Friday, April 29, 2011

2 Chronicles 18-20

These stories may also be found in 1 Kings.  Jehosaphat is a good and Godly king of Judah.  Ahab is perhaps the most evil of the kings to rule Israel.  The make an alliance to go to war against Syria to take Ramoth Gilead.  Jehosaphat suggests that they counsel with God before entering into war.  Ahab calls in his 400 (yes men) prophets who all encourage him to take a mighty victory at Ramoth Gilead.  "Is there no other prophet?" was Jehosaphat request.  There was one other, Micaiah, but Ahab disliked him because he spoke God's truth rather than what the King wanted to hear.  He, too, prophesied a victory, but a victory that would include Ahab's death.  Micaiah was abused and imprisoned because of his truth telling, but we are reminded that it is better to endure the slings and arrows of human torment than to encure the wrath of our eternal Heavenly Father.

After the Judean/Israeli victory and the death of Ahab, Jehosaphat's on prophet chastises him, "should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?"  It is a difficult thing for the Christian in this modern age.  Evil is all around us and much of it is socially acceptable in our politically correct and inclusive culture.  We are reminded that we are not to hate the sinner, but we are not to become partners in their sin either.  Tough we miss church to attend a professional sporting event or to allow our children to be in a tennis, volleyball, baseball tournament.  Do we sacrifice the tithe in order to own a bigger house, better car, enjoy a nicer vacation.  Do we use our expendable income participating in activities that are in violation of God's will for the Christian life?  Should we help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?

Jehosaphat heard God's voice and did a couple of remarkable things in his remaining years.  He set up a system of Judges who would insure that every person in Judah would be treated fairly and have access to justice.  He also set up a set of itinerant (this is a very Methodist concept) priests/rabbis who traveled the country teaching God's word to all the citizenry.  Is it any wonder that God favored Judah over it's rebellious cousins to the North in Israel?

Finally we have the account of a great miracle as the Ammonites, the Moabites and others gather their armies to conquer Judah.  Jehosaphat recognizes that the Judean armies will not be able to defeat this combined enemy force.  He calls all of Judah to pray and fast and to call upon the name of the Lord their God.  God responded to this national prayer through his prophet and assured Jehosaphat that this battle 'belonged to the Lord'.  Jehosaphat sent the army out to meet the enemy with singers leading the way praising God for the victory that he had promised. "Praise the Lord, for his Mercy endures forever" was the cry of the singers.  The great miracle was that God caused the Moabites and Ammonites to turn against each other and by the time that Judah's army arrived on the scene, the fight was already over.

It is always better (from an eternal perspective) to be obedient to God's call on our lives and to his edicts than to compromise with evil and seek momentary peace and/or gain.

It is beautiful out there!!  Hope you get to catch a few rays and while you are doing that don't forget that, God's mercy does, indeed, endure forever.

Church rummage sale tomorrow (Saturday).  Come by and check out somebody else's cool stuff.

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