Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 19-20:37; Romans 10:14-11:12; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6
King Jehoshaphat returns home from a battle that he should never have gone on and one in which he acted so foolishly he should have been killed. Yet, by God’s mercy, he did not die. God was angry with Jehoshaphat for going to battle with the evil King Ahab (2 Chronicles 19:2). But, as is God’s way, He provides some encouragement even when He rebukes (2 Chronicles 19:3).
Can you imagine a U.S. president travelling around the country giving speeches not about economic policy but about how people need to believe in God? That is exactly what Jehoshaphat does in 2 Chronicles 19:4. I think Jehoshaphat did this in response to the encouragement God gave him in 2 Chronicles 19:3. Jehoshaphat did something he wasn’t supposed to do but God also reminded him about the good he had done. So he went out and did more.
Jehoshaphat also advises the judges throughout Judah to judge fairly, as representatives of God who will be judged by Him for their judgements (2 Chronicles 19:6,9). If only our judicial system worked this way today, rather than trying to please people and right centuries-old wrongs. In fact, every decision any of us make in life, even if we are not officially judges, should be made in light of the fact that God knows what we do and why we do it. If we keep that in mind we are all apt to make better choices.
When enemies come against Judah in 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat responds by leading the people in a fast (2 Chronicles 20:3). It has been my experience that a fast of a day or more can greatly enhance one’s relationship with God. Fasting fosters humility from the realization that we are sustained only by the grace of God. It therefore makes us more attune to Him.
Jehoshaphat also prays before the entire community of Judah (2 Chronicles 20:5). This is a great prayer. Notice that Jehoshaphat calls God the “ruler of all the kingdoms on the earth” (2 Chronicles 20:5). Back then people believed in local dieties. Each kingdom had their own “god”. But Jehoshaphat recognizes that there is one God – the God of Israel – who reigns over everyone.
The best line in the prayer is the final one in which Jehoshaphat admits that he does not know what to do and he is looking to God for help (2 Chronicles 20:12). There is no better time to pray to God than when we are helpless.
God immediately answers this prayer through Jahaziel who tells everyone to not be afraid for the battle is God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). God then gives everyone instructions on what to do even though they will not have to fight (2 Chronicles 20:17). Even though God will do the heavy lifting for us, there is still something for us to do. And our part, however small, is important because God will not do His part if we do not do ours.
Judah had great faith in God’s promise as evidenced by the fact that they placed singers in front of the soldiers (2 Chronicles 20:21). Throughout the Bible God defeats Israel’s enemies by confusing them and making them fight amongst themselves as He does here (2 Chronicles 20:22-24). He will do the same thing in the War of Gog and Magog which we will read about later this year.
No one can be saved without believing. And no one can believe without hearing the Gospel. And no one can hear the Gospel unless they are told it (Romans 10:14). That is why it is so important for those of us who know how to be saved to tell people. Whether they believe or not is their choice. But they can’t believe unless they hear. And they can’t hear if believers keep silent.
Even though Israel had rejected God, God had not rejected Israel (Romans 11:1) and Paul was proof of that, being a Jew himself. God does not need a lot of people. He can work with only a handful of people and he did so with the small number of Jews in Israel who actually did believe including Paul and Jesus’ disciples.
The Jews had been tripped up by their very relationship with God (Romans 11:9). They recognized that they were chosen by God to be His people on earth. The problem is they thought this extended into eternity and it did not. But all is not lost with God. He is the God of the second, third, and thousandth chance (Romans 11:11)
In our world today our leaders pride themselves on obtaining their position through hard work and self effort. They give zero credit to God. But in Psalm 21 King David, who ruled over Israel, recognizes that his success is 100% attributable to God. Even if we are not political or world leaders, or even a leader at our job or church, we all need to recognize that everything we are and everything we have is from God.
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