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May 16 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 20-22
“Jehoshaphat set himself to seek the Lord.”
2 Chronicles 20:3
2nd Chronicles 20-22 gives us a brief history of the reigns of Jehosophat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah. Jehosophat was a great, remarkable, godly king; but his sons Jehoram and Ahaziah were reprobate men who walked in the ways of Ahab. Those wicked kings, Jehosophat’s sons, died “without being desired;” but Jehosophat “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Thus we are again reminded of the fact that grace is not a family possession. It does not run in bloodlines. Sinners obtain God’s salvation only by God-given personal faith in the Lord Jesus. — “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
Desiring to serve God our Savior in our generation as Jehosophat did in his, let us carry the memory of this man and his conduct, as here given by the Spirit of God, through this day.
All Judah stood before the Lord God with their king and joined him in prayer. Men, women, and children, all the nation was led in prayer by their king, and joined him in praying to the Lord God, seeking his mercy and grace.
First, King Jehoshaphat pleaded God’s sovereignty. Then he turned Jehovah’s covenant relationship with Abraham, his friend, and the covenant engagements as Abraham’s God into an argument for present mercies. Next, King Jehosophat and Israel together renewed their devotion to God as the objects of his choice, looking to the temple, the mercy-seat, looking to Christ represented in those typical things, as Solomon had taught them. By the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness as their Substitute, God had given them and they knew they had a claim to God’s favor.
After stating these things as the assurance in God’s protection, Jehoshaphat presented Israel’s need as the time and reason for God’s intervention and their deliverance. Throwing himself and his people upon the sovereign goodness of the Lord God, Jehosophat and his nation obtained “mercy and grace to help in time of need.”.
We will be wise to read this prayer as a word of instruction from God the Holy Spirit for us. Salvation in Christ Jesus is by the sovereign mercy of the Triune Jehovah. In everlasting love and infinite wisdom he predestined the salvation of elect sinners. Calling chosen, redeemed sinners like us to life and faith in Christ, the Triune God puts himself into the closest possible covenant-relationship with us. By the blessing of God upon his Word, by God-given eyes of faith, we behold gospel mercies in the finished redemption of Christ shadowed forth in that ancient time. Thank you, blessed Holy Spirit, for showing us the things of Christ in the Book of God.
King Jehosophat’s only weapon by which he engaged the heathen who opposed him, God’s church, God’s cause, and God’s worship was God-given faith. He went forth depending upon the Lord his God. Believing God, Jehosophat began his preparation for battle with a song of victory. So all the soldiers of Christ should go forth against Satan and all that opposes God and our souls. The victories of God’s church are not won by sword, nor by the ballot box, nor by vain philosophy, but by the Spirit of God. — “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts “ (Zechariah 4:6). If it is in his strength that we fight, the outcome is sure. The battle is, in fact, already over. Christ has conquered, and his people overcome by his blood.
“The battle is not yours, but God’s!” — Judah had no hand in the matter. Applying this piece of history to ourselves, let us rejoice to remember that the gospel of our God declares plainly and forcibly that “salvation is of the Lord.” We have no hand in the matter. Our mighty Savior’s right arm has gotten himself the victory. — “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy!”
Where shall souls fly for refuge in time of trouble, but to our covenant God in Christ! As the children of Ammon and Moab, and the multitudes of foes beyond the sea arose as one in opposition to Jehosophat, the world, the flesh and the devil, all the corruptions of our own nature and all the powers of darkness come against our souls day by day. Our very existence in this world is a relentless warfare; and our greatest foes are those within our own evil hearts! Instead of trying to muster human strength, let us, like Jehosophat, take refuge in God our Savior continually, looking to him alone for righteousness and strength, trusting his grace, looking altogether outside ourselves to him for all our salvation!
As God the Holy Ghost gives us grace thus to look to Christ alone for hope, making his blood, his righteousness, his grace our boast, we shall find every place the valley of Berachah, the place of blessing and praise to our God!