Hello church! We post these Sunday recaps to highlight the awesome things God did each Sunday at TCC. Here’s a recap of our Sunday services and programs last weekend.
By any measure, Jehoshaphat was a great king: he nurtured the keystone habit of setting his heart to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 17:3-4). But in the words of one commentator (Michael Wilcock), Jehoshaphat had one weakness: an inability to say no. In 2 Chronicles 18:1-34, this weakness to say no is reflected through ill-advised partnerships with king Ahab (the worst king ever, 1 Kings 21:25), including going into battle knowing full well the Lord wasn’t going to give them victory. In fact, his inability to say no created a complex web of deception and chaos almost to the point where his life was in great danger (2 Chronicles 18:31). Compromising also produced a huge leadership vacuum: “Israel scattered…as sheep that have no shepherd” (2 Chronicles 18:16). However, in spite of this weakness, the Lord rescued him and pulled him out of a really tough spot.
Jehoshaphat could have avoided a lot of problems if he had heeded the warning from Micaiah the prophet (2 Chronicles 18:22). He spoke the truth in the face of a large scale deception: no less than 400 prophets at the court of Ahab who kept repeating that victory would come to Ahab if he went to battle (2 Chronicles 18:11). In the face of this strong case of ‘group-think,’ Micaiah spoke up with courage and simply told the truth: ‘no, you will not win but will be defeated in battle.’*
Today we don’t fight against flesh and blood anymore so the battle is now spiritual rather than physical (Ephesians 6:12). We now put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:11). Yet the lesson remains in our quest to finish well: Know your keystone weakness and learn to say no. In this culture awash with so many deceptive interests, we too become like Micaiah and plainly speak the truth. Micaiah becomes the little boy who alone was willing to see that the emperor had no clothes.
For Jehoshaphat, the ‘second half’ of his war campaigns was a much more successful one (2 Chronicles 20:1-23). When he faced a multitudes of enemies with the odds squarely against him, he said the prayer that you and I pray so often: “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Thus, in spite of his weakness, he also knew how to make eye contact with his Lord in time of great need. He learned that by just showing up, the Lord would fight on his behalf (2 Chronicles 20:17).
Thoughts for the week:
When you and I are confronted with group-think that stands clearly against God’s Word, the temptation comes to stay silent like Jehoshaphat, unable to say no. Yet in his times of caving in, the Lord rescued Jehoshaphat and was with him and delivered him. We can all take comfort in that! God understands our keystone weakness and works with us.
But Jehoshaphat also nurtured the keystone habit of seeking the Lord. He did that superbly well. His life teaches us that in time of great needs, all we have to do is make eye contact with Jesus and actually show up: “stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:17). Jesus is the One who clothes us with His robes of salvation, His full armor.**
*If you read the story, the deception for these prophets is said to come from a spirit dispatched from the presence of God (2 Chronicles 18:18-22). Would God actually deceive someone? Of course not! We know that God never lies (Titus 1:2). This is the role of Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1) who has deceived people from the beginning (Genesis 3). Before the triumph of the Cross and Satan losing his ability to accuse us before God (see Revelation 12), spirits, including Satan, could have an audience with God in the heavenly realm (see Job 2:1). Thus, a nuanced reading of the text would say that God ‘allowed’ deception to spread among Ahab’s false prophets, a deception that Ahab created for himself through his repeated acts of rebellion against God and God’s people throughout his life.
**For the key roles garments play in the story of Jehoshaphat, see 2 Chronicles 18:9; 2 Chronicles 18:29; 2 Chronicles 18:33; 2 Chronicles 20:21)