II Chronicles 19-20
We could use a little Jehoshaphat-speech today, couldn’t we? He establishes judges throughout the land, and reminds them of their responsibilities.
“Now then let the fear of the Lord be upon you; be careful what you do, for the Lord your God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or a taking of a bribe.”(19:7)
Don’t you wish that all of our judges today would heed that advice? If they would, our world wouldn’t be in such a mess.
Now we come to a story which is a pillar of faith for us…and very instructional, if we take note.
Jehoshaphat suddenly comes under attack. Several armies have aligned and they are marching to battle against Judah. Jehoshaphat is afraid, but he knows what to do. He turns to the Lord, and proclaims a fast throughout Judah. Then he asks for a word from God as to the necessary of action.
“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, for our eyes are upon you.”(20:12)
So the spirit of the Lord comes upon a prophet and gives direction.
“Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s”(20:15).
Jehoshaphat and his assembly kneel and worship the Lord, and stand up to praise Him.
So early in the morning, they go out to meet the armies in battle, but the warriors don’t go first; the singers and praisers go first, proclaiming the mercy of the Lord.
As the praisers go forward, the Lord sends ambushments against the armies and they are routed. What a day! It doesn’t say what the “ambushments” are. They may be hallucinations, or angels, or confusion. When God shows up, He can get the job done.
After the aggressive armies leave, the army of Judah spends three days gathering all of the treasure left by the fleeing ones. What a rout!
Now we can use these principles in our daily battles. We don’t have foreign armies invading our territory, but we do have our enemy, the devil trying to do it. He comes after us through our minds, attempting to bring temptation or fear. Or through others at work, or sometimes even our families.
If we turn to the Lord and ask for His wisdom on the issue, He will show us the way out of the battle. In fact, He will turn the battle on the enemy, and we will be left in a better state than before.
The keys are to praise Him, listen to Him, and do what He says. If we lead every battle with praise and obedience, we will win!
A new commandment comes as Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure.
“Love one another, even as I have loved you…By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”(V. 34-35)
There are several words for “love” in the Greek and used in the New Testament. One means brotherly love, another means romantic love, but this one is different. This word is “agapeo,” which means “love like God loves.”
God loves in a different way. His love is full of mercy and compassion. It is also full of honesty.
If we love only with the “brotherly love,” we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. If we see grave error in their lives, we overlook it, thinking they have a right to their own opinion.
God’s type of love is more like a parent’s love. As parents, we always are looking for the best in our children, but if they are playing in the street, we get them out. We love them – and we want their safety. God’s love wants our safety.
There are times when humanistic ideology mixes up these types of love. The adherents to this ideology think if you ever speak the “truth” to someone, you are judging them. I say, if you are really a friend – the way God is your friend – you will speak the truth.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean we go around bossing and correcting everyone. But occasionally we will encounter a friend about to get themselves into real trouble. God’s love will confront – in a compassionate way, and offer prayer. Definitely, there needs to be God’s leading as we do it.
When we are moving along a path of error, our Father God’s love is right there, wanting so much to help us to get on the right path. When we repent and turn, His love then empowers us to continue our righteous walk with mercy and truth.
God’s love is real, honest, and empowering. That’s the love we are to represent to the world. It’s something to think about, isn’t it?