Monthly Archives: August 2019

Jumping Jehoshaphat

2 Chronicles 18-23 continues the revolving door of kings and leaders in both Israel and Judah. As we found out last week with Asa, Judah primarily had good and faithful kings – yet towards the end of their lives, they revealed their human depravity and left the LORD. However, we find that God is always faithful. He continues to keep His covenant what he made with David. Judah is the benefactor of that covenant; for at times Judah was no better and no worse than Israel who had been led astray into Baalism by Jeroboam. Sometimes I think through the lives of these Old Testament kings and leaders and reflect on their testimony. History and the Bible have captured the good, the bad and the ugly of their lives. It would be easy for us to throw stones and insults their way saying that “we would never have done such evil.” Hum, I think we boast too pridefully about our own thoughts of ourselves. The bible tells us that none seek after God, no not one [Romans 3:10-18]

Jehoshaphat comes on the historical scene for Judah – 2 Chron. 17, the LORD was with him, for he followed after the Lord like David did; and did not follow after Baals like Israel did. Whew! Finally we have someone in leadership that has gotten it right. Great testimony of how God blessed King Jehoshaphat and how God established his kingdom. God blesses faithfulness; but he also abhors disobedience and idolatry. God is both merciful and gracious; but He also is just. We read how God established Jehoshaphat’s kingdom and bestowed on his riches and honor.

We also read how Jehoshaphat led a “discipleship” thrust where the priests and Levites went around teaching the ways of the Lord. He tore down the idols and established the Law as the Law of the Land. We find that the neighboring lands were in dread -fear because it was obvious that the Lord God Jehovah was with Judah and to fight against them would be to fight against God. How many times have we read about how the enemies of Israel and Judah were in fear because of what they witnessed God doing in His people. Victory after victory was given by God over the enemies such as Assyria, Egypt and Philistines. The dread of the nations was so real that God gave peace to Judah, and the nations did not fight against God’s people. Awesome  and great is this story. BUT . . .

2 Chronicles 18:1 -“Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he allied himself by marriage with Ahab.” What in the world is wrong with Him? Why in the world after tasting of the riches of God would he turn and inter-marry with the devil himself? Ahab was king of Israel; we know him better as the wimpy husband of Jezebel, who caused Israel to sin greatly against God and sought to kill Yahweh’s prophets [Elijah] There was no need for Jehoshaphat to enter into any marriage alliance with Ahab. As we read through the rest of Jehoshaphat’s story, noting good came from his reign.

Ahab paid great honor and reverence to Jehoshaphat, but what is that to the honor and riches that God had already showered? I find in most concerting that we believers are to soon to forget the blessings of God and pursue the praise of the world. Scripture tells us Not to love the world, nor the things in the world – 1 John 2:15-17. This would be a sad story if it ended here.

God has his spokesman in Jehu, just like he did with Nathan and David. It is good to read the whole story and find that Jehoshaphat returned to God and led the people back to God. I am sure that every single one of us have had periods of “prodigalness” in us. The great story of when the prodigal son came to his senses, he knew where to go. Oh, that we too would come to our senses as a people and a nation to return to God of our salvation and have a great revival of serving the LORD!

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ASA a King and man of God

2 Chronicles 14-18 is our reading passage, but I want to focus on Asa the king who followed Abijah in Judah. I t says that he did right in the eyes of the LORD. He attempted to rid Judah of the cultic idols that had been worshiped. Asa challenged the people to worship God and to obey the commandments and Law of God.

Just as a point of commentary, Judah by and large had good kings in the aspect that they did the work of the LORD. Israel in the Northern kingdom had many bad kings who followed in the steps of King Jeroboam, and led the people to worship Baal and Asherah. in 2 Chron 14:9 we find that many of the people from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon defected back to Judah because of the gross idolatry and immorality in Israel.

Back to our passage and Asa, early on we find that Zerah the Ethiopian comes to do battle against Asa with 1 million men and 300 chariots.  Asa didn’t back down, he led his army out in battle formation; then he called on the LORD. His prayer is amazing and wonderful; found in 2 Chronicles 14:11; “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

The prayer that avails much – a prayer said with complete dependency on God for deliverance; a prayer worthy of God’s authority and power to answer! The answer – ” So God routed the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah and the Ethiopians fled.” What a victory won that day. I couldn’t help but think of the song “Some trust in chariots, but we trust in the Name of the LORD our God” when I read the prayer.

In chapter 15, we read of the priest Azariah and his words to Asa. Essentially, he says the LORD is with you Asa, and if you obey Him, He [God] will let you find Him; if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. This is very interesting to me – if I seek God He will let me find Him. I understand that no one can call Jesus Lord except the Holy Spirit give him the ability. My understanding is that if we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then God will continue to “draw” us to Himself. God is not lost that He has to be found, we are lost and are being drawn to the Light – being found. I have often wondered how some people can hear the gospel and not respond, yet others sitting in the same place will hear and respond positively  to the Gospel. Knowing that no one seeks after God, but that God seeks after us makes the difference in who is finding who.

Asa goes on to have a great reign as King of Judah; but – ugh that word But. Asa like so many others in their later years forget to remember God. In chapter 16, Asa is confronted with another enemy, except this time he takes the treasure out of the Temple in an attempt to “buy off” his enemy through King of Aram. This doesn’t miss God’s notice and Hanani calls Asa’s hand on the deal. Asa basically shoots the messenger by throwing Hanani in prison. Later on Asa gets diseased feet, he oppresses the people and even in his pain of diseased feet refuses to seek medical attention. We can ask the question – What Happened? It is hard to say, but there are countless examples where a man of God drifted away from God in their latter years [Solomon and Hezekiah]. I have had friends do the same thing. How is it that they lived out a great testimony before God, family and communities, yet falter and live contrary to everything they previously held to? Weak in the flesh? Carnal? I don’t know, but they ended up ruining their personal testimony. Seek to live for the Lord Jesus and not have a BUT . . .  in you life.

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Conflict in the Family

Our passage is from 2 Chronicles 8-13; while it would be easy to get engrossed in the details and extravagance of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, that story is a fleeting one. The Queen was impressed with all the earthly treasures of Solomon and the stories of his wisdom. Her trip to see him seems to be two-fold. First to impress him with her own entourage and wealth and too see if the rumors of his wisdom were true. I guess Solomon passed the test, for she was blown away beyond what she had heard. Sort of reminds me of the people who thronged to Jesus. I am sure that the news of His works and wisdom were echoed across the land. Many followed because of what He could do for them, others came to see for themselves if the stories were true. Sadly, enough there are others that came to Jesus to “prove their worth” to Him. Why is it that man has this insistent desire to prove or out do someone else? Well, we all know that Jesus doesn’t disappoint for He is able to do abundantly and exceedingly more than we ask or think!
The story shifts from Solomon, the son of the famous King David to his successor, Rehoboam. We have read that God was gracious and merciful to Solomon, even in his disobedience because of God’s promise to David. Solomon the wisest man dies, time for the changing of power. Rehoboam was 41 and reigned for 17 years. Rehoboam went to get anointed as the next king over the united 12 tribes of Israel. However, a man or better yet a nemesis named Jeroboam challenges Rehoboam. Rehoboam asks the elders how he should reign, them tell him to back off the harsh rule that was prominent during Solomon’s reign. Rehoboam then asks his own peers what to do – yeah not a good move it turns out. They tell him to increase the burdens. I guess if you are going to lead my “poll results” you will need to be prepared for push back. Leadership is not about popular opinion, but the will of God.
Now this Jeroboam guy didn’t just show up but was in exile because he tried to start a coup during Solomon’s reign. Solomon is dead and Jeroboam rears his rebellious head. Note to us, Satan always plays for another day. We may be successful today, but tomorrow is another day to fight against the wiles of the Adversary! When Israel balks at the Rehoboam national strategy, ten tribes embrace Jeroboam as King and withdraw from Judah and Benjamin, leaving behind a divided nation. Something we must remember Israel [ten northern tribes] have always been rebellious and fighting with Judah., even during the days of David.
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who is an Ephriamite [Ruth and Naomi]. We find from our reading in Kings, that the sin of Jeroboam was great in that it caused Israel to depart from God and create and embrace the gods of the Canaanites. Rehoboam made a fatal mistake in this case; he didn’t listen to the wise counsel of the people. Rehoboam does go on to reign from 17 years and had some measure of success. There is a verse we need to look at 2 Chronicles 10:13, what happened was the “turn of events from God that He might establish His word. I can’t help but think of how Matthew 21:43 rings loud here. The Jews lost the kingdom of God because of their disobedience; the kingdom was given to another people [Gentiles] who received the Gospel and were redeemed. God is amazing in His plans; He uses the disobedience of one people [His people] to win a people who are on the outside of the commonwealth of God. That work meant salvation to me and everyone else who believes that is not a JEW.
What will be evident from now on in Chronicles will be the somewhat faithfulness of Judah and the idolatry of Israel. Good kings and bad kings; but they were brothers, all from Jacob. Rehoboam and Jeroboam will fight against each other. I am heart broken about the condition in some churches in America – they are fighting against each other – family conflict.

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