Saturday, October 23, 2010

Week in Review

Unusual assignments bring miraculous results - Are you taking your position?
Preached in 2007

Today, we will look at some important points through the life of the king Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and he took reign after his father Asa died. A little history about his father, In 2 Chronicles chapter 15 & 16 gives us the end of Asa’s reign. God sent his prophet to Asa and told him to turn to him and he obeyed. Starting with verse 8-12 of chapter 15, Asa became a reformer and turned the people to God. He renewed the altar of the Lord, even though this altar was probably no older than 35 years old, yet it was in disrepair. This shows us, when God’s ways are rejected; we see a quick decaying or death of true worship and devotion. We also see a quick death or decaying of things set aside for God that even includes us. Asa also removed his mother from being queen (vs. 16) because she had made an idol. So Asa was even willing to remove those in places of authority if they were not worshipping the True God. That is what a reformer does he or she removes individuals from a place of leadership that are not willing to allow God total access, no matter what position they may hold. Asa is restoring God’s people to seeking God and bringing their best before him. He has determined to stand for God.

Oh But in the 16th chapter, Asa became comfortable or complacent. When he became complacent, he became distracted. When he became distracted he began to rely on his ways and not Gods. Asa turns from his first love, which was to be a reformer for God and begins to lean to his own understanding. Asa took from the temple of God the gold and used it for his own purpose. As he was taking the gold out of the temple, he was moving further and further away from God. He was taking those things that should have been set-aside for God and using them for his own purpose. God gives gifts and provisions that should be used to build the kingdom, but if we are using them for our own purposes, we too move from God purpose to our own benefit. God had protected Asa against the battle with the Ethiopians. God’s wrath against Asa was that he had shown himself faithful to Asa, yet Asa turned away from the faithful God to rely on lesser things, man. I believe God’s wrath is strongest against his people who know him, and have seen his power and have felt his protection, yet they turn from him to lesser things for help or instruction. Asa relied on the power of someone else other than God and when he was corrected for it, he became angry. He had a tantrum.

I saw a child do the funnies this when he has a tantrum. What he does is he will sit down, fold his arms and close his eyes. I guess he says if I can’t see you, then what ever you say won’t count, you don’t count. After awhile of him keeping his eyes closed, he fell asleep.

So that is what Asa did in a sense. He became angry at the words of correction of God; he sat down, refused to stand for God anymore, folded his arms – a show of defiance, closed his eyes – refusal to see or acknowledge God’s presence and fell asleep - died spiritually. Because of this disobedience, he lost the favor of God. He was diseased and died sick (you can see that at the end of this chapter, vs. 12-13). He refused to turn to God and seek his healing and because of it, he died filled with sickness and disease. He turned to other things for the healing, but the only one that could do it was God and Asa refused, so he dies in his sickness. I don’t know about you, but surely I do not want the sickness of sin to lead to my death, do you?

So this is where Jehoshaphat reign begins. Now let me give you a bit of the history of Jehoshaphat. What amazed me is like Asa; Jehoshaphat had some of the same tendencies. We should note, these tendencies in Asa and Jehoshaphat are also in us. In chapter 17, Jehoshaphat came into power as a reformer. A reformer is someone who brings about a change, improvements, or a transformation. He came in setting things in motion for the Lord. In other words he was waking the people up spiritually to the things of God. He was making them take a stand. They had priest and teachers, before this, but they were not speaking God’s word or teaching God’s truth, so now Jehoshaphat was making improvements so that the people would receive teaching in the ways of God and the priest would function in the ministry of God and no longer be vessels of destruction or following their own ideas and ways. But even as much as God was leading him, Jehoshaphat did the same thing his father did, he turned from his first love, he became comfortable or complacent, he then became distracted and finally he began to rely on his own idea. This tendency in Asa and Jehoshaphat is present in us, when we become comfortable in what we are doing, we can become distracted. Now let me give you an overview of chapter 18, where Jehoshaphat turns to his own ideas (return next week for the next installment).