What’s Wrong With These Pictures?

Bible Readings for the day: 2 Chronicles 18:28-21:3, 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, Psalm 102:12-7
Meditational Readings: 2 Chronicles 18:28-34; 20:1-4, 24-26; 21:1-3

Pastor's Ponderings IllustrationPicture #1–2 Chronicles 18:28-34
28  So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
8:29  And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.
30  Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.”
31  As soon as the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; God drew them away from him.
32  For as soon as the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
33  But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
34  And the battle continued that day, and the king of Israel was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening. Then at sunset he died.

In yesterday’s reading Jehoshaphat consulted with a true prophet of the Lord as to whether or not he should unite his forces with Ahab and go up against Ramoth-gilead.  The prophet, speaking for the Lord, spoke of death and destruction for Judah (and the northern kingdom of Israel).  Jehoshaphat consulted the Lord, found out his will, and instead of walking away, decided to accompany Ahab on his quest.  Why?  Is it because Jehoshaphat thought he knew more than the Lord?  I’m often that way when I sin.  I know the Lord’s will (as clearly revealed in his written Word, the Bible); but I decide to go my own way anyway!  I often delude myself into disregarding God and his will because I know better.

Is it because Jehoshaphat had too much pride to walk away?  I think this is probably the case.  All of the pomp and splendor, all of the mighty armies in the field, all of the power and glory of Judah and Israel, united once more in a quest, probably brought forth Jehoshophat’s pride, a pride so powerful that he couldn’t walk away and “loose face”.

No matter what the reason, Jehoshophat consulted the Lord, received his answer, and proceeded to disregard the Lord’s will!  What’s wrong with this picture?

There is another thing wrong with this picture:  Ahab decides to disguise himself when he goes into battle.  He doesn’t wear his regal robes, which will give him away in the midst of the fighting, but he tells Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes.  And Jehoshaphat did it!  Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb!  Everyone in the enemy army zeroed in on Jehoshaphat, including the charioteers.  Kill the king and the army falls to pieces.  Was Jehoshaphat crazy?  If Ahab told me to do that, I’d laugh at him and probably take my army and go home!  Did Jehoshaphat do it because of pride, a great pride?  Perhaps.

I see too much of myself in this passage.  Knowing God’s will, I get my pride up and go my own way, even though I know it’s wrong!  Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me my pride in and through Jesus, my Savior!

Picture #2–2 Chronicles 20:1-4, 24-26
1  After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle.
2  Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi).
3  Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4  And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD…
…24  When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.
25  When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much.
26  On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day.

In this passage we see that Jehoshaphat did it right (this time)!  When confronted by the overwhelming enemy forces, Jehoshaphat did not become prideful, he became downright humble and sought the Lord, begging him to deliver his people from this dire calamity.  Jehoshaphat knew one thing:  he was in no position to battle the enemy because he would lose.  God did what he could not do.  Even before the battle was joined, the enemy was defeated, defeated by the Lord himself.

Picture#3–2 Chronicles 21:1-3
1  Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son reigned in his place.
2  He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
3  Their father gave them great gifts of silver, gold, and valuable possessions, together with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn.

If you remember back, King David was not the oldest son in his family; Solomon was not the oldest male in his family.  God chose David and Solomon as king over Israel (the united kingdom).  In this passage we see Jehoshaphat choose his successor based on primogenit0r (the oldest son receives the kingdom).  Israel no longer chooses its kings according to God’s standards, but according to the world’s standards.  And what did Jehoram do?  As soon as he was in control, he executed all of his (half-) brothers and some of the (nonroyal family) leaders of Judah. (That’s in tomorrow’s reading).  Israel adopts the world’s standards for choosing its king and the king uses the world’s ways to keep control — including murder!  What’s wrong with this picture?

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at https://gslcsuffield.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/sermon-archive-2010-2011/

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  http://www.gslcsuffield.com

If you liked this post in any way, please think about sharing it on your social media sites.  This is an effective way to evangelize on the internet.  You can also friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.kerner

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