Wednesday, February 21, 2007considerations from 2 Chronicles...
(To get the most out of this post, it will be necessary for you to read 2 Chronicles chapter 17 to chapter 21 and verse 7)
In a series of sermons on the topic of the revivals in the kingdom of Judah, my pastor shared with us this most relevant teaching from the book of 2 Chronicles. The account under review involves, primarily, three men: Ahab (king of Israel), Jehoshaphat (king of Judah), and Micaiah (prophet of the Lord). Now while Judah is a tribe of Israel, the complete kingdom of Israel was split due to a civil war which had taken place roughly 50 years prior to the action of our Text. Judah and Benjamin, two of the twelve tribes of Israel formed a kingdom to the South, while the other ten tribes formed another kingdom to the North.
The Lord was, without a doubt, with the Southern kingdom; the Lord gave Judah several godly kings which led the nation towards God. The Northern kingdom didn't get one, single godly king; all of them were wicked wretches which led the 10 tribes into the ways of the heathen, that is, to idolatry. In the portion of Scripture we are currently studying, we have this fact presented clearly. Consider king Ahab of Israel and king Jehoshaphat of Judah:
"And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him." (1 Kings 16:30-33)
"And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance." (2 Chronicles 17:3-5)
Naturally, king Jehoshaphat was leery of evil king Ahab. After years of civil war between the North and the South, Jehoshaphat knew better than to trust Ahab. He knew that if Ahab had the chance, he would surely attempt to conquer Judah in order to set himself as king over all twelve tribes of Israel. That's why Jehoshaphat wisely prepared Judah against Ahab, by directing the priests, the soldiers, and building up defences:
"And they (priests and Levites) taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat... And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem... These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah." (2 Chronicles 17:9-10, 12-13, and 19)
Without a doubt, when Ahab and his armies looked down at the kingdom of Judah, the temptation to go up for a fight wasn't too strong. You think Iraq today is a quagmire? Attacking Judah in those days would have been a disaster! Jehoshaphat had done his job right. By submitting himself to God and His commandments, the Lord gave him wisdom and protection from all his enemies.
All was well in godly Judah, but evil Ahab wasn't the type to give up so easily. The man was thoroughly evil, but he was no idiot. He knew that there was no way to beat Jehoshaphat militarily, so Ahab went by the back door. Ahab here is a perfect type of the devil himself. If the devil can't beat a saint one way, you can rest assured he will try to beat him another way.
Ahab wasn't going to destroy Judah by the sword; rather, he would destroy it with handshake...
(To be continued)