Cover to Cover
This chapter is a continuation of a message. In chapter 14, Jesus speaks of a union with God, and in chapter 15, Jesus continues to speak about this union and a deep love between God and mankind. In chapter 16, Jesus refers to what He’s already said for the purpose of keeping the listeners from stumbling.
Why would they stumble? Because Jesus said there would be those who would kill them thinking they are offering God service. Jesus wanted them to stand strong and speak truth in the face of opposition.
For the most part, when we hear teaching, we can take the good parts and leave the bad parts. Some have said, “Eat the fish and leave the bones,” and others, “Eat the hay and spit out the sticks.” However, the Christians were saying Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. This was something that religious Jews could not dismiss or pass over. The religious Jews considered Christians a threat to what they knew to be true. Because of their lofty hearts, they missed what God was doing. It takes humility to receive revelation and discern right from wrong.
Jesus exhorted His followers to remember what He said to them, and to keep the message pure. He knew He was leaving and would not be the one to remind them or instruct them. This is why Jesus tells them to listen to the Holy Spirit and let the Spirit remind them of what He said and to lead them into truth. Jesus cared for them very much, and He wanted them to know and hold onto truth. He wanted them to know Him and know the Father. Furthermore, Jesus wanted them to take this Gospel and preach it, spreading truth to other people who would multiply it around the world.
We too, must listen to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to lead us and guide us into truth with what we believe about the scripture and about our King. If a false idea is a minor issue, we can agree to disagree; however, if a doctrine teaches there is another way to God other than Christ, it is a cult. Stay away from it and warn others about it. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him!
2 Chronicles 20-22
Chapter 20 is a well-known story about King Jehoshaphat and a battle won through praise.
Each battle that the Hebrews fought and won was won in a different way, showing us the importance of reliance on the Lord. There isn’t a set formula to follow. God is looking for our dependency on Him, not our performance. Behavior follows surrender. Victory comes from putting our trust in the Lord. We don’t fight our own battles – we need His help! In this instance, the King and the people seek God for help in fighting the Moabites, Ammonites, and inhabitants of Mount Seir. Judah cannot win this battle in their own strength.
When we need God’s help in a battle, when something is coming against us, we need to first submit to God. Then we resist the enemy. Then he will flee (James 4:7). Submit to God first. Fully rely on Him like King Jehoshaphat did, and seek Him before going to war.
Jehoshaphat called for a fast for everyone, when collectively, all they did was pray and seek God. Often, as goes the leader, so goes the group. In verse 4, it says that Judah “gathered together.” Let’s take our place in the circles of church, home, and the marketplace.
Jehoshaphat stood up and took spiritual leadership, as well as leading the nation in natural matters. It’s a blessing when a leader fears the Lord, whether that leader is a government official, an employer, a pastor, a father, a mother, or anyone with followers. Let’s pray for our leaders to know the Lord.
In verse 6, the king declares the power of God over all kingdoms and people groups. In verse 7, the king claims God to be their God, the one they serve. Then He mentions God’s covenant with Abraham. Let’s stand on God’s covenant through Christ and declare Him as Lord over our battles and our lives!
In verses 8 and 9, the king recalls the promises of God. Let’s stir up our hearts and with a surrendered heart, declare the promises of God that we have received in our hearts and through the Bible.
The king also mentions the Presence of God. Let’s start off running to God before we run at the enemy.
In verse 11, the king takes the need to the Lord. We can do the same.
In verse 12, the king admits he and his people do not have what it takes to win. God move. We need God, and we’re blessed when we recognize it.
Also in verse 12, the king admits he doesn’t know what to do. We want a leader that is okay with leaning on God for what is next in leading a group of people. He says, “My eyes are on You.” There are times when distractions or opinions of others can try to pull our eyes off of God. A humbled and submitted leader will keep their eyes on God.
In verse 13, we see that Judah included their little ones, their wives, and their children. In our churches, let’s remember to do more than put our children in the back room. Let’s get them in our services from time to time, let them experience the Presence of God as families, as one church family. Kids should see their parents and their pastor in worship and join them.
In verse 14, it says THEN the Spirit of the Lord came upon a Levite, and he prophesied. The Holy Spirit will move when we gather in unity and worship.
The Lord had a message for the people, and He said, “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” Then in verse 17, “YOU will not need to fight in this battle.” God saw their faith in Him, and He asked them to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
In verse 18, Jehoshaphat bowed his face to the ground in worship. All of Judah then worshipped. Our response to God’s Word should be a bowing down and a worship.
The king says in verse 20, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” This king wanted to hear God’s voice. He was not bothered at all that the word came through someone other than him. He wanted to know what God had to say and how God would help them. I see a true humility in Jehoshaphat.
The king consulted with some people, which also shows the wisdom he had to go to counselors. Thank God for people who have the knowledge and experience to advise leaders!
King Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord, praising God in the beauty of His holiness. The singers went BEFORE the army. Before we do anything, it is always a good idea to praise God. Praise isn’t something we just do in church, but in church, we praise before we do anything else. Why? Because it ushers in the Presence of God. It invites Him to enter into the service and have His way. When we praise before a confrontation or before a project or a day, we are inviting God into our situation.
The praise was, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” We don’t deserve God’s power based on our performance, so we’re thankful that He’s merciful to us. If we think God will move because we earned it somehow or we qualified ourselves somehow, we need to reconsider His mercy. Oh, how we lean on God’s goodness!
Verse 22 says, “NOW WHEN THEY BEGAN TO SING AND TO PRAISE…” Then the Lord set ambushes against the enemy. Do we see that one, God includes us, and two, God moved after the praise began? In life and in church, when often start praising before we feel anything. We act on the position of our hearts and in our faith. THEN God comes in. Often times, God waits on us to invite Him in. He honors us. He doesn’t force Himself on us.
The enemies turned on themselves and completely destroyed each other.
Then God allowed Judah to see the victory He gave them. They had an overlook of the battlefield and saw the bodies of the enemies that were slain. Then they took 3 days to strip the dead bodies of the jewelry, gems, and precious metals. Don’t tell me He won’t do it!
On the fourth day, they bless the Lord again, praising Him for the victory and the abundance. In verse 27 it says that the Lord made them to rejoice over their enemies. The joy was in the victory. God will give us joy in our victories as well. What the enemy means for evil, God will expose, He will defeat, and He will plunder. Let’s remember that our real enemy is Satan. A real win is to win over our brother or sister that could be in opposition against us.
They went to Jerusalem, the city of the Lord. With music playing, they celebrated the Lord in His holy city.
Another advantage to this victory was that all the nations heard about what God had done for Israel’s southern tribes. They feared the Lord, giving rest to Judah.
In chapter 21, King Jehoram reigns. He led Judah astray from the Lord. He received a word from God through a letter from the prophet Elijah. As a result of his sin, God would strike the people. There is a spiritual principle in people who follow after a sinful leader. He also prophesied that the king would die a painful death, a death where his intestines would come out of his body day after day. Anything wrong with the intestines is very painful. In verse 16, the Lord caused an enemy to come against Judah. Only one of the king’s sons survived, and that was because God kept the throne in the lineage of David.
In chapter 22, that one son who survived, Ahaziah (also known as Jehoahaz) became king of Judah. Ahab was a king of the northern tribes, and this son was advised by his mother, Athaliah, to follow Ahab in idolatry.
Notice in verse 7 that God had anointed Jehu to cut off the house of Ahab. Jehu kills King Ahaziah of Judah, a follower of Ahab.
Then the mother, Athaliah, rules Judah for six years, after killing all the royal heirs. However, God made a covenant with David for the throne. It was by no accident that a daughter of Ahaziah saved baby Joash, her brother, son of Ahaziah. He was hidden for six years and became king at age 7. God used this daughter of a king, a wife of a priest, to continue the line of David on the throne. God keeps His promises!