Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2 Chronicles 18-20: Prophecies of Defeat & Victory

2 Chron 18:18-22 Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, 'I will entice him.' 'By what means?' the Lord asked. 'I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the Lord. 'Go and do it.' So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you."

2 Chron 20:14-22 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'" Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice. Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever." As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

Two kinds of kings, and two kinds of prophecies. Ahab decided to retake Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians and asked Jehoshaphat to join him. So Ahab consulted his 400 Baal prophets and they unanimously endorsed his plan. But when Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the prophet of the LORD, Ahab brought the prophet Micaiah who prophesied his doom: "The Lord has decreed disaster for you" (16:22). And so, despite Ahab's attempt to disguise himself to hide from  the Syrians, he died from a random arrow shot by a Syrian soldier. And Jehoshaphat received a rebuke from the prophet Jehu for going to war with Ahab.

Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat faced his own challenge from the Moabites and the Ammonites. Faced with this huge army, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord by organizing a massive prayer meeting involved the young and old, male and females. In the midst of this prayer meeting, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he spoke these memorable words: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's" (20:15). The response of the congregation was worship and praise. And Jehoshaphat himself rose up and declared: "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheldhave faith in his prophets and you will be successful" (20:20). And in demonstration of their faith, they set up the choir to sing ahead of the army to give thanks and affirm God's love for His people: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." And the word of God says: "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated" (20:22).

When faced with any gigantic challenge, we are exhorted to "have faith in God" by doing three things: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." These three responses to life's mountains are not optional: it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Instead of complaining and grumbling, God wants us to a praising people, translated means rejoicing, praying and giving thanks always to God in all circumstances. If we do this, we will be in the will of God and we will be successful.

Lord, help us become a people of praise, prayer and thanksgiving. Amen.

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