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GOD’S DELIVERANCE OF JUDAH
[2 Chronicles:19:1-11]; [2 Chronicles:20:1-37].
“Let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts” (II Chronicles 19:7).
I Jehoshaphat’s Rebuke and Return to God
1. Jehoshaphat is rebuked for his alliance with Ahab, [2 Chronicles:19:1-3]; [2 Corinthians:6:14-18]; [Amos:3:3]; [Matthew:6:24].
2. Jehoshaphat appoints judges and instructs them to fear the Lord, [2 Chronicles:19:4-11].
II Victory over Moab
1. Judah is invaded by Moab, [2 Chronicles:20:1-2].
2. Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast, [2 Chronicles:20:3-4].
3. Jehoshaphat and Judah pray, [2 Chronicles:20:5-13].
4. God answers Jehoshaphat, [2 Chronicles:20:14-19].
5. Jehoshaphat inspires faith and praises, [2 Chronicles:20:20-21].
6. God fights for Judah, [2 Chronicles:20:22-24].
7. Judah returns rejoicing, and God give peace, [2 Chronicles:20:25-34].
III Another Ungodly Alliance
1. Jehoshaphat joins Ahaziah to make ships, [2 Chronicles:20:35-36].
2. God reproves him and destroys the ships, [2 Chronicles:20:37].
A Separate People
“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” God who called Abraham to leave his kindred and his father’s house to go to a land that He would show him, has ever wanted His people to be separate from the world of sinners. The Lord through Moses told Israel, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” [Exodus:19:5-6]). Ahab was king of Israel and of the seed of Abraham, but he was an idolater, and a murderer. He had imprisoned and killed the prophets of God. On the other hand, Jehoshaphat the King of Judah, had sought the Lord and walked in His commandments. From a natural standpoint they were related, but from a spiritual standpoint they were far apart.
In the World but Not of the World
The love of God must go deeper than that of flesh and blood. The Law commanded: “If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, . . . thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: but thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death” [Deuteronomy:13:6-9]). A Separation unto God in some cases means a separation from our own family and relatives; as Christians, we are in the world but not of the world. We cannot keep ourselves entirely from associating with sinners, as Paul explains: “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world”
[1 Corinthians:5:9-10]). Jesus associated with sinners that He might tell them the way of salvation. He accepted invitations to eat with them and was accused of being a winebibber and a gluttonous man, a friend of publicans and sinners [Matthew:11:19]).
We, too, must associate with sinners to lead them to Christ, but we must not be partakers of their evil deeds. We may work for sinners, or employ them, but must not be partners with them in business. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? . . . Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” [2 Corinthians:6:14-17]).
We, as Christians, are called to separation, and for that reason we do not join lodges or secret orders. Marriage also is a contract, which must not be entered into with an unsaved person; however, when already married, one is not required to separate from an unbelieving husband or wife. (See [1 Corinthians:7:12-13]). It is important that a Christian’s close friends and companions be chosen from those who lead godly lives. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” [1 Corinthians:15:33]). “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” [Proverbs:13:20]). Jehoshaphat made an unwise choice when he chose Ahab as a companion, and he incurred the wrath of God. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God” [James:4:4]).
When Michaiah the Prophet warned Ahab, he had the Prophet put in prison; but we find a different spirit in Jehoshaphat. The Word of God does not give his immediate reaction to the rebuke of Jehu the Prophet, but the next thing that we find Jehoshaphat doing is travelling throughout Judah bringing the hearts of the people back to God. He set up judges and instructed them thus: “Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”
The people of Judah were no doubt in good spiritual condition when the word came to Jehoshaphat that a great multitude was coming against him. It is a great source of satisfaction when an emergency arises to know that we are in good standing with God. It is true that Jehoshaphat feared, but only to the extent that he was stirred to lean harder upon God. He “set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” This was a fast that God honoured; it was not done to be seen of men, but was done in all earnestness and sincerity.
In this national emergency all Judah rallied to the proclamation of Jehoshaphat, “Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. . . . And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” How sweet it must have been in the eyes of God to see all his people united to seek His face! Jehoshaphat stood before them that day and began to acknowledge the power of God; and reminding God of His promises, made his petition known. He confessed his own helpless condition, and then, with hope and faith, concluded, “But our eyes are upon thee.”
No sooner were the words off the lips of Jehoshaphat than the Spirit of God sent the answer, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Our anxious fears depart when we take our problems to God in prayer. We have no cause for concern when we put our trust in God. “The LORD is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” [Psalms:27:1]). “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.” Jehoshaphat did not question the answer that came from God. Oftentimes people are cheated out of great victories by unbelief -– by failing to accept the promises of God. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” [Mark:11:24]).
Not only did Jehoshaphat believe God but he instructed all Judah, “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” After thus instructing Judah, Jehoshaphat proposed one of the most remarkable demonstrations of faith on record. Instead of sending his strong warriors into the front of the battle line, “he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.” “And when they began to sing and to praise,” the Lord began to work for them, and their enemies were smitten. As soon as faith takes hold of the promises and praises start to roll from the lips of one of God’s children, you can be sure that God will perform that which He has promised. Think of it! Not one sword unsheathed, not one spear raised nor bow lifted -– no, not even a stone from a shepherd’s sling – but God gave them the victory. All Judah had to do was to go forth singing, collect the spoils, and return praising God. Their armour was the shield of faith; their sword, the Word of God. Their weapons were mighty and their victory great. “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.”
1. Why was it wrong for Jehoshaphat to help Ahab?
2. What was Jehoshaphat’s reaction to the rebuke of Jehu the Prophet?
3. What did Jehoshaphat do in the interest of good government?
4. What did Jehoshaphat do when confronted with a strong enemy?
5. In what way are we to be separate from the world?
6. How did Jehoshaphat demonstrate his faith in God?
7. What means did God use to defeat the enemies of Judah?
8. Study the prayer of Jehoshaphat and tell why it is a good pattern.
9. What part did Judah play in the battle against her enemies?
10. Why did Jehoshaphat’s shipping-venture fail?