2 Chronicles 19:1–20:37
King Jehoshaphat was a good king in Judah, but not perfect. He aligned himself with the Northern Kingdom of Israel through marriage, and the prophets rebuked him for this – twice in today’s reading (2 Chronicles 19:2; 20:37; see 1 Corinthians 15:33).
In chapter 19 we read of a sweeping movement Jehoshaphat led, that included the people of Israel as well. We read in 2 Chronicles 19:4 that Jehoshaphat “…brought them back to the LORD God of their fathers.”
A large part of the movement was the judges Jehoshaphat appointed and the justice he sought. He reminded these judges that they judged for the LORD, not for man (2 Chronicles 19:6). He commanded them to rule in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a loyal heart (2 Chronicles 19:9). He set the justice system in order and said them to “Behave courageously and the LORD will be with the good.” (2 Chronicles 19:11)
Of course, whenever we set our hearts to seek the LORD, the enemy will come against us. Such is the case of Jehoshaphat, and three nations attacked Judah – Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir (Edom). Did you catch their response?
2 Chronicles 20:3–4 (NKJV) “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.”
They went to God in prayer. Not pretend prayer, not poser prayer, not half-heartedly, no, they sought God big-time. I often relate to the words of Jehoshaphat:
2 Chronicles 20:12 (NKJV) “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
Lord, YOU take care of this situation, this opposition, please. I’m not able to do this in my own wisdom and strength, and I don’t know what to do (I find myself there often). But my eyes are on You.
The LORD responded to the faith of this “flock” and gave them such an amazing victory that they didn’t even have to fight in this battle. They only needed to believe (2 Chronicles 20:17, 20).
I love the fact that the musicians led the way and went before the army praising the LORD. Next thing you know Judah’s enemies were fighting amongst themselves, and they destroyed each other.
They named the place of victory the Valley of Berachah. It almost sounds like an oxymoron. A valley usually speaks of something bad. Berachah means “blessing.” But often times those two go hand-in-hand, and God transforms the valleys to victories.
Paul goes on to share our responsibility in getting the gospel out. The people won’t call on Christ unless they believe, and they won’t believe in Him unless they hear of Him, and they won’t hear unless someone preaches to them, and no one will preach unless they are sent. So…let’s be senders of those who are sent by God. And, may those who are sent, answer the call.
Paul closes chapter 10 with a couple of truths, that in one sense, the whole world has heard – the heavens declare the glory of God, and the law is written on their hearts. This is general revelation. But we still need that special revelation, the living Word (Jesus) and the written Word…to be given to those who have never heard.
The second thing is Israel should have known about the Gentiles being saved, because it’s throughout the Scriptures. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:21 and Isaiah 65:1 to prove his point.
Pastor Chuck said, “If the Jews had been paying attention, they would have realized that all God ever wanted to do was to save the world. If they had been listening to His Word, it would have been clear that God wanted to use them to accomplish that.”
The conclusion to the chapter is such a heavy word for me to consider each and every day:
Romans 10:21 (NKJV) “But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’”
Other translations use the words obstinate, stubborn, and rebellious.
O Lord, thank You for Your long-suffering with me, for Your everlasting love. May I be obedient, broken, and completely compliant to You. May I see You as You are…so gracious towards me, beckoning me with open arms all day long.
We see in Romans 11 that God is not done with Israel. Not only does God have a remnant of Jewish believers today, but He will do a sweeping work to save Israel in the future.
As I read my Bible, I find that if a man hardens his heart, God will eventually do the same thing to that heart as He did with Pharaoh. Israel rejected Jesus, so God eventually hardened their hearts, blinded their eyes, and deafened their ears. He only honored their decision and therefore ceased to show them His ways and speak to their hearts, but, this would lead to the salvation of the Gentiles.
It’s interesting how we see this illustrated in a microscopic way as Paul was ministering in the book of Acts he would almost always start with the Jews, in the Synagogue, and when they, in a general sense, rejected the Gospel, he would leave the Synagogue and focus his time and attention on the Gentiles. God has done the same in a wider scope and herein lies the principal set forth in Romans 11.
The Gentiles’ salvation will provoke Israel to jealousy…and one day Israel will believe in Jesus as their Messiah. Paul closes, with the glory of such a thought:
Romans 11:12 (NLT) “Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.”
We’ll see in Revelation 7 the 144,000 Jewish evangelists unleashed on the world during the Tribulation Period…bringing people to Jesus.
David praises God for how good the King has been to this king.
The shepherd from that little town of Bethlehem was crowned with a crown of pure gold, ruling God’s people from Jerusalem. Wow!
The Lord had defeated all of David’s enemies (who also were God’s enemies) (Psalm 21:8-9).
Psalm 21:2 (NKJV) “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah”
The above passage inspires me to keep praying for the desires God has placed in my heart.
Psalm 21:11 (NKJV) “For they intended evil against You; they devised a plot which they are not able to perform.”
What a comforting truth! The enemy has evil intentions, he even devises plans against us, but as we abide in Christ, and simply stay in the shadow of God’s wings, the enemy is unable to perform what he has planned. We seem to always go back to:
Romans 8:31 (NKJV) “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
And this is why we sing… (Psalm 21:13).
Proverbs 20:4 (NKJV) “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; he will beg during harvest and have nothing.”
Another exhortation repeated frequently in the Proverbs, don’t be lazy. Work hard, even when it’s cold outside, otherwise the day will come when we’ll have a whole lot of nothing.
Proverbs 20:5 (NKJV) “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”
Now, this might mean we draw it out of others, or we draw it out of ourselves…which is fascinating
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “…a discerning person can help another bring to the surface his true thoughts, intentions, or motives. Often a wise counselor can help a person examine his true motives…thoughts he may not fully understand otherwise.”
Now, the Hebrew word translated “counsel” does mean just that, counsel, or advice, and here the Proverbs tells us it’s like deep water. It can be challenging to get to that particular water drawn out.
But – a man of understanding is able to. So whether it’s counsel for yourself, or counsel for others, make sure to dive deep into God’s Word, let the pail of prayer go far into that well, and you watch, God will give you that wisdom from above.
Proverbs 20:6 NKJV) “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”
Faithfulness is all God asks of us. We read in:
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV) “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Most men toot their own horn and boast of their own goodness (at least deep down inside), but true faithfulness is are rare commodity nowadays. Just saying…
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.