In the book of 2 Chronicles is the story of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. He was a good king, who followed God. Let’s pick up a lesson given by God, to this king.
Let’s call him ‘Phat’ for short. One weakness that Phat had throughout his life was making partnerships with evil men. One such partnership came with Ahab, king of Israel. The other one came at the end of his life when he made an alliance with wicked King Ahaziah. (2 Chronicles 20:37) There were serious consequences to both partnerships.
Phat was the second of five of the kings of Judah that are described as godly. Ahab was the seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Now Ahab, was wicked, very evil—a bad dude. Phat goes to visit King Ahab. Maybe sitting around talking after dinner, Ahab entices Phat to go to war with him to fight Ramoth-gilead. (2 Chronicles 18:2)
The kings decide to ask God’s will in the battle. Ahab asks his ungodly prophets for advice. They tell him to go for it, he will win. However, Phat says, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord around, too? I would like to ask him the same question.”
The prophet Micaiah comes forward and says, “So you see the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets. For the Lord has determined disaster for Ahab.”
Now, the next day the kings assemble their armies and go to war. True to God’s prophecy, Ahab is shot with an arrow and dies. As the enemy army is chasing Phat, he calls out to God to save him. The army turns away from Phat and goes the other way. God had disaster brought upon Ahab because of his wickedness and Phat was spared because he called out to God. (2 Chronicles 18:28-34)
When Phat got home to Judah, another prophet, Jehu, comes to tell him that God was not pleased with him. He says, “Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? What you have done has brought the Lord’s anger against you. There is some good in you, however, for you have removed the Asherah poles and you have committed yourself to seeking God.” This was a rebuke, Phat would not soon forget.
After these events, Phat went out among the people encouraging them to return to the Lord. He appointed judges and gave them these instructions, "Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the Lord... He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case that comes before you. Fear the Lord and judge with care, for the Lord our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or taking of bribes.” (2 Chronicles 19:4)
Later in Phat’s reign “he appointed Levites as priests”. These were his instructions: “You must always act in the fear of the Lord, with integrity and with undivided hearts. Whenever a case comes to you from fellow citizens… you must warn them not to sin against the Lord, so that his anger will not come against you and them….Take courage as you fulfill your duties, and may the Lord be with those who do what is right.” (2 Chronicles 19:8-11)
Before Ahab’s last battle he was given many years and many chances to repent—but he didn’t. God then brought disaster on him and his family. Ahab could have repented the night of Micaiah’s prophecy, but he refused. All of his family was destroyed because he ignored God throughout his life. Phat experienced some of this disaster. His sons and daughters were killed because of the evil influence of Ahab. (2 Chronicles 21:5-20)
Fast forward to years later. A vast army from Edom came against Phat and his people. Phat was “alarmed by this news and sought the Lord for guidance. He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:1-4)
Part of his prayer goes, “We do not know what to do, but we are looking to You for help.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
God said, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by the mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz... But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow for the Lord is with you!” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
2 Chronicles 20:20-22 says, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets and you will succeed...After consulting the leaders of the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. At the moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the enemy armies to start fighting among themselves. Everyone of them was killed.”
Phat and his men returned home full of joy knowing that the Lord had given them the victory.
Phat was a righteous king, who followed God, but God wanted him to be more committed. Some wrong attitudes needed changed.
- God knew exactly what Phat and Ahab had done. God was able to send two men to tell them what they had done and what He was going to do. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still knows what each of us is doing. He is still in control. He still hates wickedness and rescues the faithful.
- Imagine if you were Phat and witnessed the prophecy of Micaiah to Ahab; then saw it come to pass. You are miraculously spared. Phat may have thought he was a good guy because he was spared but God made sure he knew he was not without sin.
- Phat made a huge mistake when he partnered with the wicked. God didn’t abandon Him, but disciplined Him. Phat repented of his sin against God.
- Phat learned and it affected his life for the better. His lesson taught him how important righteous judgment is and the consequence of ignoring God. He tried to do what was right and he encouraged his people to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
- Phat had seen first hand the anger of the Lord. He had the fear of the Lord put into him. He knew that God meant what he said. God punishes those who ignore Him, but helps those that listen and obey Him.
- When trouble came, Phat earnestly sought the Lord. He had his people seek the Lord. He prayed hard. He knew God could rescue them from the enemy.
- How incredibly awesome what God did for Phat and his people. He will do the same for us.
- God fought the battle for his people. They had to be ready to fight, they had to suit up, and they went out to meet them face to face, ready to die. They trusted God. They trusted God enough to put a praise band at the front of the battle. And because God fought for them, they won!
- Phat was miraculously delivered from death twice while in battle. His battles were won because God rescued him. God rescued him because he faithfully called out to God in his time of need. How awesome is our God! He loves us, He will fight for those who are faithful!
GETTING TO KNOW GOD