Without the blessing of God, our worship is empty. We must look for God’s blessing in the place of worship. What we must pray for is this: ‘the glory of the Lord filled the House of God’ (2 Chronicles 5:14). We must look for God’s blessing in the pulpit, praying that the preachers of God’s Word will be ‘clothed with salvation’. We must look for God’s blessing in the pews, praying that all of God’s people will ‘rejoice in His goodness’ (2 Chronicles 6:41). Where does the blessing come from? - It comes from this: God is ‘good’ and ‘His steadfast love endures for ever’ (2 Chronicles 5:13). All of our praying for the Church can be summed up in this prayer: ‘O Lord God... Remember Your steadfast love...’ (2 Chronicles 6:42). More than anything else, we must pray for this: ‘God’s love... poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit...’ (Romans 5:5).
In 2 Chronicles 17:3, we read of backsliding - in David, Asa and Jehoshaphat. ‘Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of his father David’(Authorized Version). David, Jehoshaphat’s ancestor, started off so well - ‘the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power’. Things fell apart for him when he set his eyes upon Bathsheba (1 Samuel 17:13; 2 Samuel 11:2-5). ‘Jehoshaphat walked in the earlier ways of his father’(Revised Standard Version). Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father, began well. He did not finish well (2 Chronicles 14:2; 2 Chronicles 16:12). ‘In his early years Jehoshaphat walked in the (good) ways that his father David had followed’ (New International Version). Sadly, he lost his way - ‘he made a marriage alliance with Ahab’, ‘a man... who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 18:1; 1 Kings 21:25). It can happen to anyone! We must be careful!
‘I have the desire to do what is good , but I cannot carry it out... When I want to do good, evil is right there with me’ (Romans 7:18,21). In 2 Chronicles 19:2-3, we see the two sides of Jehoshaphat. In his heart, he wanted to do God’s will, seeking and serving Him. Sadly, however, he did not always follow the promptings of God’s Spirit. He allowed himself to be influenced by ‘those who hate the Lord’. The godly side of Jehoshaphat - ‘O Lord... our eyes are upon You’ - was in conflict with his sinful side - ‘Jehoshaphat... made an alliance with Ahaziah... who was guilty of wickedness’ (2 Chronicles 20:5-12,35). ‘The desires of the flesh... and the desires of the Spirit... are opposed to each other...’. ‘Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature’ (Galatians 5:16-17). May God help us to live His way.
During the reign of King Josiah, there was spiritual revival (2 Chronicles 34:33). Where did this spiritual revival come from? It came from God. It came from the rediscovery of God’s Word. Where was the Word of the Lord found? - It was found ‘in the House of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 34:15). God speaks to us through His Word. Beyond the written Word, there is Jesus Christ, the living Word. The Word of God is preached to us. We listen for the Voice of Jesus Christ, the true and living Word of God. God is speaking His Word in power. This is much more than the opening of a book. It is the opening of our hearts to the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5). It is the opening of our hearts by the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit, ‘rivers of living water’ flow out from our hearts (John 7:37-39).