31 Days of the Christmas story from Genesis to John: Day 5 – Jehoiakim’s curse

mary-and-joseph-travel-to-bethlehem

The nation of Israel fell on hard times after King David’s reign. Their hopes and dreams to be a great nation that would be a blessing to all nations was shattered. By about 600 BC, the nation had become divided and exiled from their homeland, because of their idolatry and worshiping of other gods, something God had specifically warned them against. The temple that King Solomon (David’s son) had built and had stood for 400 years was destroyed. The divided northern kingdom (Israel) was exiled to Assyria, and the southern kingdom (Judah) was exiled to Babylonia. Israel never had another good king but Judah, whose capital city was Jerusalem, still held to the promise that the line of David would always sit on the throne.

Several famous prophets rose during this time – Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel. They warned the people to turn back to God or face judgement, as well as give the people a hope of the coming Messiah. Jeremiah was the last prophet to speak before Jerusalem was destroyed. Jehoiakim was the King of Judah during this time and he was very evil. Jehoiakim heavily taxed the people and had them build an extravagant palace for him without paying them for their labor. He even burned the scroll that Jeremiah wrote. God was angry with Jehoiakim and cursed him through the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 22:30
Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:
“Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah.”

This curse seems to void the Davidic covenant that said the Messiah would inherit the throne through an heir from David’s line. If none of Jehoiakim’s descendents, as heirs to the line of David, could ever sit on the throne again in Judah, how could this prophecy be fulfilled? And true to the curse, Jehoiakim’s descendents never did sit on the throne again. All hope seemed lost. But what may look to be humanly impossible is always possible through God. Divine intervention was required.

Mary’s husband Joseph or any of his children could never sit on the throne of David because he was a descendent of Jehoiakim. The requirement for the prophecy to be fulfilled was that the Messiah must be both an heir to the throne and an offspring in the line of David. It was impossible for one person to fulfill both roles without going against the curse.

Mary was a descendent of Nathan, David’s other son. Through the virgin birth, Mary fulfilled the biological requirement to be in the line of David and therefore her child could sit on the throne, while her husband Joseph fulfilled the legal requirement of being an heir.  Without the divine intervention of a miraculous virgin birth, the Messiah would not have been possible. This will not be the only time where evil forces try to stop the birth of the Messiah. It is a continuous conflict throughout the Bible, but one that never succeeds.

I pray that you will believe in the God who can make all things possible, the God of miracles, the One who can and always will provide a way of hope.  Nothing is impossible for God.

* Merry Christmas *

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