Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 6, 2015

“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles.”

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Chronicles chapter 18.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Chronicles+18&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor;  and he allied himself by marriage with Ahab.  2 Some years later he went down to visit Ahab at Samaria.  And Ahab slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead.  3 Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth-gilead?”  And he said to him, “I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.”

4 Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the Lord.”  5 Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?”  And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.”  6 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of him?”  7 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil.  He is Micaiah, son of Imla.”  But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.”

12 Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. So please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably.”  13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak.”

14 When he came to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?”  He said, “Go up and succeed, for they will be given into your hand.”  15 Then the king said to him, “How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”  16 So he said,

“I saw all Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
Like sheep which have no shepherd;
And the Lord said,
‘These have no master.
Let each of them return to his house in peace.’”

28 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead.  29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you put on your robes.”  So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.  30 Now the king of Aram had commanded the captains of his chariots, saying, “Do not fight with small or great, but with the king of Israel alone.”  31 So when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel,” and they turned aside to fight against him.  But Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him.  32 When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.  33 A certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor.  So he said to the driver of the chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the fight, for I am severely wounded.”  34 The battle raged that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot in front of the Arameans until the evening;  and at sunset he died.”  2 Chronicles chapter 18:  Verses 1-7 and 12-16 and 28-34.

————————

The previous chapter details all the actions by which Jehoshaphat king of Judah acted wisely.  This chapter details all the actions by which Jehoshaphat acted foolishly.

It is quite amazing to see this shift into foolishness so soon.  And, it is also quite amazing to see the extent of this foolishness.  First, Jehoshaphat allied himself with wicked Ahab, king of Israel.  Second,  Jehoshaphat could have still tried to distance himself from the desires and actions of Ahab, but we see that he quickly agrees to go with Ahab to fight against Ramoth-gilead.  Third, Jehoshaphat does not heed the warning of Micaiah, even though Jehoshaphat himself requested the advice of a true prophet.  Fourth, in a final display of foolishness, Jehoshaphat followed the direction of Ahab to dress for battle in a king’s robe even though Ahab disguised himself (thus obviously drawing the attention of the battle upon himself alone).

Scripture, by this quick shift, makes sure we are humble and do not trust in the wisdom of our own actions.

Before we dismiss Jehoshaphat, we do see that Jehoshaphat did one thing right.   Jehoshaphat “cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him.”  Verse 31.

Like Jehoshaphat, we too may do an amazing number of foolish things.  And, some of those foolish things may be quite dangerous for us.

But, there is hope!

Like Jehoshaphat, we too can cry out to our LORD.  The LORD will help us too, like the LORD helped foolish Jehoshaphat.

Reformed Doctrine teaches that the LORD is not surprised nor disgusted with His Elect even though they certainly do foolish things.  The LORD knows our natural condition of “Total Depravity”.

Unlike Israel who had no shepherd after Ahab died according to the prophesy of Micaiah, we have a Good Shepherd Who realizes that we are as dumb as sheep, but Who will never leave us nor forsake us.

“The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.”  Psalm 34:17.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1.

“…  for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”  Hebrews 13:5.


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