In case anyone has wondered, I have been out of town and haven’t been able to write as often as normal. Something about getting out of a normal routine messes up one’s normal routine.
Today, I opened my bible at random and out popped King Jehoshaphat! No, he didn’t actually pop out nor did I see a vision. The pages did show me a man who placed all his faith in God in the face of overwhelming odds. Overall, Jehoshaphat was one of the better kings, actually, better by far. Israel had nothing but bad ones. Judah had a bunch. There were very few who did a good job in the eyes of the Lord. What was their main problem? Worshipping other gods besides the one, true, and living God.
How was Jehoshaphat different? Well, here is the biblical summary statement, “His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.” Asherim were carved wooden poles often placed near altars. They were depictions of the goddess Asherah, objects of worship. She was a foreign goddess who found her way into Hebrew theology. It was thought by many that she was the wife of our God who bore many children to him. You’ll find all sorts of theories about her apart from the bible. In fact, some main-line denominations, today, hold that the pre-Babylonian exile bible was re-written to promote a monotheistic worldview. Prior to that, so the story goes, it was perfectly OK to worship a multitude of Gods. In fact, some today openly worship Asherah. I personally know several such people.
Let’s make sure we understand what “worship” means. According to Google, worship is a noun, the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Reverence is a tough word to pin down. Does it have to mean bowing down to a carved image or could it also include passive acceptance? My advice, given all the examples we have in the bible, is that any reference to any god besides God is “false”. They aren’t “cool” or “interesting.” They don’t make good figurines.
Anyways, King Jehoshaphat got rid of all this garbage, and that was good in the eyes of the Lord. There came a day when many armies came to conquer Jehoshaphat. What did he do? The thing we would be wise to mimic – he went to God with everything he had.
2 Chronicles 20:3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.”
Picture that! Could you imagine all of Kandiyohi County gathering in one place to seek the Lord? Heck, we have trouble getting a handful gathered on the National Day of Prayer! During this gathering, Jehoshaphat reminded God of his promises and asked for help. In particular, he said this.
V. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against the great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Guess what? God delivered. In fact, each of the opposing armies turned on one another until they were entirely eliminated. Entirely!
Do you have a problem that you are powerless against? How about the battle of the bulge? Got someone in your life that is causing you great trouble? Bring these problems to God! These stories of the bible aren’t fiction, they are HISTORY. They are recorded for a reason – so that we might learn from them. Do yourself a favor and apply the wisdom of the bible to your own life. You may find great reward.
Father, let me, today, apply these principles to my life. Let me come to you. Gather US to come to you. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers