Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Philippians 4: 6, 7, The Message Bible
“Oh, for the grace to be quiet! Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. We may be sure that every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in. Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat King of Judah, and reigned twelve years…and Mesha King of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the King of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the King of Moab rebelled against the King of Israel…and he (Jehoram) went and sent to Jehoshaphat the King of Judah, saying, ‘The King of Moab hath rebelled against Moab to battle?’ And he (Jehoshaphat) said, ‘I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.’”
II Kings 3: 1 -7, K.J.V.
“Fool Me Once, Shame On You,
Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me!”
“Only he (or she) who believes is obedient.
Only he (or she) who is obedient believes.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (1937)
After reading Today’s Study Text, what problems do I identify in the relationship between Jehoram and Jehoshaphat?
Have I ever hooked up with someone whose allegiance was to Baal and found it difficult for our partnership to succeed?
“Ask yourself, does my Heavenly Father set before me a path of obedience along which the Spirit and power of Christ cannot lead me?”
Evan Henry Hopkins
“We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Acts 5: 29, K.J.V.
“Choose God’s ways at every opportunity.”
Over the last few weeks, as I have been preparing the devotionals on Elisha, I really focused, first and foremost, on his ministry of miracles, for many of these supernatural events were performed to benefit the lives of women and children, just as we find happened when Jesus was on earth.
However, this past week, I decided to do some repeat reading of the book of II Kings and much to my surprise and instruction, I noted I had skipped right over II Kings, Chapter 3, simply because I did not identify the happenings in the chapter as dealing with the lives of women in particular.
However, in reassessing the truths in II Kings, Chapter 3, I want to spend the next few days studying this chapter for it contains great enlightenment specifically regarding the character and behavior of our heavenly Father and His request for His children on earth to obey His Word.
When Chapter 3 begins, as our study text today informs us, Jehoram, the son of the wicked Ahab, began to reign over Israel. The only “compliment,” if you can call it that, about this young man with Ahab and Jezebel’s DNA running through him, is that in II Kings 3: 2, we are told that, “he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.” This would be like saying someone was not a serial murderer, instead they only killed one person. The Bible also continues by sharing the fact that Jehoram fell into the wayward behavior of the first King of Israel, Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin.
But we find that right at the beginning of his reign, he ran smack-dab into a problem. It seems the King of Moab, who was under the control of Israel, decided he wasn’t going to pay tribute, or in this case provide sheep and rams to Israel anymore. Jehoram couldn’t let this rebellion stand, so after numbering Israel, and finding out that he had quite a large country to rule, Jehoram dialed up his colleague in Judah, “good King Jehoshaphat,” and said, “Will you join me in putting down Moab’s rebellious ways?” This is one of those times when we find that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” so to speak.
For some unknown reason, Jehoshaphat didn’t just agree to help, he went out on a limb with this flattering lip-service: “’I’m with you all the way,’ said Jehoshaphat, ‘My troops are your troops, my horses are your horses. Which route shall we take?’” (II Kings 3: 7, The Message Bible).
Now let’s get this straight, King Jehoshaphat is described by the Scripture as one who himself followed God but, and this is a big but, when it came to political expediency, this wasn’t the first time King Jehoshaphat became, “his usual compliant self,” as Dale Ralph Davis shares in referring to King Jehoshaphat’s behavior in I Kings 22: 4 when he hooked up with Ahab in battle, telling him the same thing he said to his son years later, “I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses” (I Kings 22: 4, K.J.V.).
Guess what, the first time around, the battle turned into a big fiasco with Ahab being killed. You would think King Jehoshaphat would have learned something about getting into an alliance with a family of Baal-worshipping, God-rejecting kings in Israel, but no, the second time around, the good king jumped into a relationship with Jehoram just as fast as he had with Ahab.
I wondered to myself, “Why would King Jehoshaphat expect the outcome of this joint effort to turn out any better the second time around?” Well, come back tomorrow to find out what happens. And while you are at it, I would like you to ask yourself a question I’ve put to myself on more than one occasion: “If I disobey God’s instructions and hook-up with those who He has warned me will cause me heart-ache and pain, why in the world do I expect a positive outcome from an ‘unequally yoked union?’”
Whether it is business or personal, so often I have found myself believing that somehow I can beat heaven’s law-of-averages! I can make a forbidden situation work, no matter how many times God has warned me that evil and good don’t mix, even when it was Israel and Judah – family members at the core - but unbelievers versus believers at heart.
What a lesson for us today in all that we undertake in our lives, for as Andrew Murray so perceptively notes, “The blessedness and the blessing of God’s Word is only to be known by doing it.”
“But if obedience, Lord in me do grow, I shall one day be better than I know.”
George MacDonald, (1880)
“My Father, teach us not only Your will, but how to do it. Teach us the best way of doing the best things, lest we spoil the end by unworthy means.”
J. H. Jowett
“Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.
Grant us ears to hear;
Eyes to see,
Wills to obey,
Hearts to love;
Then declare what You will,
Reveal what You will,
Command what You will.
Demand what You will.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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