Wednesday, February 6, 2008
2 Chronicles 17 also 1 Kings 22:41-47
What is this passage all about?
Jehoshaphat became king of Judah early in the reign of Ahab of Israel. He sent officials, Levites and priests out to teach the people from the Book of the Law and stationed troops in the fortified cities of Judah and kept experienced fighting men in Jerusalem.
What can I learn from it?
Jehoshaphat followed in the ways of his ancestor David (v3) and his father Asa (1Ki22:43), in that his "heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD" (v6). In response, "The LORD established the kingdom under his control" (v5). Jehoshaphat built up the kingdom in two ways during the early years of his reign: he built up the people's knowledge of God and he built up his armies.
Jehoshaphat was no shirker when it came to making sure the people of Judah knew the ways of the LORD so that they might walk in them. He sent out officials, including Zechariah who may have been his son (cf 2Ch21:2), together with Levites and priests (vv7-8) to teach from the Book of the Law of the LORD, aka the Torah, known today as the Pentateuch. These teachers went throughout Judah, to all the towns, teaching the people (v9), they were the first travelling preachers. "They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people." What an wonderful and ancouraging act of the king to ensure the people's knowledge of God and His desires for them was deepened! Jehoshaphat ensured that the people who had less access to teaching and worship at the temple were still able to be taught God's law.
Jehoshaphat was also a practical man. He sent soldiers to the towns of Judah and also set up garrisons, forts where soldiers were stationed (v2). He also ensured that the towns of Judah had supplies (v12-13, in case of seige). Jehoshaphat also acted to protect Jerusalem from attack, stationing experienced soldiers there to serve and protect him (v13-19). I particularly like the descriptions of two of Jehoshaphat's commanders: "Amasiah son of Zicri, who volunteered himself for the service of the LORD" (v16) and "Eliada, a valiant soldier" (v17). These are wonderful things to be remembered for: committment to serve God and courage in His service.
How can this help me worship God?
I give praise to God because He does not want His people to be ignorant of His nature or His will. He has chosen to reveal Himself to His people. There are some things we cannot ever experience or understand about Him, as Moses was told when he asked to see God's glory: "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exodus 33:20.) Yet God has chosen to reveal Himself not just through His law as was taught to the people of Judah, but through His Son, Jesus Christ. As Hebrews 1:1-2 says, "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."
John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known."
John 14:7,9 Jesus told Thomas and Philip" 'If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, ...Anyone who has seem me has seen the Father...' "
And as the risen Jesus said to Thomas (John 20:29), " 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' "
God has ensured that we may know Him through His provision of the Bible, especially in the revelation of Himself through His Son Jesus Christ in the gospels. John wrote (John 20:31), "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Thank You God, for revealing Youself to me, sothat I may know You and worship You in truth.