This time let’s turn to II Chronicles, chapter 19.
We are dealing at the present time in this area of Scripture with the reign of Jehoshaphat, king over Judah. For the most part, Jehoshaphat was a good king. He did develop many spiritual reforms. There was one aspect about his reign that was not good, and that was his desire to develop an affinity and friendship with Ahab, who was the king over the tribes of Israel in the north. Ahab was probably one of the most wicked of all of the kings over Israel. And Jehoshaphat had some kind of a fascination and an endeavor to create an affinity and a friendship with him.
Now the Bible says, “Know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4) And if anybody represented the world and the worldly system, it would have been Ahab. So why Jehoshaphat, a righteous king, would ever seek to develop some kind of a friendship or relationship with this ungodly king of Ahab is difficult to understand. And the consequences, ultimate consequences of it were quite disastrous. Not to Jehoshaphat himself, but in the result of his son. And we’ll get to that when we get to chapter 21.
So Jehoshaphat had gone on up, visited with Ahab, was invited by Ahab to come to watch the battle against the Syrians in Ramothgilead where Ahab was killed in battle.
And so Jehoshaphat has now returned to Jerusalem (19:1).
And Jehu the son of Hanani who was a prophet went out to meet him, and he said to him, Should you help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD (19:2).
So here he has been rebuked by the prophet of God. The rebuke, of course, coming from God for his help for the ungodly and his love for those that hate the Lord. The Bible says, “What fellowship hath light with darkness? What communion hath Christ with Belial?” (II Corinthians 6:14-15) And it warns about seeking to develop an unequal yoke with an unbeliever. And so the king is severely rebuked for this endeavor on his part. And it would seem that he was initiating it, going on up to visit and all, and initiating this kind of a friendship and an aid program. When Ahab said, “Would you like to go out with me to battle?” He said, “My troops are as yours, you know, I’m like you. We’re brothers and all.” And so it was a thing where he was helping the ungodly. He was seeking to create an alliance with an ungodly king.
Nevertheless, [the prophet said,] there are good things found in thee, in that you have created these spiritual reforms by the destroying of the idols of the false gods that had been set up there in the land (19:3).
So at the word of the prophet Jehoshaphat, again, just sort of sought to re-establish a spiritual work within the kingdom of Judah. He took some priests and he went around to the various cities of Judah. There was sort of an evangelistic campaign. And he would go into a city, they would gather together the people, and the priests would again lay out the law of the Lord to the people. They would establish judges that they might judge righteous judgment within the cities of Judah. And it was actually further spiritual reforms as they travelled through the land seeking to turn the hearts of the people unto the Lord.
So they went around and the charge that they put to the people was,
Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, with a perfect heart. And what cause soever shall come to you of your brothers (19:9-10)
I mean, this is what they said to the judges when they set up the judges. And I wish that every judge would have to face this kind of an admonition at the beginning of his judgeship, or even should have it on the wall of his chamber everyday. This is what God requires of a judge. That he judges in the cases in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a complete heart.
Now in chapter 20, it records how that at this time three nations had gathered together to fight against Judah. The nation of Moab and Ammon, and those of Mount Seir, which would have been the Edomites. And word came to Jehoshaphat that Judah was being invaded by this confederacy of nations. That they had already come across the Dead Sea and they were in the area of En-gedi. And they were approaching, actually, by the area of En-gedi, which is the valley known also as the Valley of Passengers and became known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, because this is where God wrought the victory for Jehoshaphat, and thus, it became known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Now it is interesting, because God ultimately destroyed this invading army. And we’ll get to that in a moment. But Ezekiel tells us that there is going to be another confederacy of nations that is going to attack Israel in the last days. A confederacy of nations led by Russia and there will be with her, of course, many of the eastern Europe nations, plus the Balkan nations, plus Iran, plus Saudi Arabia, and they also will be destroyed in this Valley of Passengers. So history will be repeated, and interestingly enough, much of the destruction will be in the same way this destruction took place. For in the destruction described in Ezekiel, one aspect of it, God said, “Every man’s sword will be against his brother” (Ezekiel 38:21). So God speaks of an internal revolution that is going to take place among the communist states and nations at the time when which they seek to come against Israel, plus the judgment that God pours out.
But when, in time, people are passing through this Valley of the Passengers of Jehoshaphat, and they see the carcasses, the bones, they’ll set a flag by it and so forth. So this same valley in which God once destroyed the enemies of Israel God is going to work again and destroy invading armies that are coming against Israel in that same area. I find that very fascinating indeed.
So Jehoshaphat, when he heard that these three nations were gathered together to invade the land, called the men of Judah together and he proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. And he set himself to seek the Lord. The people gathered together.
And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah there at the house of the Lord, in the new court, And he said, O LORD God of our fathers, you are the God of heaven or the God of the universe and the ruler over the earth (20:5-6).
Now, in a sense God is the ruler over the earth because whatever happens on the earth happens because God has allowed it to happen. And yet, in a narrower sense, Jesus recognized that Satan was ruling the earth at the present time. Now, Satan only rules because God allows him to rule. So in an overall sense, yes, God rules, but God in His rule has allotted man free moral agency, self-determination, the power or capacity of choice. God has allowed man to choose who he desires to rule over him. And the majority of men have chosen that Satan should rule over their lives. And God has not violated man’s choice. He’s allowed him to make the choice and then respects the choice that man has made.
So in the world today, Satan is ruling. When Jesus came, Satan took Him up to a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and said, “All of these will I give to you and the glory of them if you will bow down and worship me. For they are mine and I can give them to whomever I will” (Matthew 4:9). Now Satan is boasting to Jesus that, “Hey, it’s all mine. I have the power to give it to whoever I want.” And Jesus did not dispute that claim. In fact, why did Jesus come? In order that He might redeem the world because it was under Satan’s power. Now Jesus called Satan “the prince of this world.” He said to His disciples the night He was betrayed, just before going to the garden where He was arrested by the soldiers, He said, “I have told you that I go to my Father. Now if you love Me, you would rejoice for my Father is greater than I. But now,” He said, “the prince of this world cometh but he hath nothing in Me” (John 14:28-30). So Satan is referred to by Christ as the prince of the world.
Paul calls him “the god of this age.” Referring to the sinners, he said, “The god of this age has blinded their eyes that they cannot see the truth” (II Corinthians 4:4). So in a narrow sense, Satan is ruling over the earth at the present time. This is his domain. This is his kingdom. When the antichrist comes on the scene, the book of Revelation, chapter 13 tells us that Satan, the dragon, is going to give to him his authority and his throne. Now Satan said to Jesus, “It’s mine, I can give it to whomever I will.” And he’s going to give it to the antichrist who will rule over the world.
Now it is interesting how many of the world leaders have been involved in the occult. And, of course, one of the most notable of recent times was Hitler, who actually was controlled by what the men who were called the White Masters. Those men who were steeped in the art of white magic. Many of them after Hitler’s fall fled to Peru where they still exercise quite a bit of power and control over the lives of many people. But Hitler was taking directions and following the advice of these men of the occult. And, of course, it doesn’t give me comfort to hear our President say, or at least Jeanne Dixon say, that so many of the presidents call her for advice.
Now Satan one day is going to turn over the full authority and power of this earth that is his to the antichrist. But, of course, he knows that his time is short. The Scriptures said he knows that his reign is about over, and so he’s really doing his best to mess things up before he has to exit the scene.
Now Jesus said to His disciples, “When you pray you should say: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). We pray that His kingdom will come. We pray that His will be done here in the earth, because right now His kingdom has not come; His will is not being done. You do not see the world that God wants or God intends. He doesn’t want a world that is filled with suffering and war and hardships and inflation and pollution and all of this. The Bible tells us that when He comes to establish His kingdom that righteousness will cover the earth as the waters do cover the sea. And that there won’t be the physical maladies that men experience today. And that Satan during this period of time will be bound and be cast into the abusso while Jesus reigns upon the earth for a thousand-year period.
And so when Jehoshaphat said that You rule over the earth, that is only in an overall sense as God rules over the universe. But in the universe there is one planet that is in rebellion against the rule of God, and as the result of that rebellion against God’s rule, that planet is hurting. It’s suffering. And it’s headed…it’s on a head-on collision course with great calamity and disasters. And they are coming. There’s no escaping it. But after this time of great disaster, then Jesus will come and He will reign, and God’s kingdom will then extend and cover over the whole earth.
So Jehoshaphat in his prayer acknowledged the greatness of God. And then he acknowledged that God was the one that brought us into this land. He was the one that delivered this land to our fathers. For He had promised the land unto Abraham and to Abraham’s seed. And God drove out the inhabitants that were there. And then he said, “They built this,” and they were standing, remember, in the temple and he said, “They built this sanctuary for Thy name. That when calamity came, they might come to this place and call upon You.” And here is where he makes reference to the prayer of Solomon in verse 9 when Solomon dedicated the temple.
And they dwelt in this land, they have built thee this sanctuary for thy name, saying (20:8),
When they built it they said,
If, when evil comes upon us, as the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, and we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and we cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help (20:9).
And so he acknowledges first the greatness of God, the purposes of God in bringing them into the land and the promise of God. That when they were in trouble, when the sword was threatening or judgment, and they come into Your house and they pray, then that You would answer. Now he lays out the cause. “Lord, here they come, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Edomites and they’re too many for us to handle. We don’t have the power. We don’t have the might against them.” So he’s asking God for help.
In verse 12:
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither do we know what to do: but our eyes are upon You (20:12).
“God, we’re facing an enemy that is stronger than we are. We don’t know what to do, but we’re looking to You for help.” Now how many times I have been in a similar state. When the situation that I faced was overwhelming. I didn’t know the answer. I didn’t know what to do. And so I just turn to the Lord. “Lord, my eyes are upon You. I’m looking to You for wisdom, for guidance, for help.” And so the Lord answered Jehoshaphat by this fellow Jahaziel who was the son of Zechariah. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in the midst of the congregation.
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid or dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and you will find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you (20:15-17).
And so the glorious promise of God. Commanding them to not be afraid or dismayed. “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” It’s so wonderful when God takes up our part. When God stands up for our defense. David said, “The Lord is my refuge and my strength. I will not fear though the mountains be removed and cast into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2). How wonderful when God is my strength. God is my defense, my defender. “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed. This battle isn’t yours, it’s God’s. Now you go down tomorrow by the cliff of Ziz where you get the overview of the valley of Jeruel there. And you just stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” And then again, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be dismayed for the Lord is with you.”
The consciousness of the presence of God is always one of the greatest factors to dispel fear from our lives. I can be extremely frightened until I realize God is with me. Then all of a sudden I’m not afraid anymore. It’s only when I lose the consciousness of God’s presence with me. It’s only when I get things out of perspective and I forget that my life belongs to Him, that this is His church, and I try to start carrying the burdens myself and losing that perspective of God’s presence with me. Sometimes I become terrified. As David said, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me?” (Psalm 42:11) And sometimes my soul gets cast down or very disquieted. It’s because I have forgotten that it all belongs to God. That I am His, that He is with me. “Hopest thou in the Lord,” David said, “He shall yet deliver thee.” Hey, did you forget about God? Did you forget that God’s on the throne? And how many times we forget that God is on the throne. And we try to take up the battle ourselves. And we try to do things ourselves until we get into the place of despair. God says, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be dismayed. I will be with you.”
So as the result of this, of course,
Jehoshaphat bowed his face to the ground before the LORD: and all of the army, the men of Israel just fell on their faces before the LORD, and just worshipped the LORD (20:18).
Oh, what good word this is. “Here we thought we were going to get wiped out. Here we thought there was no hope for our survival. And now the word of the Lord comes and says, hey, we’re not going to even have to fight against this huge army that’s invading the land. All we have to do is be a spectator. We’re going to go down and watch God fight the battle.” Ringside seats as God destroys the enemy.
And the priests, as the people were lying there before the Lord, worshipping God, the priests stood and they praised God with loud voices. The next morning, they left Jerusalem heading down through the valley of Hinnom and around towards the right going south towards Bethlehem, through the Shepherd’s field, the valleys below the city of Bethlehem, again taking another southern turn over near the area of the Herodians. And then on past that area, turning now again east, coming down to the little village of Tekoa, the home of Amos the prophet. And there, just beyond Tekoa, the cliffs of Ziz that overlooked the wilderness area towards En-gedi, this valley where the invading army was coming up from En-gedi into the land. And yet, what a strange army it must have looked like, because out in front of the army were the choir, the singers, and they were singing praises unto God. And the people were responding to their praises. They would sing, “O praise the Lord for He is good.” And the army would answer, “For His mercy endureth forever.” And so they were going towards the battle to watch the victory of God singing praises of victory already unto the Lord, for His mercy endureth forever. It is possible for you to have the victory before you have the victory.
Paul talks about being “more than conquerors through Him who loves us” (Romans 8:37). What does that mean? More than a conqueror. I know what it means to be a conqueror, but what does it mean to be more than a conqueror? It means that you have the victory before you have the victory. You have the victory even before the battle starts. You have that glorious victory of God in your heart and spirit. You’re rejoicing and praising God before you ever see the accomplished work of God.
So here they were. Their hearts were lifted. They were rejoicing. They were praising the Lord, because they had the word of God and the promise of God that He was going to destroy their enemies.
Now even before they got to the battleground to see what God was doing, they were already rejoicing and shouting and praising God for the victory that had been promised unto them. Oh, what a glorious scene that must have been to see that valley full of men, probably some two hundred thousand strong being led by a choir as they were going down to see the work of God in delivering their enemies into their hand. The victory through praise. And it is at this point we read:
And as they praised the Lord, the LORD put ambushments against their enemies (20:22).
As they were praising the Lord, the Lord began His work in destroying their enemies.
There can be glorious victory in your life through praise. As you learn to praise the Lord and just spend your time in praise of Him, for His promise, we need to take the promises of God and put them over against our situations. And then just praise the Lord for His promises that He’s given to us of victory in our situations.
Now I don't think that you should praise the Lord that you have so many debts that you can’t pay them all. But I think you should praise the Lord in that He has promised, “I will supply all of your needs according to my riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord” (Philippians 4:19). So I can’t praise the Lord for these duns that I’m getting from the bill collectors, but I can praise the Lord that He has promised to supply my needs. So my praises are in the promises of God and as I am praising God for His promises, God begins a work. His work of mystery, many times. I don't know how He’s going to do it. I don't know what He’s going to do. But He begins His work and He begins to accomplish His work. And it’s so glorious as they praise the Lord, the Lord put the ambushments against their enemies.
Now we do spend an awful lot of time complaining to the Lord about our situations, about our problems, about the circumstances of our life. If you would take that time that you spend complaining to the Lord and just start praising the Lord for His promise to watch over you and to deliver you and to keep you and to bless you, then you’d find that God would, while you are praising, bring you victory in your heart. Suddenly the whole perspective changes as I’m praising the Lord. As I’m thanking Him for His Word and for His promises, my whole attitude changes. It goes from one of fear and dismay and anxiety to one of confidence and victory. “All right, Lord. Go at them.” And I just have that beautiful confidence that God is working.
So as they praised the Lord, the Lord put ambushments against their enemies so that when they got to the cliff of Ziz, and they began to look down in the valley, they saw the valley was full of all these dead bodies. For the men of mount Seir, the Edomites began to fight against those from Moab and it turned into a real brawl and a donnybrook. And the men of Ammon joined in. And so they were all fighting with each other and killing each other, so that by the time the children of Israel got there, they were all wiped out. Oh, God is so good.
I was talking with John who is one of our young men here in the church who is now a recruit in the Costa Mesa Police Department, and he was sharing how the other night the officer who was training him. He and the officer pulled a car over down here on Fairview and Fair Drive in the Exxon Station. And he said as they started pulling the guys out of the car, he said there were six big bikers. And he said that as they started pulling out the booze and as they started to get to some of the other things, the guys jumped them. He said just the two of them officers against these six big bikers. And he said, “I heard one of them say, ‘Grab his gun and we will shoot the brains out of these guys.’” And so he said he felt this guy tugging at his gun. He said, “Now the guns have a front throw on them. You have to pull them out frontways to get them out of the holster.” This guy was trying behind him and trying to pull it up straight, couldn’t get it out. and so he said he just took and elbowed the guy. And he said, “But boy,” he said, “they were swinging, rolling on the ground and everything else.” And of course, they put out the officer-in-distress call and he said, “But pretty soon,” he said, “he and his partner were standing up and these guys were all brawling with each other.” He said they were swinging away and hitting each other. He said they just stood there back to back watching these guys wiping out each other, you know. And after it was over, he said to his training officer, “Did you get hit?” And he said, “No.” And he said, “Neither did I.” In all of that swinging they never hit him. And he said he told his training officer, “Praise the Lord, you know. The Lord just put them to confusion. Got them fighting with each other and we were able to escape.”
But, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and He could put the enemies to confusion. He can deliver His child out of distress, out of danger. He can keep you unscathed in the midst of a battle. The Lord is the same.
They went on down. They found that these guys had worn all their jewelry into the battle, all the precious gems and everything else these guys were wearing. So they began to strip the dead bodies of all of the valuables, the jewels, the ornaments and everything else, and there was so much that they could not even carry it all. It took them three days to strip all the bodies. And they came back with great rejoicing unto the Lord.
On the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah [which means, The Valley of Blessing]; for there they blessed the Lord (20:26).
And so they named the valley, the Valley of Berachah unto this day.
Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat was in front of them, and they came back to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And as they came to Jerusalem with the psalteries and the harps and the trumpets unto the house of the LORD. The fear of God was in all of the kingdoms of those countries, when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for twenty-five years. He walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD. Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, they are written in the book of Jehu who was a prophet, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel (20:27-34).
Now Jehoshaphat, then, once again joined affinity with Ahaziah, the king of Israel. Now Ahaziah was the son of Ahab. He also was an extremely wicked person, but Jehoshaphat had some strange drawing towards the kings of Israel. And so they made an agreement to build ships in order that they might go to Tarshish to get gold and all. But the ships broke up in a storm and they never made it to Tarshish. Actually Eliezer, a prophet, prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying, Because you have joined yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken in a storm; they were not able to go to Tarshish.
Now Jehoshaphat died, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. And he had brothers who were also sons of Jehoshaphat [and it names several of the brothers]. And Jehoshaphat had given to his sons great gifts of silver, gold, and precious things, and he gave them cities: but the kingdom he gave to Jehoram; because he was [his oldest,] the firstborn. Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father [verse 4], he strengthened himself, and killed all of his brothers with the sword, and also many of the princes of Israel. And Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel [that is, the northern kings who were wicked], like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD (21:1-6).
Now here is where Jehoshaphat’s seeking to become friends and joining affinity with the kings of Israel got him into trouble. For, no doubt, on some of his ventures up to the kingdom of Israel and visiting Ahab, he took his oldest son with him, Jehoram, who saw the daughter of Ahab and fell in love with her. And of course, because he was seeking to make an affinity with the kings, they arranged the marriage and his oldest son married the daughter of wicked Ahab, who was also the daughter of Jezebel. And thus, she had the same kind of an influence upon her husband Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, as did Jezebel upon Ahab, a very wicked influence in the kingdom.
Now this is where the dad may say, “Well, I can go and it won’t bother me. I know how to handle myself and I won’t be touched by the thing.” But yet, his son going with him was the one that was affected and hurt by the relationship. And so we need to be careful of the relationships that we develop, not only for our own sake. You may be able to handle it. But it can have disastrous results in your family, your children. They may not be able to handle those pressures.
And so had he not been going up and seeking to make these kinds of friendship ventures towards Ahab, no doubt his son would never have met this Athaliah and married her, and thus, this horrible thing would not have transpired. It cost him the rest of his sons. All of the rest of the sons were killed by this one boy who was given the kingdom. He was influenced for evil by the wife that he married who was the daughter of that wicked king Ahab. And she had an evil influence in Judah for a period of time.
Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David (21:7),
Now during the days of this...and remember he only reigned for eight years. But as he began to reign, first of all, the Edomites rebelled from under their dominion. And then the people of Libnah rebelled against them.
And there came to him a writing from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa the king of Judah, But you’ve walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and you have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and you’ve also slain your brothers of your father's house, which were better than you: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite your people, and your children, and your wives, and all of your goods: and you will have a great sickness by the disease of your bowels, until your bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day (21:12-15).
“You’re going to die a slow death as your bowels fall out.” So God’s disease that He was going to bring upon him because of his wickedness. And he was only about forty years old at the time of his death. So died at a relatively young age, but because of that wickedness, this message from Elijah the prophet. Now some people see difficulty here, because if you go back to II Kings it would seem that Elijah died while Jehoshaphat was still king. Elijah basically was not a prophet to Judah; he was a prophet to Israel. And he was a prophet during the time of Ahab in the northern kingdom. It was Ahab and Jezebel that Elijah was really chiding for their wickedness, and he was a real thorn unto Ahab.
But as you go back to Kings where the recording of the death of Elijah takes place there in the second chapter, it would just appear that the writer of II Kings just throws in the account of his death because he’s going to move now to the southern kingdom and talk about it for a while. So he doesn’t follow a chronological order. There would seem to be about a six-year difference here, but it was only that he recorded the death of Elijah out of a chronological sequence in II Kings. And so Elijah wrote this message of rebuke and of judgment that is going to come upon the son of Jehoshaphat because of his evil.
And the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: and they came up into Judah, they broke into it, they carried away the substance that was found in the king's house, his sons also, and his wives; and there was never a son left, save Jehoahaz, his youngest of his sons (21:16-17).
So the Arabians and the Philistines also began to attack. I mean the kingdom went so quickly. In eight years just deteriorated down to nothing. The Edomites revolted, the people of Libnah revolted, and now the Philistines, the Arabians, they come in and take everything. They took all of his wives, took all of his children. Left only one, his youngest son Jehoahaz.
And after this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, at the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases (21:18-19).
And here the declaration:
They made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers (21:19).
Now that was a time of mourning where they would mourn people and build fires. Stay up all night in mourning. But not for him.
Thirty-two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in eight years, and he departed without being desired (21:20).
The story of a wicked man. He departed without. No one mourned his going. “He departed without being desired.”
Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchre of the kings (21:20).
Now the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son (22:1)
Who is also called Jehoahaz. Ahaziah or Jehoahaz are one and the same. They made him the
king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all of the older sons. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. And he was forty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab (22:1-3):
Now something is wrong here. I’m going to have to go home and figure this out. Ahaziah, forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign. I have to look that up, because his dad was only forty years old when he died. So something’s wrong with the things here. Perhaps the copyist error. I’ll have to look that up in my commentaries.
His mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri. Or granddaughter of Omri. They don’t have words granddaughter. Omri was the father of Ahab. And he also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab.
for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors after the death of his father to his destruction. And he walked in their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab the king of Israel to war against Hazael the king of Syria at Ramothgilead: and the Syrians smote Joram (22:3-5).
He also continued the same friendship with the kings of the north and he went up. And he, too, was invited to come into the battle with Jehoram against Syria. Or Jehoram rather went to battle against Syria. Jehoram was injured and was recovering from his wounds that he had received in the battle when Ahaziah went up to visit him and to comfort him. This is the time when Jehu rebelled against the reign of Jehoram, came to him and killed him. And they also found Ahaziah there and Jehu killed him also. And so they brought his body back. And they buried him there. So rather than bringing it back for burial in Jerusalem.
Now when her son was killed, Athaliah then took over the reigning of Judah, and in taking over the reign, immediately she killed all of the other sons in order that there would be no other heir apparent to the throne, except that one of the nurses grabbed one of the little sons and she hid him so that he was not slain. He was just a baby at the time that he was hidden away. And they took him to the priest Jehoiada and they raised him there in the temple.
And so chapter 23, Joash, this one son that escaped the sword of Athaliah, escaped the assassination attempts. When he was seven years old the priest Jehoiada called together the captains of the people of Judah and the chief men. And he said, “Look, I have Joash who is a descendant of David, because God promised that there would not cease to be a descendant of David upon the throne. Athaliah is not a descendant of David. She’s a usurper and all. And so we want to establish him and set him up as the king. So I want you to divide into three companies. Three of you go out into the cities. Three of you stand at the gates, don’t let anybody in. And the other third will stay in here. And we’ll surround him and we will protect him.”
And so they had him stand by the pillar. They put the crown upon his head, this little seven-year-old boy, and they began to cry, “God save the king, God save the king.” And they began to rejoice and shout for the fact that God had again placed upon the throne a descendant of David. And Athaliah, when she heard the tumult of the people and heard them talking about a king, she came down into the temple and she saw this little fellow with the crown on his head and she began to cry, “Treason, treason!” And Jehoiada ordered the priest to grab her, not to kill her in the temple, but to take her outside and off the temple precincts and stone her. And so Athaliah was destroyed and now Joash began to reign as the king. He was only seven years old.
So in reality, he was just a little puppet type of a king, as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. Jehoiada exercised tremendous influence over little Joash. He had raised him from a child and now did exercise tremendous influence over him. And with the influence of Jehoiada, actually, there was again a spiritual revival as they executed, actually, not only Athaliah but all of the other priests of Baal and all that had been established.
Now in verse 16, chapter 23.
Jehoiada, [that is the priest who raised this little boy,] made a covenant between him and between all of the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’s people (23:16).
In other words, let’s return to the Lord. Let’s get back to being God’s people. So the people went to the temple of Baal and they broke it down. They broke down the altars and the images and they killed the priests of Baal there before the altars. And they re-established the priesthood there in Jerusalem and they began the worship within the temple once again, because the wicked sons of Amaziah had just gone in and ripped up the temple. It had become a disgrace, just almost a ruins. And so they sought then to repair.
Now this little Joash ordered them to collect funds throughout all the land to repair the temple. But the priests did not bring the money in. And so he called Jehoiada and he said, “Hey, I’ve ordered the temple repaired. How come the people haven’t…how come the priests haven’t brought the money in?” So he had a chest made and he set the chest there in the temple. And then he ordered all of the people of Judah according to the law of Moses, they were to give a tenth unto the Lord. And so the people came and they began to put it in, and the money was designated for the refurbishing and the rebuilding of the temple. And so they gave the money then unto skilled men and the temple was rebuilt.
In verse 15 of chapter 24, find Jehoiada, the priest that exercised such a good influence, died in a ripe old age of a hundred and thirty years.
And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done so much good in Israel. But at his death the princes of Judah made obeisance to the king. And the king began to hearken unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and they began to worship the pagan gods in the groves and the idols: and the wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this trespass. And yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear (24:16-19).
So God was angry. He sent His prophets, but they wouldn’t listen to the prophets.
And so the Spirit of God came upon [this prophet, his name was] Zechariah and he stood above people, and he said unto them, Thus saith God, Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, that you cannot prosper? because you have forsaken the LORD, he also has forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. And thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but he slew his son (24:20-22).
Now this Zechariah was the son of the priest. Actually, he probably grew up with Joash. But Joash is turning against God, against the early roots.
And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it (24:22).
Now it is interesting that the Jews later on began to always almost worship their fathers. “Our fathers. Our fathers.” I mean, that was always their cry, “Our fathers,” in almost an ancestral worship that developed by the Jews in later years. And it was a thing that when Jesus was talking with them, it was a thing of debate almost as they would say, “But our fathers,” you know, as though their fathers were so righteous and so holy. And Jesus one day got after them and said, “Which of the prophets did your fathers not kill?” Their fathers that they always revered in such righteousness and all killed the prophets that God sent to them.
Of course, Stephen points out the same thing in when he stood before the Sanhedrin. He tore down this concept of, “Our fathers were so righteous.” And he tore down that concept, and he really laid it out on them. And they got so angry they began to gnash their teeth and they dragged him out and stoned him.
So Jesus gave the parable of how that this lord had gone away and he left his goods, the vineyard and all in the hands of his servants. And so the time came for harvest and he sent a servant to them that he might gather the fruit or the money from the sale of the fruit and all and bring it to him. But they mistreated and killed the servants. And finally he said, “I will send my own son. Surely they will respect him.” But when the son came, they said, “Hey, this is the heir. Let’s destroy him and then it will be ours.” And Jesus actually was speaking a parable concerning Himself and how the Father had sent the prophets and how they had actually killed the prophets. But then when He sent His own Son, they even sought to kill Him. And He said, “What will the father do? He will take the vineyard from those or the goods from those evil servants and he will give it unto others,” as Jesus was then prophesying the gospel, God’s grace coming to the Gentiles and God’s Spirit being poured out upon us.
So here is another account, the prophet of God, Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest, the faithful priest who was put to death by Joash in the later years as he turned, really. And so as the result of this, God allowed the Syrians to come to pass at the end of the year and He delivered Judah and Jerusalem to the hands of the Syrians. Now the Syrians didn’t have a big army at all when they came down in this invasion. There were just a few of them. But God delivered a whole host of Judah into the hands of just a few Syrians because of their sin against the Lord.
The death of Joash is then recorded beginning with verse 25.
In chapter 25,
Amaziah [the son of Joash] began to reign, he was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. He reigned for twenty-nine years. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a complete heart. It came to pass, when the kingdom was established (25:1-3)
Actually, his dad was finally killed by a couple of his servants, and so he had the servants killed who had killed his father.
But he did not slay their children, because of the law of Moses that said, The children should not die for the sins of the parents, nor the parents for the sins of the children, but every man shall die for his own sin (25:4).
And Amaziah gathered together the people of Judah and they made an expedition against the Edomites. And they were successful in this war against the Edomites.
There came a man of God to the king (25:7),
Verse 7, prior to the battle. Because the king had used a part of the money, a hundred talents of silver. And he had hired a hundred thousand of the men of Israel to come with them to fight against the Edomites. So the man of God came and said, “Why are you leaning on the arm of flesh? Why are you trusting in the Israelites for help? You ought to trust in the Lord. Send them home, because they shouldn’t be going into battle with you.” He said, “Well, what shall I do? I’ve already given a hundred talents of silver.” He said, “Just forget it. Count it as a loss. But send them back. Don’t let them go into battle with you.” Well, he listened to the voice of the prophet of God and he sent the men of Judah home, who were angry, the men of Israel home. They were angry and so they actually began to rip up some of the cities of Judah on their way home.
But Amaziah went down then against the Edomites and God gave the Edomites into his hands. But then, stupid guy, captured some of the gods of the Edomites, the little idols and he brought them back and set them up in his home and he began to worship these little idols, the gods of the Edomites.
Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, he sent to him a prophet that said, Why have you sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver them out of your hand? And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said, Did I hire you as a counselor? You better shut up; for why should I smite you? Then the prophet was quiet, and he said, I know that God hath determined to destroy you, because you have done this, and you have not hearkened to my counsel. So Amaziah the king of Judah sent a message to Jehoahaz, the king of Israel, he said, Let’s come and face each other (25:15-17).
And so Jehoash, the king of Israel, sent a message back and said, “Look, young man, you went down and you had a victory over the Edomites. Now just stay home and enjoy that victory, for why should you meddle to your own hurt?” In other words, be satisfied with the victory you had over the Edomites and don’t go looking for trouble. “Why should you meddle to your own hurt?”
But Amaziah would not hear (25:20);
And he demanded that they come out and meet face to face.
So the king of Israel came against him at Bethshemesh, and Amaziah and his troops were defeated. And the king of Israel came to Jerusalem and he broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, a space of about six hundred feet.
And he took all of the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God, and the treasures of the king's house, and he took hostages, and he returned to Samaria. And Amaziah lived for another fifteen years. And the rest of his acts are found in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. Now after that time Amaziah turned away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; he fled to Lachish: but they came to Lachish and there they killed him (25:24-27).
Now this business of “why meddle to your own hurt?” is a good warning really, because many times people think that they can meddle with sin and not get hurt. They think that they can play with fire and not get burned. And it is interesting that many times our greatest dangers lie immediately following our greatest victories. Having a great victory can be a dangerous thing, because many times flushed with victory we begin to gain confidence in our flesh. We begin to almost go out looking for trouble. Looking for temptation so that we can conquer over it. Putting ourselves in a place of temptation or jeopardy in order that we might show how strong we are. Meddling around with things that we have no business meddling with. In places we have no business being. Meddling usually results in our own hurt.
And so they were defeated. But that wasn’t all. A part of their defenses were destroyed. The king came and he destroyed a part of the wall of Jerusalem. When you fall into temptation, a part of your defenses are destroyed. The first time you came up against it, it was a real battle. You didn’t fall easily. You really held your own for quite a while. But when you fell, a part of your defenses were wiped out. So the next time you faced that thing, you didn’t have the same amount of strength to resist. It was a little easier to do it, because you’ve already done it once. You didn’t have just that same inner strength against it. It was easier to fall the second time. The third time it was even easier yet, because a part of your defenses were destroyed.
And he took away the treasures. Whenever Satan defeats you, a certain amount of your treasures go with it. Treasures of purity and innocency robbed. Meddling to your own hurt. Don’t meddle with sin. Don’t meddle in the places of sin. Don’t go to the enemy’s territory looking for a fight. Looking to prove how strong you are, how tough you are, how righteous you are. How many people have been hurt by meddling.
Chapter 26 we find the beginning of the reign of Uzziah. Now he was only sixteen years old when he began to reign and he had one of the longest reigns outside of Manasseh, the longest reign of any king in Israel. He reigned for some fifty-one years. Uzziah was a good king. Uzziah was a popular king. Uzziah became a powerful king.
He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah. He reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. He did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper (26:2-5).
Very interesting Scripture. “As long as he sought the Lord.” As long as you put God first in your life. Jesus said that you should not be worried about what you’re going to eat, what you’re going to drink, what you’re going to wear. For after these things do the pagans worry. But “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). As long as he sought the Lord, as long as he put God first, God made his ways to prosper.
We need to put God first in our lives. “As long as he sought the Lord,” very important Scripture.
So he went forth and he warred against the Philistines, he broke down the wall of Gath, and Jabneh, and Ashdod, and he built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians, and the Mehunims. And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly. He built towers for defense there in Jerusalem and at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and he fortified them. And he built towers in the desert, he dug many wells: for he had a lot of cattle (26:6-10),
And he had a lot of vineyards and all. There was just general prosperity under Uzziah. He had a host of fighting men that went out to war by bands. And there were 2,600 captains over them.
He made in Jerusalem weapons of war, engines of war that were invented by cunning men, that they would put them on the towers to hurl stones and to shoot arrows. And his name spread far abroad (26:15);
So he became a powerful king, a powerful ruler. The kingdom was strengthened under him.
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD, for he went into the temple to burn incense at the altar of incense (26:16).
Now, this was the duty that was to be exclusively the priest’s. As the king he had no business intruding into the temple to offer incense. It was a job only for the priests. And so Azariah the priest with another eighty priests who were all valiant men came in and challenged him. As he was swinging the incense there before the altar of incense, they challenged him. They said, “Get out of here. You have no business being in here.” And he became angry with them and turned against them. But as he did, leprosy broke out on his forehead. And so the priests grabbed him and thrust him out physically because of the leprosy. And he became a leper. He had to dwell outside until the day of his death. And his son took over as the king.
Now Uzziah was a good king, for the most part. It was in the time of his strength that he fell. But because of all that he had done, he was a popular king, the nation prospered under his reign, and his name spread abroad throughout all of the land. And twice it talks about, in verse 15, “And his name spread far abroad for he was marvelously helped and he was strong.” And in verse 8, “And his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt.” He was a king that the people had great confidence in, because as long as he was on the throne, because he was a very cunning man, a very skillful man, he had built up all of these defenses, they had developed all of these weapons of war. They had invented many excellent weapons for battle. And the people felt a security. Things prospered under his reign. His name was spread abroad so that people were looking at him. Confidence was in him.
And I point that out because in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, and Isaiah the prophet lived at this time. He began his prophesying during the time or shortly after the death of Uzziah. So we are now coming historically into the period of the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet. And in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, he makes this interesting statement concerning Uzziah: “In the year king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on the throne, high and lifted up, and His train did fill the temple” (Isaiah 6:1).
Up until that time, Isaiah’s eyes were upon Uzziah, just like everybody else. He was captivated by the abilities of this man. Uzziah was sort of the hero for all of the people. And God had to move Uzziah out of the way in order that Isaiah might see the Lord.
It’s terrible when a man hides our vision of God. Even though he is good, even though he has done a lot of good, we must not get our eyes upon men. Now at the time of his death there was a great despair. “Oh, Uzziah is dead. What are we going to do? We’ve prospered now for fifty years. The kingdom is strong and powerful. What are we going to do? The throne is empty of this popular, powerful king. What are we going to do? Uzziah is dead.”
But God gave to Isaiah a vision of the throne. But God was sitting upon it. Behind the scenes, God reigns. “I saw the Lord high and lifted up sitting on the throne, and His train, His glory did fill the temple.” So the death of Uzziah and his son Jotham who began to reign in his stead.
And chapter 27 takes up the reign of Jotham.
Twenty-five years old when he began to reign, reigned for sixteen years. He did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, just like his father Uzziah: however he didn’t enter into the temple. But the people under him began to do corruptly (27:1-2).
And, of course, you’ll get that in Isaiah’s prophecy.
And Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God (27:6).
But not much is told us about him. The rest of what he did is told in the book of Kings, and he reigned for sixteen years. So he was actually just thirty-six years old. No, he was forty-one years old; twenty-five when he started.
And he slept with his fathers, they buried him in the city of David (27:9):
So that brings us up to chapter 28. Next week we will finish the book of II Chronicles as we come to the end of the books of history prior to their being carried away into the Babylonian captivity.
Now you know that the Old Testament is divided into different sections. The first being the first five books being the books of Moses; and then we have the books, really, of the history of the nation. Beginning with Joshua coming into the land, the period of their judges, and then the period of their kings up until the time of their captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. And then we have two more books of history, Ezra and Nehemiah. But the books of Ezra and Nehemiah carry you into the post-captive period after they returned from Babylonian captivity. So II Chronicles will bring us up to the what they call the pre-exilic history of the nation and the post-exilic we will have when we get the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Then we go into the books they call of poetry as we get into Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. And then we get into the books of the major prophets. Major only because of the length of their books, not because of the importance of their prophecies or the position, or not because one prophet was greater than another. But just the size of their books, the major prophets. And then the smaller books of the prophets, which are called the minor prophets because the books are smaller.
And when we get into the books of poetry, you must fit them back into this period of history we’ve already covered, because these books were written during this period. For instance, Job was written sometime during the historic period of Genesis. Job could have lived about the same time as did Abraham. And so that book goes way back historically.
The Psalms, of course, cover mainly David’s reign but yet some of the psalms were written by Moses and some of them by Solomon and others of Asaph, one of David’s musicians. As you get into Proverbs, of course, you’re into Solomon’s reign. As you’re into Song of Solomon you’ve got again one of the thousand or more songs that Solomon wrote. Then as you get into the prophets, Isaiah, we’re in the particular period of history right now where Isaiah comes in. And with Jeremiah this is the period of history that Jeremiah. We’re coming right up now to Jeremiah in the next king. And that’s when Jeremiah began his prophesying when he was just a lad of seventeen years old. And you begin to fit then the prophets back into this period of history.
So it’s important that you sort of get the history in your mind because to understand the prophets and their messages you’ve got to know what were the circumstances of Judah and Israel at the time the prophets were telling them of the destruction that was going to come upon their enemies or the destruction that was going to come upon them because they had forsaken God. And so to get a good understanding of the prophets, it’s important that we lay the foundational base in the history so that you’ll be able to understand more completely the message of the prophets when we get there. So sometimes history has a way of being a drag, but yet it does have its value in understanding better the message of the prophets as we move on.
So shall we stand. May the Lord fill your heart with praise and thanksgiving through the week that you might know God’s work and God’s victory in your life. May God help you to bring things into their proper perspective and the proper priorities. That you might seek first the kingdom of God, His righteousness. That you might realize the power and the glory of the God that you serve, in order that you might see His work in your life in a very real and beautiful way. In Jesus' name.