Read - 2 Chronicles Chapter 19
Lets Pray – that God will grant wisdom to us as we study His Words.
To start I want to you think of this. The over arching theme in Chronicles, Ezera, and Nehemiah are – God must be worshiped on His own terms. Not ours. We can only come to God with filthy rags.
1 Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem.
To help clear things up, there was a split in the tribes a bit after King Solomon died. Basically, Israel consisted of 10 tribes, and Judah consisted of 2 tribes. So we see in 2 Chronicles 18 Jehoshaphat, king of Judah allied himself with Ahab, the king of Israel. It seems that Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram married Atheliah, Ahab and Jezebel's daughter. First of all king Ahab did not want to follow the Lords will for Israel. He wanted to follow his own will. This sounds like most of us some of the time. We want it our way, like the Frank Sinatra song, “I did it my way”. Listen to this song enough and you will probably want to do it your way. Maybe in another sermon, I can talk about the music we put into our minds, but that is for another time. So king Jehoshaphat decided to partner with a king that did not follow the Lord. This reminds me of the verse:
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 – Let me read it to you.
14 Do not be bound (or unequally yoked) together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial (Satan), or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Two things here – 1, we see that there is a comparison of opposites and not just a lighter or darker shade of the same things. 2, we see the word harmony. It can refer to music and how it sounds wonderful together, or it can also refer to the fitting of stones in a building. They agree with each other and fit great together. Is our will in harmony with God's will.
The kings get together and Ahab talks Jehoshaphat into attacking the Arameans with him. Well against the words of Micaiah, a prophet of the Lord, they join together to attack the Arameans. The story with Micaiah is that the false prophets of Ahab said they would win the war, but Micaiah said no. Ahab did not like Micaiah, because Micaiah did not prophesy good towards Ahab, only evil. Sounds like King Ahab has a problem following God. Ding, Ding, Ding, Jehoshaphat should have been waking up about this time. Well the battle was not good for Ahab because he ends up dying from a random shot of an archer and Jehoshaphat barely escapes death himself. So that was to help get you up to speed on how chapter 19 begins. Remember, when you read your Bible daily, like I know you do, you need to try to read it in some sort of order, so you understand the context of what you are reading. That is one good reason for expository teaching, like we get here. Like this for example, the story in chapter 19 really starts in chapter 17, when Jehoshaphat becomes king in his father Asa's place. You know, I could grab a verse out of the Bible and probably make it say anything I want if I do not put it in the correct context. One more example. My family and I like to watch Little House and we rent the series from Netflix. Well we can't just pop in the DVD and watch the episodes in any order. If we skip around, we won't know why Laura was so mad at Nelly and we might miss the real reason why Laura socked Nelly in the nose again. The Bible is the same. Read it with some sort of order to truly understand what you are reading. God wrote all of it, so its all full of goodies.
2 Jehu (Yehu) the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord?
This was part of a scolding from the Lord through Jehu. The other part came when he was running for his life. You will bring the wrath of the Lord upon you by helping the wicked and loving those that hate the Lord. I will venture to say that there are some jobs and some associations that Christians should not be apart of. This should include books we read and movies we watch. And like I mentioned before with music. If we put enough trash in our mind, that same trash will begin to spew out of your mouth and heart. Lets take a look at a good athlete and what he does with food. He keeps a watchful eye on the amount and the types of food he puts into his body. So should we as Professional Christians, be watchful of the amount and types of books, music, movies and other sorts of entertainment that we put into our bodies and mind. We also need to be careful of the friends we have, and epically for you parents, we need to be watchful of the friends our children are with. I heard a quote one time that states, “Show me your friends and I'll show you your future”.
3 “But there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.”
AsherimAsheroth – These were sacred stones andor … poles that were Canaanite fertility symbols which played an important role in the people’s depraved nature religion. They were usually set up on the high places . The Asherah poles may have been images of Asherah, Baal’s mother and may have served as incense stands in Baal worship.
High places - “High places” were hills on which Canaanite altars and shrines were placed, possibly so the worshipers of Baal and other gods might have more ready access to them.
Jehoshaphat's heart was basically right up until the time of the alliance with Ahab, he was doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 17:7-9 we see that Jehoshaphat sent teachers through Judah to teach the book of the law of the Lord. This was the kings evangelism team. This was the kings way of showing his people how they should live for the Lord. How would it be in this country if our leaders sent teams out to teach the people about the Gospel of Christ? It probably will not happen in this country, so then that means it is up to us. If your waiting for “someone” to talk to your co-worker, neighbor, or family member, then your wait is up. You are here.
4 So Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem and went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
We see here that the king is once again trying to turn the hearts of the people to the Lord. He has made another step forward and has chosen to go out to the people himself to bring the people back to the Lord. When leaders step up and lead by example by doing what is right and just in the Lords eyes, then the people that serve them will usually follow. This also includes the leaders in our homes. Fathers, we must lead by example. Lead by the way we treat our child’s mother and by the way we treat our children. Are we willing to bring our family to the Lord our self, or do we think that is the pastors job. We have a wonderful church here. A wonderful group of elders and a great teaching elder, but that is not their jobs. They will help to equip you, but you are the feet and the you are the hands of Christ.
5 He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city.
6 He said to the judges, “Consider what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord who is with you when you render judgment.
7 “Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe.”
Jehoshaphat is sending out judges throughout the land to settle any issues that may come between the people. Deuteronomy 16:18-20 clearly stats that this should be done.
Deuteronomy 16:18-20 - Read
18 “You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
19 “You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.
20 “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
I really like the words, in 2 Chronicles 19:6, that the judges are told, “you do not judge for man but for the Lord.” When they render judgment, it is not from the judges, but it is from God Himself. They must always watch what they are doing, because the Lord will not be a part of any unrighteousness. This not only accounts for their official judging time, but this will include the way they live among the people. They must hold themselves above reproach and should hold themselves up to God's standards and not man's standards. I realize that we are not the same judges that are being sent out here, but should we not also hold ourselves up to a higher standard in the lives that we live as Christians. After all we carry the name of Christ himself. And we might be the only hint of Christ that a person may see. Not everyone is born into a Christian family, not everyone will visit a church, not everyone will hear the Good news unless we live the Good news out. Our lives should be different than this world, and not a carbon copy of the world. People need the Lord, not just another version of the world and its lies. I can assure you that the people of Judah knew who the Judges were, and they were watching them. You cannot separate your life into God's time and my time. We are only still on earth breathing, because God allows us. We live on sort of borrowed time. We have been set free from prison because Jesus paid our fine. He owns us, we are His bond-servants and we are now here to do what He wants us to do. I am no longer my own. Now that is by choice and not out of guilt. I follow Christ because I love Him. It is all about His time now.
8 In Jerusalem also Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites and priests, and some of the heads of the fathers’ households of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord and to judge disputes among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
9 Then he charged them saying, “Thus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and wholeheartedly.
“Do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and wholeheartedly”. You can not serve the Lord with half your heart or he may spit you out from His mouth like the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:16. We can not be fooled into thinking that the act of going to Church on Sunday is how we give Him our all. We must live it in our homes, we must teach it to our children. When we sit down to the dinner table we need to have His word open and have discussions about the Lord. When we talk to that single mother working at the grocery store, she needs to know who you follow. The radio stations we listen to and even the clothes we wear, or lack of, do they bring attention to us, or to Christ.
What is it to be wholehearted.
Wholehearted is to be:
completely sincere and committed.
Can we say we are committed to Him. Lets look at an example. If I told my wife, “Darling, I am committed to you most of the time.” What do you think she is going to do or think about me? That is the same thing we do to God if we are not wholeheartedly committed to Him.
10 “Whenever any dispute comes to you from your brethren who live in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and ordinances, you shall warn them so that they may not be guilty before the Lord, and wrath may not come on you and your brethren. Thus you shall do and you will not be guilty.
The judges are being told to warn the people of their actions. That their actions could lead them to their guilt and by showing them the truth, hopefully they will turn from their guilt / sin. Jehoshaphat took on this judicial reform to avert his country men from sinning.
11 “Behold, Amariah the chief priest will be over you in all that pertains to the Lord, and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, in all that pertains to the king. Also the Levites shall be officers before you. Act resolutely, and the Lord be with the upright.”
Here we see that Amariah the chief priest will be in charge of all religious matters and Zebadiah will be in charge of all civil matters. We also see that the Levites are going to be the officials that carry out the decisions of the courts. Don't forget that Jehoshaphat and Judah are trying to avoid Devin punishment for their sins. This could be foreign invasion, internal collapse, revolt, or something similar.
Now the word resolutely, what does that mean.
Well resolute is to be:
be strong, become strong, be courageous,
And the word upright is to be:
Bring the honor to Christ by the way you act, the way you live and who you are. (Point) That is so and so and he is a Christian. He walks the walk, not just on Sunday mornings, but even when no one is looking.
First – We need to make sure that our associations are with the people and things that God would approve. And we do not help the wicked.
Second – We need to turn our heart to seek God.
Third – Make seeking God an action word. Put feet to it in our families, with friends and the people we meet everyday.
Fourth – Consider what you are doing and remember it is for the Lord.
Last – Do it with all your heart. Not just when people are looking, because God is always looking.
Now to close, I would like to talk again about the guilt in verse 10. For some of us, we were shown our guilt and found a way to remove that guilt. His name is Jesus Christ. Our guilt was nailed up on a cross on Calvary. We were made new and washed in His blood. He was not put on the cross by accident or by chance, but this was part of a plan set in motion from the beginning of time. Every word, every story, every person was weaved together by the very hand of God. His son was given as an offering for our sins. So take the offering. If you need to, see me after the service and we can discuss your eternal future.
Thank you, lets pray.