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Posts Tagged ‘ Jehoshaphat ’

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Psalms 101–103
Chronological Order: 2 Kings 1-4
New Testament Only: Acts 7:1–23

A Sanitary Life

2 Chronicles 22–24

Surgical GlovesWell fellas, you can walk with God and try to set a good example for your children and still your children can be lost.  Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, had his good days and his bad, just like us.  Unfortunately, he too often acted in worldly wisdom rather than godly wisdom.  He arranged the marriage of his eldest son to the daughter of Ahab, the wayward king of Israel.  Now as you recall, Ahab pushed the priests of God out of Israel and he and Israel followed the pagan gods.  Is it surprising that a woman raised in pagan beliefs would draw her husband raised in godly beliefs away from God?

We see this happen time and again.  What harm can there be in a godly person uniting with an ungodly person?  I’ll tell you what; great misery and pain for generations to come.  We, as followers of Christ, are to affect the world for Christ.  You can’t do that if you are unequally yoked.  We cannot invite the ungodly into our home and remain unaffected.  If you marry an ungodly woman you are very likely to be drawn by her away from God.  Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, married a Christian woman promising her that he would convert after their marriage.  They married and he changed his mind.  He did not convert.  That godly woman was forever chained to an ungodly man.

Now I don’t know if Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s oldest son, was ever a “godly” man.  We do know that he was married to an ungodly woman and the moment he became king he killed all of his brothers and some of the “princes of Israel”.  I believe this act was urged on Jehoram by his wife, Athaliah, since once Jehoram and his son Ahaziah were both dead she “arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah”, 2 Chronicles 22:10.  Can you see her whispering in the ear of her husband and the ear of her son pushing them further and further toward evil?  Realize that this woman murdered her own grandchildren!  Can you imagine?

A doctor does not fight cancer by inviting it into his body.  He will do everything he can to keep cancer away from his own body while he fights it in others.  That is how we must be in this world as Christian men.  We cannot allow the cancer of a lost and dying culture into our homes and lives.  We should not go see movies that inflame our lusts.  We should not allow vulgarity to air on our TVs in our homes.  We should not allow people into our homes that would draw us away from God.  This doesn’t mean we cannot show Christian charity to those in need but we cannot allow a long-term invasion of our home by those that would whisper in our ears.

Another cautionary tale from today’s reading concerns the one grandson of Athaliah who survived her treachery.  This child, Joash, had been raised by Jehoiada the priest in the “house of God”.  Joash was not even one year old when he found himself being raised by godly people in a godly environment.  As long as Jehoiada remained alive Joash walked in godly ways, but the moment Jehoiada died he completely abandoned God and started serving idols.  God sent prophets to call Joash back to Him but Joash had one of them, Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son, murdered.

We can do everything right and still have children that choose to walk contrary to God.  It is heart breaking.  My hope is that if, God forbid, such a thing happens that we will have lived our lives in such a way that we will feel no sense of guilt.  If we have performed our role as godly fathers as we should have, and as best as we could, then a grown child’s choice to walk away from God is completely, and sadly, on their own head.  We can and should mourn this loss but we should not take responsibility for it.  If we have been where we were supposed to be, doing the things we were supposed to be doing, when we were supposed to be doing them, then we will have been good stewards of the children God placed in our care.  When we live by that maxim then we will have nothing for which we should feel guilty.

We cannot control others but we can control ourselves.  Such control includes controlling which influences we allow into our lives.  Don’t allow yourself to be drawn away from God.  You will face filth as you take Christ into a filthy world but keep it outside your spiritual body.

Have a spiritually sanitary day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

(Originally posted 5/19/10)

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Psalms 92–100
Chronological Order: Obadiah 1, Psalms 82-83
New Testament Only: Acts 6

Stand Firm

2 Chronicles 20–21

Men - GlowJehoshaphat, the king of Judah, tried to do the right thing but as with every single human being in the Bible, save one, he stumbled.  The king of Israel, Ahab, asked him to go to war with him and Jehoshaphat wisely asked for a word from the Lord.  He was shrewd enough to realize that he wasn’t getting the real story from Ahab’s prophets; how could he when the Israelite kings had run all of the priests of God out of the country.  Evidently there was still one prophet of the one true God left in Israel and he plainly said that Israel would lose the battle.  Jehoshaphat went anyway.

I can understand Ahab not listening to the prophet of God.  He and his father had decided long ago not to follow God.  Jehoshaphat, however, did follow God.  Why didn’t he follow in this instance?  Why did he go along with Ahab when the prophet he asked for told him it would end badly?  Why ask for the guy in the first place?  Was it peer pressure; he didn’t want to look weak in front of the king and people of Israel?  Did he want to go along to get along?

This is exactly how some of us get into trouble today.  We don’t want to look bad to others.  We don’t want to look like a stick in the mud.  We want to get along with everyone.  We don’t want to offend.  Brothers, I don’t want to offend.  But if I have to choose between obeying God and offending then I am going to offend.  Jesus offended people.  He told them things they didn’t want to hear.  Was He hateful?  No, but He didn’t shy away from the truth either.  Jesus told them what they needed to hear.  I wonder if Ahab would have gone to war against Syria if Jehoshaphat had said no.  By saying no could Jehoshaphat have saved Ahab and thousands of his people?  Sometimes going along so as to keep from offending leads to the injury of those you wish not to offend.

How?  Have you ever hesitated to share the Gospel for fear of offending?  Have you laughed at a crude joke or gutter conversations because you didn’t want to offend or feel out of place?  I’m ashamed to admit that I have.  At that point, am I letting the light of Christ shine through me or am I letting Satan put a bushel over that light?  Am I affecting the world or is the world affecting me?  If I can’t shine the light of Christ in those situations then I have a lot of spiritual growing up to do and I need to do it quickly.  If I’m too immature to be in those situations then I can’t allow myself to be in those situations.  The problem is I am called to be in those situations so something has to give.  What has to give is my fear of offending.  What needs to happen is they need to be afraid of offending me.

Don’t get me wrong guys, I don’t need to rant and rave to make them hesitate to go to a smutty place when I’m around.  All I have to do when in a group that is doing the wrong thing is to frown, shake my head, turn around and walk away.  Frankly, if I do just that, I will have said more without words than shouting ever would.  Another approach is to say “Hey guys, that kind of talk makes me very uncomfortable.  I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t talk that way around me.”  I have found myself in a work environment where I couldn’t walk away, and because the individual was my boss speaking to a group I felt that I couldn’t say anything; at least at that moment.  Do you know that simply responding to a dirty joke with an unresponsive face can take the air out of a person telling those jokes?  Believe it or not, if the audience doesn’t laugh the comedian moves on to different jokes.

It’s that simple.  By not acting as the world I can make the world uncomfortable.  That will cause some to change.  It will cause others to get angry.  Jesus told us the world will hate us because it hated Him first.  Frankly, I’m beginning to think that if I am not offending someone every once in awhile I am probably not witnessing for Christ.  Let me ask you something.  Do you think the people you work with know you are a Christian?  I mean if you haven’t told them already, would they know you are a child of the living God?  Remember there are plenty of “nice” lost people so being known as a nice guy doesn’t mean they will view you as a Christian.

We tend to be afraid to say to someone “Hey do you know Jesus Christ?”  Many times we will excuse ourselves from blatant witnessing by convincing ourselves that we will lead more people to Christ by our example than our words.  Okay.  How’s that working?  Do people even know you are a Christian?  I have to think that living in such a way so that people know you are a Christian is the bare minimum.  That’s kind of Christianity 101.  You’ll quickly need to mature to blatant witnessing, but at the very least the lost should know where you stand.

Don’t go around telling people you are a Christian and then laugh at their dirty jokes and cuss a blue streak.  When you do that you are telling them they don’t need a Savior.  Why would anyone need a Savior if having one makes no difference in one’s life?  You are to be different.  You are to stand out.  You are to offend in the way Christ offended.  By doing so you may actually bring someone to a saving knowledge of Christ and that is so much better than giving them a meaningless laugh for a filthy joke.

One bit of scripture from today’s reading really stuck out to me.  It was the last two sentences of verse 12 in chapter 20 of 2 Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV

“…For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

As I mentioned above, Jesus told us the world would hate us.  There is no question we are outnumbered in a lost and dying world.  In our own strength and wisdom we are powerless against the lost; we can’t possibly know what to do.  If, however, we keep our eyes on Christ, if we keep our minds on His Word, He will guide us and reveal His power through us.  We must remain attached to the vine if we hope to withstand the great horde.

The verse above was part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer to God in face of overwhelming odds.  I love God’s response through one of the people present at the prayer.

2 Chronicles 20:15 ESV

“…Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”

You see, when we seek Him and put our trust in Him we don’t have to fight the battle; He fights it for us through us.  Our problem is we don’t understand how to let go and let God.  This isn’t sitting back and doing nothing.  The directions God gave the people of Judah included telling them to go down against the enemy.  He told them they wouldn’t have to fight but they would have to show up.  He told them this:

2 Chronicles 20:17 ESV

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Men, stand firm and hold your position.  You are a child of the King.  You are His ambassador.  You are His light in a dark and dying world.  You are not alone and you are not powerless.  Tomorrow go out against the world, hold your position and know the Lord will be with you!  Stand firm!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

(Originally posted 5/18/10)

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Psalms 89–91
Chronological Order: 2 Chronicles 19-23
New Testament Only: Acts 5:17–42

Do You Depend On God Or On Yourself?

2 Chronicles 17–19

Sign failure or success2 Chronicles 18 and 1 Kings 22 are pretty much the same story.  They are in fact word for word in places.  They narrate an interesting event concerning Ahab the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah.  Ahab wanted to go up against the Syrians again to reclaim some lost portion of historic Israel and asked Jehoshaphat to join him in the battle.  Jehoshaphat wisely requested that they inquire of the Lord through prophets as to the wisdom of such an undertaking.  Time and again in our Bible reading we see how important it is to inquire of God when we face decisions.

Now Ahab called together four hundred prophets and asked them whether or not he should go to war.  Every one of them said God would give him the victory and yet Jehoshaphat asked if there was someone else who could prophesy in the matter.  Why did Jehoshaphat want yet another opinion?  Could one prophet out of 401 be enough to dissuade him from going to war?  Is Jehoshaphat looking for a way out and hoping he can find just one prophet to give him his escape?  I guess that is possible but that isn’t my take on this.

For a prophet to be a prophet he had to be accurate 100% of the time.  One error was grounds for stoning according to the Law of Moses.  If God was in something you would expect all true prophets to be in agreement.  Let us remember that Ahab and his wife Jezebel denied the One True God and worshipped Baal.  My suspicion is that these 400 “prophets” were prophets of Baal not of God.  Jehoshaphat followed Jehovah and had no confidence in the pronouncements of prophets belonging to man-made gods.  When Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there wasn’t another prophet “of the Lord” he was looking for one who worshipped Jehovah not Baal.

Ahab didn’t like the prophets of Jehovah since they rarely told him what he wanted to hear.  He was constantly trying to get his hands on Elijah to kill him and he had another prophet, Micaiah, held in prison.  Micaiah is the one Ahab sent for in response to Jehoshaphat’s request.  This prophet of God was warned by his captors to give the king the answer he wanted.  Here is how Ahab phrased the question.

2 Chronicles 18:14-15

“And when he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” And he answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.  But the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

Notice that Ahab doesn’t say “What does God say on the matter?”  This is all a set up for the sake of Jehoshaphat.  Ahab wants the king of Judah to go to battle with him and he doesn’t want anything messing that up.  Clearly Micaiah’s response was so full of sarcasm that Ahab was forced to command him to speak the truth in the name of the Lord.  Well, Micaiah is now off the hook and he gives the bad news to Ahab straight.  In describing why 400 prophets of Baal got it wrong he says something rather strange.

2 Chronicles 18:19-22 ESV

“And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another.  Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’  And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’  Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets. The Lord has declared disaster concerning you.”

We need to realize that the statement above is an attempt by a man of God to explain to a man of Baal why his prophets are wrong.  God is the God of all and He takes responsibility for all of His creation.  The prophets of Baal have clearly been given the wrong impression as to the outcome of a battle with Syria and this suits God’s purpose.  These prophets knew what the king wanted to hear and they gave it to him.  The only person they were afraid of was Ahab.  A “lying spirit” was a natural part of the life Ahab and his prophets were living.  They lied to themselves and God used it to His purpose.

Another example of God taking responsibility for the godless behavior of a man can be found in Genesis where the Bible tells us that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart”.  In that situation, like this one, God had given the wayward individual many opportunities to return to Him.  When that wayward individual failed to take advantage of God’s grace God turned them over to their godless fate.

Interestingly enough, though Micaiah told the truth about the coming military disaster, Jehoshaphat went to war with Ahab.  He only escaped with his life because he cried out to God for salvation.  Ahab depended on disguise and deceit to protect himself instead of God and as a result died as Micaiah had foretold.  It is an old story and it is still true today.  Those that depend on themselves for survival will die a tragic death.  Those that depend on God for salvation will be saved.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

(Originally posted 6/29/11)

Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 8–9

by | June 3, 2013 | In Daily Reading Comments Off

Alternate Plans
Bible Order: Job 9–11
Chronological Order: Song of Solomon 1-8
New Testament Only: John 9:18–41

Are You The Other Guy?

2 Kings 8–9

Yelling fatherToday, we read of another change of leadership in Judah.  In fact we read of two changes of leadership in Judah.  Jehoshaphat, who had been fairly faithful to God has finally gone to his ancestors and his son, Jehoram, comes to power.  Jehoram does not walk in his father’s footsteps but in the ways of Ahab.  If you will recall Ahab was the king of Israel that worshipped foreign gods.  Jehoram’s son, Ahaziah, also worships foreign gods and we read today of his untimely death as well.

I’ve mentioned before that as fathers we have a responsibility to set a good example for our children and if we don’t, we share a portion of blame for their behavior.  The Bible shows us however, that even if a child has a poor example as a father, he can still choose to follow God, as did Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father.  It also shows us that you can set a good example and your child can still go astray.  In my opinion, if you’ve been the father you are supposed to be, have set a good example and taught them the ways of the Lord, then you have no culpability for the choices of your child.  I don’t know if Jehoshaphat did his part or not but the child did go wrong.

Do you know what led Jehoram astray?  He married a daughter of Ahab who worshipped foreign gods.  How many times have we seen this?  A guy has a casual attitude about marrying a non-believer.  Guys, if you are not married, don’t marry a non-believer and don’t kid yourself into thinking you can win them over.  It’s a bad idea.  If you are married I hope you chose to be with a believer.  If did marry a non-believer, this is not an excuse to bail.  You have made a commitment before God and you must now exhibit Christ-like behavior for two reasons; because you are a Christian and because by doing so you may bring your bride into salvation.  This is serious stuff guys and we just can’t afford to be indifferent to the most influential relationship we will have outside of the Holy Spirit.

Brother, you are a child of the living God.  He hasn’t taken you up to Heaven to be with Him yet because He has work for you to do here on Earth.  You must make every effort to identify that work, or mission, and compare every decision you make against it.  Marrying a non-believer is not consistent with whatever mission God has for you.

If you have married a non-believer your primary mission now is to model Christ for them so they will respond to the call of grace.  Your wife is bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh.  How can you possibly be about your Father’s business when part of you, your wife, is not dedicated to the same business?  You cannot force or browbeat or cajole anyone into accepting Christ.  All you can do is point them to Christ by your behavior.  People can’t hear a word you are saying when your bad behavior is screaming in their ears.  If you love your wife the way Christ loves the church a desire for Christ is a likely response.

Your first mission as a godly man is to share and model Christ at home.  You have no business going further until you’ve taken care of this basic responsibility.  Jesus gave us the parable of the “talents” in which a master gave three of his servants different amounts of money for which they were responsible during his absence.  When the master returned two of his servants returned not only the original amount of money but an increase as well.  Each of these two servants were told “well done good and faithful servant” and then rewarded by being given even more responsibility over the master’s domain.  The third servant hid the master’s money in the ground and only returned what he was given.  This servant was called wicked and sent packing.

What example are you to your wife and kids?  Are you a good and faithful servant or the other guy?

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

(This post is an edited portion of commentary originally posted 4/27/10)

Going All The Way

2 Kings 9-11

Before I get into commentary on today’s reading let me wish you a happy 4th of July.  Now, down to business.

Ahab was a bad king of Israel and his wife Jezebel was even worse queen.  Ahab died and his son Joram reigned in his place.  This was no improvement.  As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  God called a son of Jehoshaphat, Jehu, to fulfill His promise to wipe out Ahab’s wife and children.  As we read of Jehu’s execution of God’s plan, we see some pretty bloody things.  Jehu killed Joram, Jezebel, Ahab’s 70 sons and finally all Baal worshipers.

Prior to wiping out the prophets, worshipers, and priests of Baal, Jehu said to Jehonadab:

2 Kings 10:16

“And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord…”

That is some pretty intense zeal isn’t it?  He killed all these people who worshipped this Baal idol – king, queen, princes, false prophets, false priests, men, women and children.  The worship of Baal was like a cancer killing the body of Israel and Jehu took a knife and cut deeply to destroy it.  As drastic as his actions may seem by today’s standards, Jehu didn’t go far enough as the following from our reading today shows.

2 Kings 10:28-29

“Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel.  But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.”

Following the death of Solomon, Jeroboam split the 10 northern tribes of Israel away from the tribe of Judah.  The kingdom had remained split ever since.  Jeroboam was worried that the tribes of Israel might later re-unite the kingdom out of reverence for the One True God.  He therefore re-created the golden calves that the Israelites had made during their time in the wilderness.  Jeroboam claimed, as the Israelites had claimed in the desert, that it was the calf that brought them freedom from Egypt and he called for the people to worship the golden calf.

That horrendous practice of calf worship continued even after Jehu had destroyed Baal.  Baal and the golden calf were the same disease.  They both were manmade gods that allowed and encouraged people to worship the work of their hands rather than the One True God.  This is the ultimate in spiritual adultery.  God does not take such things lightly even if He gives wrong doers time to change their evil ways.  Jehu killed the cancer growing in the limbs of Israel but not the cancer growing in the heart.  Jehu went far in obeying God but he did not go all the way.  This meant that the cancer grew and eventually lead to the Assyrian exile.

Brothers, have you gone all the way in obedience to God?  You accepted Christ as your Savior – great!  Have you submitted to His authority over your life?  Have you continued to cut sin out of your life?  Some of us only go part of the way down the road of sanctification.  As you know sanctification is the process by which we become like Christ.  Day by day we conform our life to that of Christ’s; we separate ourselves from the world and unto God; we grow in obedience to the Word of God and live out its truth in our life.  Have you gone all the way in this?  Are you attempting to go all the way or have you sputtered out and now sit stalled on the side of the road?

May I suggest that you continue to pour the Word of God into your spiritual tank every day, keep your foot on the accelerator, and keep driving down the road of sanctification until that great and glorious day when you reach your destination?  That is my sincere prayer for you my friend.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 1-4

by | July 2, 2011 | In Daily Reading Comments Off

He Sacrificed His Son

2 Kings 1-4

We start the book of 2 Kings today.  In today’s reading the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom go to war against Moab.  When Ahab, the king of Israel died, the king of Moab, Mesha, decided to stop paying tribute.  Jehoram, Ahab’s son and Israel’s new king asked the kings of Judah and Edom to join him in putting down this rebellion against Israel’s authority.  Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and once again, as the king of Israel wandered into war without the guidance of God, Jehoshaphat suggested they inquire of a prophet of God.

It was for the sake of Jehoshaphat the God guaranteed victory for this triumvirate.  The king of Moab saw that the end was near and took a rather drastic step to avoid complete destruction.

2 Kings 3:26-27

“When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not.  Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.”

The god of Moab was Chemosh and it was a rather common practice for people who believed in these gods to believe that failure in battle meant that their god was angry with them and that by sacrificing that which was most dear to them they could regain their favor.  Mesha sacrificed his oldest son to this false god Chemosh.  This so sickened the attackers that they lifted their siege of the city and when back to their homes.

The overall battle was a victory for the allies but Mesha gave credit for his survival to his man-made god.  We know this because archeologists discovered the “Moabite Stone” which contained Mesha’s own account of this and other battles with Israel.  On this stone Mesha claimed to have been saved from destruction by his god Chemosh.

Do you notice the difference between Mesha’s false god and the One True God?  Mesha’s god required the sacrifice of his son for salvation.  God provides the sacrifice for the salvation of His followers.  This was true in the case of Abraham and it is the case with you and me.  In Abraham’s case it was a ram in our case it was God’s own son.  Today many ignore God until something goes wrong and then they accuse Him of being some cruel, vicious being.  The truth of the matter is He loves His creation more than His creation loves Him.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for you.  What a great, gracious and merciful God we serve!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!