Archive for the ‘II Chronicles’ Category

23
Oct

II Chronicles 20

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You might be quick to judge and criticize Jehoshaphat for his inconsistency, for in this portion you see him acting with great faith and utter dependence upon Me in the face of a great crisis.  And you see that his faith is based upon his turning to Me and seeking My Word, for he confesses that he and his people do not know what to do in the face of the threat of the great army that is coming against them.  Nevertheless he declares “Our eyes are upon You.”  And you see how his faith influences all of the people and how it is rewarded with an amazing victory.  But are you not amazed that after all of this and after the rebuke of My servant the prophet for his aligning himself with wicked Ahab that he once again enters into a venture with his wicked son Ahaziah?  You see how that as I judged his alliance with Ahab with disaster and defeat, I also judged his alliance with Ahaziah.  But I want you to notice a great difference in the conduct of Jehoshaphat, for as in the face of the threat of the army coming against him he turned to Me, sought My help, humbled himself before Me, received and obeyed My Word, yet in the case of his alliance with Ahab he disregarded My Word even though he requested it.  And in the case of his alliance with Ahaziah, he did not even seek My Word or enquire of Me.  Now I challenged you not to be so quick and ready to criticize Jehoshaphat, for have you not with more revelation, with greater manifestation of My grace, even with the witness of My Spirit within you on occasion have been as inconsistent as Jehoshaphat?  Have you not in times of distress sought Me, received My Word, humbled yourself before Me, obeyed what I have said, and received the blessing?  Have you not at other times chosen your own way even though My Word has declared that you are not to lean upon your own understanding but to trust Me with all your heart and acknowledge Me in all your ways?  And have you not in such times of disregarding My Word not experienced even the full measure of the consequences of that disobedience only because My mercy is greater than all of your sin?  But recall that My Word declares that these things were written for your instruction so that you may be warned and corrected from going your own way.  And you see clearly that your potential for doing this is no less than that of Jehoshaphat.  So let his life and My dealings with him be both a warning for you to avoid your own way and an encouragement for you ever to seek My way.  Just as surely as you see the consequences of both choices in the life of Jehoshaphat, so shall you be warned and kept more and more from the inconsistency represented in him, and also encouraged towards the faith, submission, and obedience also represented in him.   

23
Oct

II chronicles 12

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I want you to consider what Rehoboam didn’t have and what he did have as a result of not setting his heart to seek Me.  You will recall that when I offered to give his father Solomon that for which he asked, that he asked for wisdom, and he asked this, as My Word declares, because he wanted that wisdom in order to lead My people and not in order to become famous or to gain for himself.  But Rehoboam never sought for such wisdom.  You do not read that he recognized that he needed it in order to lead My people, and that he recognized that wisdom came from Me.  And thus you see in the record of his life that he lacked that wisdom.  The result of that lack brought much disaster, including the division of the kingdom, constant warfare with Jeroboam and the northern kingdom, the forsaking of My law, idolatry and finally judgment in the conquest by Shishak.  And you see in all of this that though he humbled himself in some measure to submit to My judgment, his heart was never changed by the disastrous consequences of his decisions and actions.  And this was something bad that he did inherit from his father Solomon.  For the record tells that he also forsook Me and My ways and never repented so as to turn back from his sin.  And you see that same pattern of forsaking My way and the lack of repentance that was true of Solomon was also true of Rehoboam.  You might ask could he not after all of My dealings and judgment and My Word being sent to him through My prophet have recognized the bad consequences of his decisions and deeds and have turned back in repentance?  But you see that the obstacle to doing this was in his heart.  For though I dealt bountifully with him and gave him the strength to establish himself and his rule, he chose to be unfaithful to Me and to influence the people to follow in his unfaithful ways.  Some might say it was because of the influence of his idolatrous mother and his wayward father, but you must not conclude that the whole story is explained by such influence, though indeed that had an affect upon him.  You read in My Word of other kings such as Josiah, Joash, and Hezekiah who had wicked fathers, and yet they chose to follow in My ways and turn from that wickedness.  No, the results of Rehoboam’s sin, of his evil and unfaithful ways are not to be explained in full by the influences of his father and his mother.  For I sent him messengers of truth and gave him blessings and opportunities to follow in My ways.  But it declares he did not set his heart to seek Me.  This was his choice and that choice was what ultimately made the difference between choosing My way or going his own way.  But I want you to recognize that this was not only true of King Rehoboam and of any leader, but also of any man or woman.  So I want you to conclude from this how very important it is for you and for any who would follow My ways to set your heart to seek me.  Everything that is good will flow from that and everything that is evil will flow from the lack of that.

There is a lesson to learn from Jehosaphat’s blessing and prosperity.  It declares here that he followed the example of his father in his earlier days and he did not seek the Baals.  Thus he was blessed because unlike the kings of Israel and some of his forebears in Judah, he turned from idolatry and sought to follow My commandments.  But he sent his officials and the Levites and the priests to teach My law to the people.  And you see that not only did I prosper him, but I put My dread upon all the kingdoms around Judah so that they not only did not make war against Jehosaphat, but some of them brought gifts to him.  But I want you to see that with all of this, with all of My blessings and with all of his diligence to follow My commandments, yet afterwards he strayed by making an alliance by marriage with wicked King Ahab.  And later he actually went to war with him, contrary to the warning of My prophet.  Now what is the lesson that is so important for you to learn from this?  Is it not that when you are blessed, even by abundance, by prosperity, by protection from potential enemies, and even granted favor in their sight, it is still possible for your heart to stray.  For Jehosaphat  became dull by being overly satisfied with My blessings so that he did not keep his heart attached to Me, the source of those blessings.  And while he even in his sin and waywardness still wanted to consult My Word, when it came it did not bring to his heart the conviction that would have prompted him to repent and turn back.  So then another lesson to learn from this is that if you permit your heart to go astray, it can become hardened and insensitive to My correcting word.  And in such a state, the earlier conviction about obeying My Word and keeping faithful to My commandments is no longer what motivates your heart, even as it no longer motivated the heart of Jehosaphat.  You see how subtle this process really is.  For it did not take place all at once, but little by little.  While the outward observances may seem the same, they lack the same inner motivation and conviction that was present at the beginning of Jehosaphat’s reign, and compromise no longer seemed as bad as it really was.  So then My son and My daughter, blessings should never be an occasion for letting your hearts stray.  Let your satisfaction always come from the deep desire to do My will and to please Me.  And when My Spirit gives witness that your heart is straying because you have become overly satisfied with the blessings rather than with Me, the giver of your blessings, then quickly repent and with godly sorrow turn back to Me.  Let it be in your heart that it would be much better to let go of all the blessings rather than to hold unto them and lose your close walk with Me.    

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