Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, but he erred when he joined allegiance with Ahab to help him in war. 1 Kings 22:43-44 says"he walked in all the ways of his father Asa. He did not turn aside from them, doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for the people offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. Also Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel."
Today, it is becoming increasingly important to know how to sincerely love our enemies or those we don’t agree with without joining them or validating their cause. The church could do a better job of sincerely loving those in the LGBT community without validating their lifestyle. If we get better at reaching out and loving them from the heart with time and money they may be less quick to call our beliefs “hate speech” or “judgmental.”
Anyone care to join in on this topic?
In 1 Kings 20:23 The servants of the king of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they.” This sounds ridiculous to us (and it is), but it gives us insight into the ways of thought of people during the time. This wrong thinking was also partially responsible for Israel walking away from the LORD to other gods. After Yahweh brought them into the land, they started to look to the “gods” of this new land.
A prophet told King Ahab in 1 Kings 20:28, "Thus says the LORD: 'Because the Syrians have said, "The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys," therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” God wanted to make Himself known to the Syrians and to Israel; He wanted to show who was the Great God, the One above all others. Israel wasn’t delivered because of their righteousness, but because of God concern to be glorified.
The people in Elijah’s day didn’t completely disregard the LORD; they still considered Him the One who rescued them from Egypt and brought them into the land. The problem was most of the people began to honor the gods of the people more after they came in. In 1 Kings 18:21 Elijah says to the people, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." This is the same problem we see today with a different “face.” People say they are a Christian, but they have “two opinions,” or as James says “double minded.” If the LORD is God, we should want to follow Him and all His ways.
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We all must learn to stand in difficult situations; often it feels we are alone when we are not. Even if there was no other person standing with us, the Lord will not leave our side. Elijah said in 1 Kings 19:10, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." We must fight the good fight of faith knowing God will be faithful to us and He will put the right people in our life to help us.
There is obvious encouragement in seeking the LORD and walking in ways as you read about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17. There is a key in verse 6 that helps us understand how he followed the LORD; it says, “his heart took delight in the ways of the LORD.” It wasn’t just a Law to Jehoshaphat; it was a pleasure to walk in the way God instructed that would bring life and prosperity.
2 Chronicles 17:10 says, “the fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.” There is not a stronger "defense system" than the fear of the LORD than a nation that seeks God and has His presence in their midst. The fear of the LORD will keep away any attackers.
Sometime the only way out is “PRAISE!”
2 Chronicles 13:13-15 says, “But Jeroboam caused an ambush to go around behind them; so they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14) And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the LORD, and the priests sounded the trumpets. 15) Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.”
They had no way to escape; they were before them and behind. Whenever we are in a situation where is “no way out,” when we give God praise, He will make a way!
I’ve been amazed by the story of King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14-16 for a long time. He started off by doing what was right in the LORD’s eyes, bringing in the dedicated utensils of silver and gold into the house of the LORD. He trusted God and was saved from the huge Ethiopian army, but his trust began to shift over the years. When the Israelites came against him, he contracted Syria to fight with him using the dedicated silver and gold from the LORD’s house. (It’s sad when “dedicated” people shift their trust off of the LORD to what they think they can make happen with their wisdom or their resources.) The result for Asa was the LORD said, “Syria has escaped from your hand;” God wanted to give Asa another great victory, but Asa got his eyes off of the LORD. I think the LORD’s heart is summed up well in 2 Chronicles 16:9: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Oh, how God wants to show Himself strong (He wants to show-off) through the person whose heart is completely God’s. Help us to be those people LORD.
1 Kings 12:26, & 28 says, “And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom may return to the house of David …Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!"” I wonder how many ministry decisions have been made because of fear or insecurity. Ministry’s that make decisions to cater to the feelings of people won’t stand in the last days.
The story of the prophet who prophesies against the altar made by Jeroboam is amazing; although King Josiah wouldn’t be born for a long time, the prophet is able to give the name of the king of Judah that God will raise up to destroy the altar. This prophet would never get to see any proof of what he said would happen; he would need to “die in faith” not yet seeing the promise; maybe that is why he was held to such a high standard to keep the word of the LORD. He learned in very dramatic fashion that when God says something to you, don’t let anyone tell you different! The prophet died a premature death, but he died in faith knowing God would perform what He said he would do.
2 Chronicles 12:14 says, “… (Rehoboam) did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.” Rehoboam didn’t set his heart to do evil; it just happened because he didn’t set his heart to seek the LORD. The human heart left to itself is deceitful and wicked; only the LORD can take out a stony heart.
Solomon, whose name means “peaceful,” is a type and foreshadow of Jesus Christ in His millennial reign when He brings true peace to the earth. Though people are told about what it is going to be like, most will not believe; I believe this is the case for most Christians also. The Queen of Sheba did not believe the reports about Solomon’s kingdom until she saw it with her own eyes and when she did she proclaimed, “…indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard.” (1 Kings 10:7) Queen Sheba came to honor Solomon and learn from him and, “King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity” (1 Kings 10:13); what a powerful picture of God's kingdom! 1 Kings 10:24 says, “Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart;” this will be how it will be with Jesus Christ when He reigns on the earth.
David reigned for 40 years establishing the LORD kingdom order within Israel. Because of this, Solomon was able to take over a kingdom with peace and prosperity; this is the nature of God’s kingdom. As long as Solomon walked in wisdom, the prosperity and peace of the nation grew.
The temple was dedicated to the LORD in the “feast of the seventh month:” this was the feast of Tabernacles. Historically, this feast commemorated how Israel needed to dwell in tents (tabernacles) in the wilderness after they departed from Egypt. Prophetically, the feast foretells when God will fully tabernacle on the entire earth with His people. Revelation 21:3 says, “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” In Christ, we are seated in heavenly places now; we are one spirit with Him, and He desires to manifest Himself in the earth through us. The temple that Solomon constructed was made from stone (symbolic of God’s people), but filled with gold and having gold Cherubim inside (symbolic of the kingdom of heaven and God dwelling amongst us). When the temple was finished and put in order God’s glory filled the temple. The Lord is building His church and He will put all things in order that He can dwell amongst us in the fullness of His glory.
The was an awesome purpose for the greatness of the glory of God’s temple and a purpose Solomon asked for his prayer to be answered: 1 Kings 8:60 says, “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.”
Solomon said in 2 Chronicles 2:5, “the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.” The excellence and glory of this Temple would be difficult to tell. The Queen of Sheba had difficulty believing the wisdom of and prosperity that she heard about, but had to admit when she saw it, “indeed the half was not told me” (1 Kings 10:7). Can you imagine walls 45 feet high covered in gold; what an amazing sight! I am look forward to doing some more research on what this temple looked like and what it entailed.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan