July 26

2 Chronicles 17:1–18:34

Other than his alliance with Ahab, King Jehoshaphat was a good king. We read in:

2 Chronicles 17:3 (NKJV) “Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals.”

That’s an awesome commendation! Jehoshaphat sought the LORD as David did in his days.

Something unique about King Jehoshaphat is that he sent Bible teachers throughout the land to instruct the people in the ways of the LORD, “…they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.” (2 Chronicles 17:9).

God blessed him big-time. We read about the establishment of the kingdom, the structural organization, God’s provision, and we even have references to the mighty men in the military (reminds me of David’s army).

King Jehoshaphat was doing so good, until we read in chapter 18:1 about his ungodly alliance through marriage with Ahab, the wicked king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom). 

We read back in 1 Kings 22:44 that Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, made peace with Ahab the king of Israel. Jehoshophat was a good king, but Ahab was an evil king. This was not a wise alliance.

As I read the story I want to give Jehoshaphat the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was trying to win Ahab back to the LORD, knowing the history of Israel. Maybe he was seeking unity in the “family.” He may have had a “good heart,” with good intentions – but it was not good…he lacked wisdom. In life we need to know, there’s a time to unite, and a time to divide.

As Ahab decides to go to war against Syria, he asks Jehoshaphat to join him. Jehoshaphat wholeheartedly agrees, emphasizing their unity (2 Chronicles 18:3) but he asks to hear from a prophet of the LORD (this is God’s covenant name). Is there any left as counselor to the king in Israel? Notice Ahab’s response:

2 Chronicles 18:7 (NKJV) “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD; but I hate him, because he never prophesies good concerning me, but always evil. He is Micaiah the son of Imla.’ And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let not the king say such things!’

The false prophets were predicting victory, words that Ahab wanted to hear. When Micaiah was compelled to speak the truth, he predicted Ahab’s death:

2 Chronicles 18:16 (NKJV) “Then he said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’’”

The king and false prophet mocked him, and even beat Micaiah, but he was telling the truth. It was all part of God’s plan, in allowing lying spirits to be used in the judgment of Ahab. Some might wonder how God could allow demons to do their work, but keep in mind, the truth was also told. A revelation of heaven itself given to Ahab, but he chose NOT to listen to the LORD.

Isn’t it interesting the way God made it clear that it wasn’t Syria who killed Ahab (although that was their intention – to get the king) it was God who judged Ahab. A “random” arrow struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor (2 Chronicles 18:33) even though he disguised himself…and he died.

As we find so frequently in the study of these kings, we learn from what Jehoshaphat did right, and we learn from what he did wrong.

Warren Wiersbe offers this final warning, “…Jehoshaphat married the wrong wife, joined the wrong allies, fought the wrong war, and almost came to the wrong end. By walking “in the counsel of the ungodly” and sitting with the scornful (Psalm 1:1), the king found himself in serious trouble. He had to listen to false prophets and go to battle with a king depending on false confidence. The pressure to conform is greater today than in that day. Are you resisting it? Can you detect the false prophet and his message, or are you impressed with his “visual aids” and pleasing message (2 Chronicles 18:10)? Read the last three verses of Psalm 1 and beware!”

Romans 9:25–10:13

Paul closes chapter 9 acknowledging the Old Testament prophecies concerning the salvation of the Gentiles, as well as the salvation of the remnant of Israel. 

Generally speaking, Israel has rejected their Messiah and we read the reason for that in: 

Romans 9:32 (NKJV) “Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.”

Israel clung to the works of the law, to the legalities of Judaism rather than the mercies of God…they did not seek salvation by faith. They stumbled over the Rock of Salvation, Jesus Christ.

In Romans 10 we see how Paul so desperately and lovingly wanted Israel to be saved. Israel had a zeal for God, but it was a zeal without knowledge. They were trying to reach God with an expired law, they were trying to reach God on their own righteousness…something that can never happen.

We can only be made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ.

Sandy Adams said, “The Jews were lost because they rejected Jesus. They tried to muster their own righteousness, relying on performance and pedigree.” 

How important it is to realize that our good deeds are as filthy rags in the sight of a holy God (Isaiah 64:6).

Sometimes we make it complicated, and yet it’s so simple. It’s right there on the tips of your lips, from the bottom of your heart. Confess Christ as Lord. Believe in your heart that He died for you and rose from the dead…and you will be saved. It’s by faith my friend.

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:11 (NKJV) “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’”

Romans 10:13 (NKJV) “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’”

It’s so simple, it’s salvation by faith.

Some Bible teachers like to divide Romans 9, 10, and 11 like this:

Romans 9 – Israel’s past

Romans 10 – Israel’s present

Romans 11 – Israel’s future

God is not done with Israel, He still has good plans, something we saw in the amazing regathering and restoration of Israel in 1948. Many Jews will be saved and thousands will be used. Israel is a sign to the world and I believe an indicator that Jesus is coming soon.

Are you ready for His return?

Psalm 20:1-9

What a beautiful prayer this is; something we can pray over others.

We’re all going to have those days of “trouble,” may God Himself defend you, help you, and strengthen you.

Psalm 20:4 (NKJV) “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.”

What an awesome prayer that is! God will put desires in your heart and then He will bring them to pass. God didn’t just make you on purpose, He made you with purpose, have you discovered that yet?

Keep praying. God saves and God answers.

Psalm 20:7 (NKJV) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

David closes with a couple of big statements from a king, things he knew firsthand, going back to the day he killed, a lion, a bear, and the giant, Goliath. It’s not our skills or weapons that gives us the victory, it’s God, and in Him we trust. I like the way Kind David even calls the LORD the King in last verse. Yep, Jesus is the King of kings (Revelation 19:16).

Proverbs 20:2-3

Proverbs 20:2 (NKJV) “The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.”

Imagine the wrath of a king! How about the wrath of the King of kings?

If anyone suffers that wrath, they can’t blame it on God. He gave us a conscience and wrote it all down in the Bible about who He is and how we can live. If anyone chooses to go their own way and provoke God to anger, he “sins against his own life,” he did it to himself!

Proverbs 20:3 (NKJV) “It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.”

I’ve been there many times. A word I shouldn’t have said…something dumb I did – and the strife begins. We can all easily start an argument, but how commendable it is if we have the power and self-control to end one. Not just silence, but peace, reconciliation, amends.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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