DEJA-FOO

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MIXED RESULTS

Jehoshaphat is the king of Judah, and serves God willingly.  He wants to have a relationship with the tribes of Israel, but they do not have a relationship with God.  This leaves him in a compromised position.

And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.  And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly,  and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.  Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.  And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.  2 Chronicles 19:1-4

While God is disappointed, he is also merciful to this king who desires to do right.  Jehoshaphat recognizes that his opportunity is still alive in the grace of God.  He moves to lead Judah to righteousness.

And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city,  And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.  Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.  Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem.  And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.  And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in your cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass.  And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.  2 Chronicles 19:5-11

Jehoshaphat placed judges over local affairs, priests and captains over spiritual and government.  All are charged to be under the Lord in all things.  They are being prepared with the breastplate of righteousness for spiritual warfare.  The dark spirit realm is also preparing it’s armies.  Jehoshaphat knows how to respond.

It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.  Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.  And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.  And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.  2 Chronicles 20:1-4

A carnal warfare is shaping up, but Judah enters into spiritual warfare to prepare.  Fasting prepares them for prayer and to receive deliverance by faith from God.  Jehosaphat offers no instructions to God, nor any plan of battle, but only reports for further orders.

And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,  And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?  Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?  And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,  If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.  0And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;  Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.  O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.  2 Chronicles 20:5-12

God promised the land to Israel, so his word is resurrected as assurance of their claim to deliverance.  The people are united in this petition, and a prophet was able to deliver a response from the Lord to them.

And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.  Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;  And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.  And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.  And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.  2 Chronicles 20:12-19

Their orders to battle are just to have a seat in the balcony and watch the show, as God will fight the battle.  Jehoshaphat further exhorts them to stand in faith in God.

And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.  And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.  For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.  2 Chronicles 20:20-23

I have had nightmares where I was able to remember to call on the Lord and rebuke the enemy.  If we can take charge and find victory in our dreams, we can do the same in our real life.  When the army of Judah began to praise God, he honored that with the victory.  Nightmares are about fear, and with enough encouragement to trust God we can manage fear in our sleep and in our daytime battles as well.  We need to be trained to do spiritual warfare.  In this story the spirits of darkness turned away from Judah and turned against the host of their enemies.  Fear begets madness and that turned the axis of darkness against itself.  Faith is our ally, and fear is our enemy.  Let our enemies have their father of lies, and they will destroy each other.

And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.  And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.  And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.  2 Chronicles 20:24-26

The enemies of Israel had probably looted other cities along the path of their warfare.  So when Judah found them dead, they also found the wealth of nations among them.  They had gained peace, security, wealth, and more evidence of God’s faithfulness.  The nations around them also came to fear the Lord from this.

Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.  And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.  And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.  So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.  2 Chronicles 20:27-30

As Jehoshaphat learns to trust God more than alliances or worldly wisdom, he has found the grace and power of God.  If he has not completed the reform of worship completely he has seen this evidence for obedience and faith in God.

And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.  And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD.  Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.  Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.  And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:  And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber.  Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.  1-37

One last time Jehoshaphat has turned to an alliance with the backslidden king of Israel.  He has one last reminder that God does not approve, as his fleet is destroyed.  This is human nature, to return to our failure as a dog returns to his vomit.  We need to look beyond nature to find the supernatural help that we need.  Flesh will always fail while Yeshua will always offer the way of deliverance to the repentant.  We have to ask for help, as he seeks “whosoever will”, the willing.  He doesn’t need our skill or ability, only our willingness to trust him.  He is our source.

GETTING THE POINT

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RANDOM RESULTS

Jehosaphat has moved closer to God and Judah prospers.  Now there is peace between Israel and Judah in spite of their spiritual differences.  Beyond being at peace, Jehosaphat is bonding with the infamous king Ahab of Israel.

Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.  And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead.  And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.  And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day.  Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.  2 Chronicles 18:1-5

So Ahab fills Jehosaphat’s belly with a fine meal for a lot of “feel good”.  Now he makes his sales pitch to join his little war.  Why does Israel need a war?  Jehosaphat has sense to ask God if they should join this expedition.  Ahab is not so discerning and calls false prophets of other gods to forecast success in battle.  Perhaps these “prophets” knew they would be wise to please king Ahab.  They were not non-profit prophets.

But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.  And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.  And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.  2 Chronicles 18:6-9

Do we have to listen to godless false prophets or is there a spokesman for God?  Jehosaphat knows right, but keeps company with wrong.  Ahab knows what to expect from the truth, and reluctantly calls for Micaiah.  All the contenders take a shot.

And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed.  And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.  And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of their’s, and speak thou good.  And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.  And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand.  2 Chronicles 18:10-14

The king’s lackey tells Micaiah to be like everyone else and promise victory to the kings.  Ahab knows better than to believe this good news though.  He has heard from Micah before.  Notice that Micaiah does not presume to say “Thus saith the Lord” as these false prophets have. 

And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD?  Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace.  And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?  2 Chronicles 18:15-17

Ahab asks for the truth, and now Micaiah quotes the Lord with a clear warning of defeat.  Ahab points out the negative response, and Micaiah continues the prophesy.

Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.  And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead?And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.  Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?  And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.  Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.  2 Chronicles 18:18-22

Micaiah clearly reveals the hidden workings of the spiritual realm and his enemies will not hear, but rebuke him. 

Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?  And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.  Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;  And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.  And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath not the LORD spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, all ye people.  2 Chronicles 18:23-27

The prophet is insulted, but not silenced.  The word of God will not fail.  The prophet is turned over to Joash, the son of Ahab.  The same Joash will plague Judah with war in the future.  This alliance will not last and the tribes will be separated again.

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.  And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and I will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.  Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great,  save only with the king of Israel.  And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.  For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.  And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.  And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.  2 Chronicles 18:28-34

Jehosaphat is the trusting soul, and Ahab is trying to hide from the enemy.  He should hide.  This was his bad idea, and his refusal to hear from the Lord.  His enemies know who is at fault here, and seek out Ahab.  They know who the problem is, and won’t even bother with the king of Judah.  God moves them along to their real enemy, and a random arrow took his life.  How many random events are as guided as God intervening to save Jehosaphat?  Was this arrow just as guided as David’s stone?  Ahab got the point of Micaiah’s story.

SON OF JUDAH

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SECOND CHANCE

As I wrote about king Asa I was reminded of my own walk in Yeshua.  I began with such zeal and since mellowed into a bit of laxity.  There are still some high places to be addressed.  I am comforted to have daily repentance and grace, but some things still need to be changed.  Asa’s son has focused on his father’s righteousness, and avoided some of his shortcomings.  I hope someone will notice my good side and ignore the temptation to repeat my mistakes.  As Asa, I hope some spiritual son will stand for truth in my place.

And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.  And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.  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 17:1-5

There is a reward to those who will follow good examples to salvation.  They may press in to overcome the issues that hindered their predecessors.  Asa is moving beyond the errors of the past.

And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.  Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.  And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.  And they 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.  2 Chronicles 17:6-10

Teaching is so essential to success for nations and churches.  How can we leave the safety of our sanctuary if we are not trained for spiritual warfare?  The basic principles of Christian behavior are to keep peace within our walls, and to draw the lost to our sanctuary of healing.  So armed we will not be overcome by warfare as we go out to this lost world.  Even enemies will recognize the opportunity presented by a Messiah who is open to his world.

Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.  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.  2 Chronicles 17:11-13

When we are wise in our warfare, we can prosper in our economy.  Our economy in turn will sustain the cost of our protection.  To a godly leader there are others who will share his leadership responsibilities. 

And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valour three hundred thousand.  And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.  And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.  And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.  And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.  These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.  2 Chronicles 17:14-19

King Jehosaphat has organized, equipped, and trained his people to be safe against their enemy’s threats.  Being in relationship with God is their first line of defense.  If they will maintain this primary alliance, they will not need any other.  Asa had opposed Israel with Syrian help which drew some punishment from God.  Now Jehosaphat has a chance to lead his nation under God.

PROSPER AND LIVE SHORT

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ASA BEGINS WELL


S
LIP SLIDING AWAY

Asa the king of Judah began a walk of faith.  Over the years he is beginning to have doubt and unbelief, not trusting God as much.  He seeks his own way to prosper and earns a shortened life.

In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.  Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,  There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.  And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.  2 Chronicles 16:1-4

Asa bought an army from the Syrians to do his dirty work.  This is not the solution he had looked to earlier in his conflict with the Ethiopians.  It seems to have worked…at first. 

Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.  And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.  Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.  For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.  Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.  2 Chronicles 16:5-10

Now Asa has torn down the cities that were fortified against him.  This is his hope to have protection from Israel.  But God reveals that his “friends” from Syria will become his enemies, even as they are today.  So in addition to his sin of unbelief he adds persecution of a prophet of God.  His record is written, and he continues to grow in unbelief.

And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.  And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.  And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.  And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.  2 Chronicles 16:11-14

Asa made his own tomb, not trusting his people to honor him with one.  Flowers can refresh the atmosphere for funeral mourners, but they cannot cover the odor of a life that has begun to rot.

Live Long and Prosper

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NO WEAPON THAT IS FORMED AGAINST THEE SHALL PROSPER; AND EVERY TONGUE THAT SHALL RISE AGAINST THEE IN JUDGMENT THOU SHALT CONDEMN. THIS IS THE HERITAGE OF THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD, AND THEIR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS OF ME, SAITH THE LORD.  ISAIAH 54:17

After the Ethiopian threat the prophet Azariah comes to king Asa of Judah with news from God. 

And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:  And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.  Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.  But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.  2 Chronicles 15:1-4

Repentance has served Judah well, in times when no other nations have peace.  But God speaks to them encouragement that fans the flames of faith.

And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.  And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.  Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.  And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.  And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.  2 Chronicles 15:5-9

Many of the tribes of Israel now are coming to Judah because they see that God is with king Asa.  They come to serve God humbly and willingly.  No one who will not serve God is allowed to live with them. 

So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.  And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.  And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;  That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.  And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.  And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.  2 Chronicles 15:10-15

King Asa will not even allow his own mother to serve the darkness. 

And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.  But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.  And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.  And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.  2 Chronicles 15:16-19

While some high places were left where sacrifices were not done in the temple per the law, most error was gone from Judah now.  In these years Judah and king Asa are rewarded with peace for thirty five years.  Godly leadership can inspire prosperity and peace for an entire nation.  Will we find this in our own generation?

DEJA-TRUE

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FAMILIAR PATTERNS OF SUCCESS

Abijah has lived long and prospered, and his son has had a godly example.  Asa lives in a time when some people in Judah are straying from the Lord.  He assumes the responsibility of a godly leader as his father did.

So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.  And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:  For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:  And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.  Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.  And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.  2 Chronicles 14:1-6

For Judah there was no question of religious tolerance.  Who would challenge God who reveals himself to his prophets?  This was the remnant of faith descended from Abraham, destined to represent the best of mankind under the law.  For king Asa the faithful defense of faith earned years of peace.  In time his challenge would come though.  Asa made sure that Judah was ready.

Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.  And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.  And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.  Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.  2 Chronicles 14:7-10

Judah retained a standing army of 500,000 which was challenged by a million Ethiopians.  What possessed the Ethiopians to travel so far to oppose Judah?  They had to cross other nation’s territories or possibly open sea to arrive near Jerusalem.  The world goes to great lengths to oppose faith, blind to the cost, and to their certain failure.  In our age many Ethiopians are Jewish, and have come to Israel as citizens.  This may have been a lesson they would remember to draw them to God.  Asa knew where to find his help.

And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.  So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.  And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.  And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.  They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 14:11-15

The logistics to support a great army were to become the spoils of victory to the faithful.  The Lord fought the battle, and a victory against two to one odds was given to Judah.  In their ignorance Ethiopia lost thousands of men who would not return to their families.  Today they have both Jewish and Christian faith which suggests they have learned from this dark day in their history.  Israel may soon do the same.

Today Israel faces even greater odds with so many hostile nations around them.  Conditions are ripe for a great conflict today.  We are ordered to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  That peace will come in the form of the Prince of Peace, their Messiah Yeshua.  We should pray for the day when they will look on God who they pierced.  When the high places of misguided religion are torn down they will finally see the conclusion of the Law and victory over darkness.  Yeshua is their messiah and their victory.  He has fought the battle for them and it is finished.

MULTIPLICATION IN DIVISION

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OBEY AND TRUST

The son of Rehoboam is not willing to stray from the hope of David and Solomon.  Jeroboam faces a challenge from Israel, and he is outnumbered two to one.  He needs an ally of greater strength than their own.  Sometimes grandchildren correct the sins of their fathers.

Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.  He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.  And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.  2 Chronicles 13:1-3

Abijah delivers  sermon to Jeroboam of Israel, and pleads with them not to fight againxt God.  Rebellion will have its way though.

And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel;  Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?  Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord.  And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.  And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.  Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.  But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business:  And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him.  And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.  2 Chronicles 13:4-12

You shall not prosper…what part of “you lose” don’t you get?  Jeroboam has the wisdom of the world though, and executes a classic military maneuver.

But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them.  And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.  Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.  And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand.  And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.  2 Chronicles 13:13-17

Judah had recent training in spiritual warfare; they regularly sacrificed in obedience to God.  As such they were empowered against the military wisdom of the world.  God fought for them.  Israel lost over half their army to their own rebellion.  Carnal warfare will not prevail over spiritual warfare.

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.  And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephraim with the towns thereof.  Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died.  But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.  And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.  2 Chronicles 13:18-22

Jeroboam lost thousands, and cities, and his health.  He did not prosper mentally, physically, spiritually, socially, or financially.  Abajah prospered in faith first, and in material later. 

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31