the law of the Most High to the very end of the kingdom. They surrendered their power and honour to foreigners, who set fire to the holy city and left its streets deserted, just as Jeremiah had predicted. Jeremiah had been treated badly, even though he was chosen as a prophet before he was born, “to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow”, but also “to build and to plant”.
It was Ezekiel who was shown the vision of the divine glory over the chariot and the living creatures. He also referred to the prophet job, who always did the right thing (49.8 – 49.9). In one of his visions, he prophesied to dry bones and they came back to life.
22. THE TWELVE PROPHETS:
May the bones of the twelve prophets rise to new life, because these men encouraged the people of Israel and saved them with confident hope (49.10).
23. ZERUBBABEL AND JOSHUA:
How can we praise Zerubbabel? How was like a signet ring on the Lord’s right hand, as was Joshua son of Jehozadak. They rebuilt the Lord’s holy temple, destines for eternal fame (49.11 – 49.13).
The memory of Nehemiah is also great. He rebuilt the ruined walls of Jerusalem, installing the gates and bars. He rebuilt our homes (49.13)
25. THE PATRIARCHS:
No one else like Enoch has ever walked the face of the earth, for he was taken up from the earth. No one else like Joseph has never been born; even has bones were honoured (49.14 – 49.15). Patriarch is a head of a family or tribe. The first 3 recognized Patriarch are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
26. SIMON SON OF ONIAS:
The greatest of his brothers and the pride of his people was the High Priest Simon son of Onias, who repaired the temple and laid the foundation for the high double wall and the fortification of the temple (50.1 – 50.2)
All these men left a legacy for which they are remembered and honoured. When you die, will you be remembered for the good things or the evil you did?
CLOSING PRAYER FOR TODAY
(Recite with deep faith)
Lord Jesus, help me to live a righteous life, so that when I die, people will remember for the works I did and you will honour me with your glory – Amen.
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