2Chronicles 19-23 How often do we know the right thing to do but instead, we falter, waver, and do not follow through.
Jehoshaphat is a man of divided loyalties. He is all in for God until something catches his eye. Then he falters, wavers, and takes the wrong route. How like us. When all is going well, he draws the people back to God, prays like Solomon but then, in the time of peace, he foolishly aligns himself with Ahab’s son, King Ahaziah of Israel. God is gracious to send us warnings as he did Jehoshaphat: Eliezer, son of Dodavahu from Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat, “Because you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will shatter what you have made.” And so it came to pass; the king’s ships were destroyed.
God sends us pictures or warnings to get our attention. Sometimes we pay attention, but sometimes we fail, and we pay the price.
What is the life principle out of all this? The words of Joshua and James come forth: Choose ye this day whom you will serve, but for me and my house we will serve the Lord. And So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin. [Joshua 24:15; James 4:17]
Another verse comes to mind: Is 7:9 If your faith does not remain firm, then you will not remain secure.
1 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 18 and we might add 2Chron 19:2-3 to this reading.
In these chapters, we read about the end of the wicked king Ahab in battle. The prophet Micaiah’s words came true. In addition, God reveals to us the character quality of a double-minded man in King Jehoshaphat. He was basically one of the good kings of Judah, but he had a fault. He compromised and allied himself with King Ahab. After Ahab dies and Jehoshaphat is returning home, the prophet Jehu meets him with this question: “Is it right to help the wicked and be an ally of those who oppose the Lord? Because you have done this, the Lord is angry with you! Nevertheless, you have done some good things; you removed the Asherah poles from the land, and you were determined to follow God.
Like Jehoshaphat, when we compromise and do not call sin, a sin and we fail to stand strong and stand apart from the crowd, we pay the price. James wrote about this: a double-minded man is one whose faith is weak, is a doubter, and wavers. That was Jehoshaphat. Over and over we see this played out in times past and in our own country. When we fail to call sin, a sin we reap the fruit of unrighteousness.
Life lesson: do not make alliances with evil; you will pay the price down the road.
1Kings 20-21 These two chapters prove this lesson: God is merciful whether you are a believer or an apostate. [Matt 5:45] God’s mercy wasn’t because of anything Ahab did but to show how He blessed faithful Elijah and Obadiah.
Ahab had seen God at work on Mt. Carmel and the destruction of the prophets of Baal, yet when faced with an adversary, he forgets this powerful lesson! Ben Had is another king whom God will use to prove His power as an example for Ahab. Still, Ahab does not seek God but foolishly makes a treaty with this apostate king. Indeed “The mouth of a fool is his ruin, and his lips are a snare for his life.” [Prov 18:7] In all of this, Ahab never praises God for his protection and provision. So, to get his attention, God sends a godly prophet to Ahab to remind him that death lay ahead if he did not humble himself. And how did Ahab respond? Instead of humbling himself, he went home to Samaria bitter and angry.
Both kings refused God’s mercy, thinking they knew best. God is sovereign; no one can rival his works and mighty deeds. [Deut 3:24]
Have you seen the mercy of God in your life? Beloved, we either will bow the knee to God now or in eternity. Which will you choose to do?
1Kings 17-19 Do you grumble? If you say yes, you are just like King Ahab who grumbled about Elijah and about a drought. Like many, we grumble and do not thank God for His provision. To teach Ahab that He, not Baal, is the God of the universe, God would use his faithful prophet, Elijah, and a drought. Elijah is a man of God who came out of nowhere to confront King Ahab about his lifestyle.
After the confrontation, God protected and provided for Elijah in dire situations because nothing is too hard for God for that is his name: Jehovah Jireh, our provider. He sent Elijah to a place of refuge from the wicked king and queen at the brook Cherith. There, ravens brought him food every day until the brook dried up. Then God sent him to a widow in Zarephath. God again provided oil and flour day after day. But when the widow’s son died, both she and Elijah needed the only resource left: prayer. It was the faithful prayer of Elijah that restored the child to the woman. In the meantime, while all of this was going on, God provided a simple man named Obadiah to protect and provide for a hundred of God’s prophets.
Step by step, God provided for every need. If He could use unclean ravens, an unnamed widow, or an Obadiah, will He not provide for your every need? Do you trust Him to take care of your essentials or are you just grumbling like Ahab?
1Kings 15-16, 2Chron 17 Asa may not have been the perfect king, but it seems he did one thing right; he raised a godly son Jehoshaphat, who took his place. He reigned in Jerusalem and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps. He sought the God of his ancestors and obeyed his commands, unlike the Israelites. Asa’s son cleansed the land and brought about many godly reforms.
Over in the Israelite kingdom, we read of the progression of kings who followed in the steps of wicked king Jeroboam. Over and over, we read, “he did evil and encouraged Israel to sin.” And over and over, we read, “these sins angered the Lord God of Israel.” Were there godly people there? Was there peace in the land? The author reminds the reader that there were wars continually. The author of this book wants us to see and learn that the king’s sins were predominant, and his leaders followed his lead. As He has done in the past, God sent them wise counselors, yet they were rejected. After two full chapters, the author leaves us at the end of 1Kings 16 to read about Ahab, who did more to anger the Lord God of Israel than all the kings before him.
What are the lessons to be learned from these kings? Like them, we will stand before a holy God to hear our life’s record. What is being recorded in your life story?
2 Chron 14- 16 There are stories about those who start strong yet finish last. In today’s reading, we see Asa start as a faithful king, yet he becomes unfaithful at the end of his life. We struggle with these stories because, in some ways, it is a reflection of ourselves, and we fool ourselves by saying I won’t be like Asa. But, unfortunately, we are more like Asa than we care to admit.
So what went wrong with Asa? What goes wrong with us? Asa is a classic example of how we handle a crisis. It was then that that Asa feared men more than God. The Proverbs author reminds us that “the fear of man is a snare, BUT he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” [Prov 29:25] Like Asa, we allow fear to control our decision-making.
Learn from Asa; don’t fall for the tempter’s lies. Make a conscious decision to do as James says; resist the devil, and he will flee. [James 4:7] Remember this truth: men will fail you every time but God will always be faithful. [Ps 118:8]
We could make a top ten list of why we fail, but at the number one spot is the fear of men. How do you handle the enemy of fear? Share your thoughts.
2Chron 10 -12 Voices can be misleading, or they can lead to the truth. Take a page out of Rehoboam’s life. He is a foolish king who listened, not to the Spirit, but his “boys from the hood.” God gave him wise counselors, but he rejected their wise counsel on having a peaceful transfer of power. Instead of choosing wisdom, he chose war. He forsook wisdom for folly, righteousness for power. The kingdom experienced a “divorce” of a magnitude never before was seen. God hates divorce, and He hated that His beloved kingdom would suffer over a foolish decision.
Rehoboam might have avoided this had he followed the counsel of God as his grandfather David had done. When we listen to the voices of the Tempter, we sacrifice godliness for ungodliness.
Rehoboam rejected the wisdom of God who is ever and always wise and discerning to counsel us aright. Perhaps that is why He put 2Tim 3:16 into His word: Wisdom from scripture is useful for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Learn from the mistakes of Rehoboam. Listen to the voice of the Spirit speaking the words of God. Have you experienced the indwelling Spirit of God? Are you listening to His voice?
1Kings 14 The gecko in the garden tries to fool by staying still and changing his coat to match the plant. He thinks you can’t see them, just like King Jeroboam thought he could fool the prophet Ahijah. When the little prince was very ill, Jeroboam sent his wife to Ahijah disguised as an ordinary woman. What Jeroboam didn’t know was that the old prophet was now blind. Yet, God would be Ahijah’s eyes.
Is. 46:9 says, “Truly, I am God, I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me.”
Our disguises do not fool God. Even blindness cannot fool God. We may change our clothing, put on a new face, but God sees us as we are. God sees our heart. He sees our motives. He sees the situation.
Do you attempt to conceal yourself out of shame, thinking the world doesn’t know you as a believer? Jesus reminded us: “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” [Luke9]
And also, this is true; if God wants someone to know us, He will reveal who we are. Are you trying to hide behind a disguise? Come out and let the world know who you are.
Prov 31 As we close Proverbs, we come to the last chapter filled with snippets of advice of a queen mother to her son. Every mother desires their child to be wise and discerning and even more so God desires that for their children. Therefore, God purposed that Prov 31 and 2Tim 3:16 should be intertwined in purpose and thought. “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The Holy Spirit inspired different authors to record the very words from God as His gift that we might seek Him and find Him and become His children. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” [Rom 10:9-10]
The mother in Prov 31 took time to instruct her son in the ways that would bring him success. Even greater is the Lord God Almighty who instructs his children in the ways of wisdom as we live and walk in this world. And even greater is this truth: we are known by Him because we have His free gift of salvation and we have the promise “But if someone loves God, he is known by God.” [1Cor 8:3]
Therefore, step aside today and ponder this chapter.
1Kings 10-11 With Solomon on the throne, the world witnessed how God was at work in Jerusalem. God came to the new king, spoke to him, and blessed him with wealth and wisdom. The news of the new king and his blessing spread from Jerusalem to many nations until it reached the ears of the Queen of Sheba—-yet she was skeptical. She could not believe what others had said and decided to see for herself. Is that what others say when they see our lives transformed by the Holy Spirit’s work? Do they come asking us what God has done?
When the queen came, she plied Solomon with many hard questions. Because God had blessed him, he was able to answer all of her questions. End of story, the Queen was amazed; all that she had heard was true, and she returned to her own country with the wisdom of God echoing in her heart because Solomon had told her what Job knew: “the fear of the Lord—that is wisdom.” [Job 28:28]
Fast forward to the book of Acts, where we read about the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God anointed men and women to transform their life. When others hear of our spiritual transformation, do they come like the Queen to understand what God has done? Do they walk away saying, “The report I had heard was true!” Do they leave praising God?