May 15, 2007
II Chronicles 18-20
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- Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
- And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead.
- And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.
- And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.
- Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand.
- But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
- And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
- And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
- And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.
- And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
- And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good.
- And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.
- And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.
- And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?
- Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.
- And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
- Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
- And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
- Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?
- And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.
- Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
- Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
- And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
- Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
- And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
- And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.
- So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
- Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel.
- And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.
- For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
- And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
- And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.
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- And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
- And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.
- Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.
- And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.
- And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,
- And said to the judges, 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.
- Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.
- And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.
- And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.
- And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king's matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.
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- It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
- Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
- And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
- And 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 Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
- And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
- Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
- And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
- If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
- And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
- Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
- O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
- And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
- Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
- And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
- To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
- Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
- 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.
- And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
- And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
- And when he had consulted with the people, 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 set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
- For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
- And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
- And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.
- And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
- Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
- And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.
- 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.
- So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.
- And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
- And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD.
- Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.
- Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.
- And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:
- And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
- Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
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Thought for the day:
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chapter 18 Jehoshaphat, the good king of Judah, was asked by Ahab to join with him in a battle against the Syrians. He consented to do so, and it was during this conflict that Ahab was mortally wounded in fulfillment of the prophecies of God.
Chapter 19 opens with Jehoshaphat returning to Jerusalem in peace. He was met on the way by the prophet Jehu who greeted him with these words,
"Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD."
The following verse tells us that Jehoshaphat had indeed done much good, particularly because he removed the high places that so many other kings neglected and he because had a desire to follow after the Lord. Yet he had made an error in judgment, and God took him to task over it.
Jehu's rebuke was two-fold. First, he reminded Jehoshaphat that he had no business giving assistance to the ungodly. While we know that the Bible tells us to do good to all men (
Gal. 6:10), Jehoshaphat's problem was that he was not simply helping out a "friend in need", but he was attempting to help to bring prosperity and material blessing to a king who's hatred for Jehovah was legendary. It is one thing to help someone in the hopes of bringing them to Christ. It is quite another thing to assist someone's rejection of the Lord. For example, it would not be wrong to help someone out who is having a financial problem, even if that person is unsaved. However, if the man is in financial trouble because he chooses to waste his paycheck on alcoholic beverages and gambling, then the Christian who continually bails him out financially is unwittingly encouraging him to continue his vices. In this incident, Ahab would not ask God for help, so he asked Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat enabled him in his rebellion by coming to his aid. It is always wise to check our motives when we help someone, but in this passage it is clear that we ought to check their motives as well. If we are encouraging sinful behavior through our assistance, then we are doing wrong.
Jehu's second question asked if Jehoshaphat should "love them that hate the Lord?" Throughout the Scriptures the believer is commanded to "love not the world." We are instead required to love God and love the brethren. If that is the case, then why would we love those that despise the One that we supposedly love the most? For example, if I had an acquaintance who disliked my wife, and who spoke evil about her and mocked the things that she did, I don't believe that I would want to spend any time with that person. If a friend blasphemed my wife's name and character, I would want nothing to do with that "friend" anymore. Yet we see people who claim to love the Lord spend the vast majority of their time with people who hate the same Lord. They hang around with blasphemers and those who mock the Scriptures. They derive enjoyment from the vile Hollywood entertainment industry. Then they show up at church Sunday morning and sing "Oh, How I Love Jesus" just as if they really meant it. As James said,
"My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (
Who are you helping, and why? Is your assistance being used by the ungodly as an excuse to continue to rebel against the Lord? If it is, stop helping them. Do your actions indicate that you love the ungodly far more than you love Christ? Take time to evaluate who it is that you really love, and decide Who should be receiving the sacrifice of your life.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery