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The Failure of Great Leadership
Saturday, 13 September 2014 17:01

Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 21-22

 

Contents:

 

A Great Carnage

A Great Commander

A Great Compromise

A Great Change

A Great Challenge

 

A Great Carnage [2Chronicles 22:10]

 

2 Ch 22:10 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. NKJV

 

The pronouncement above is the end of our story. With this dramatic statement, the entire family of the heirs of Jehoshaphat had been destroyed, save one male child.

Part of his royal family of Jehoshaphat was put to death by his son, King Jehoram of Judah (2Ch 21:4), others by the Philistines and Arabians (2Ch 21:16-17), still others were killed by King Jehu of Israel (2Kin 10:12-14), and the remaining heirs destroyed by their own grandmother the Athaliah.

 

Genocide: The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.

 

What event or series of events could have been so severe as to merit the destruction of the entire royal line of Jehoshaphat save one child? The discovery of this cause is the objective of this sermon

This cause, once discovered, will reveal itself as a significant factor in the failure of black spiritual leadership today.

The destruction of the family of King Jehoshaphat of Judah occurred at the same time as the destruction of the family of King Ahab of Israel. Both kingdoms were overrun with false religion in the form the cult created by Jeroboam as well as of Baal worship.

King Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, received the following letter from the great prophet Elijah, who ministered in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

 

2 Chronicles 21:12–15 (AV)

12 And there came a writing to him 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 king of Judah, 13 But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself: 14 Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: 15 And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.

 

Note the reasons for the judgment

First, Jehoram had failed to follow the example of his father Jehoshaphat or of his grandfather Asa.

Second, he followed the example of the kingdom of Israel in spiritual adultery, called harlotry, consisting in the worship of Baal, the God of the Sidonians.

Third, Jehoram manifested the moral character of one seduced by false religion, he murdered his brothers “who were better than” him, apparently because they refused to follow him into idolatry.

Jehoram had a son, Ahaziah, who was the one killed by Jehu directly prior to our initial scripture, it was his death that motivated his mother Athaliah to kill the royal offspring. He also continued in the footsteps of his evil father and reigned only one year before he too was overcome by judgment.

All of this befell the family of righteous Jehoshaphat. This seems unbelievable once we understand who Jehoshaphat was and what he had accomplished in Judah.

However the testimony of the slaughter of Athaliah was even more unbelievable than this because it occurred only 5 years after the death of the great and faithful king. (Jehoshaphat died in 889 BC and Athaliah killed the royal heirs in 884)

 

A Great Commander [2 Chronicles 17:1-11; 19:1-11]

 

Jehoshaphat was the son of a great king, Asa, who ruled over Judah for 41 years. Asa stood for the true doctrine of the Lord.

Asa eliminated the male (homosexual) temple prostitutes from the land (1Kin 15:12)

Asa, the father of Jehoshaphat, eliminated the idols from the land ( v12 A leader can eliminate the idols but it takes God to eliminate the idolatry from the hearts of people)

Asa even dethroned his own grandmother because of her idolatry (v13). Today we are afraid to even call false teaching what it is.


Asa was fighting the evil legacy of his own father Abijam and his grandfather Rehoboam, but he accepted the risks.This was the example left to Jehoshaphat to follow. He was the son of a great leader and he hearkened to that example.

Our children may not follow our good example, but there is no chance for them if we do not at least provide one. The same applies to a church or a community or a nation.

Someone has to stand up for what is right regardless of the costs. By Asa doing whatever was necessary to re-establish the proper worship God in the land, he gave his people not only the 41 good years of his own reign, but most of he 25 years of his son Jehoshaphat.

We are not obligated to live under the tyranny of spiritual defeat. It is the responsibility of Spiritual Leadership to take the risks necessary to create the opportunity for spiritual freedom. Spiritual Leadership that stands for and fights for the truth of the Word of God provides that opportunity. The alternative is judgment.

Jehoshaphat did not have to remove idolatry from Judah-his father had taken care of that. Jehoshaphat maintained what his father had started; because of his faithfulness, God prospered him

 

First, God freed Jehoshaphat from war by placing fear in the hearts of his enemies, who paid him tribute without even the threat of war (2Ch 17:10).

 

Freedom from war meant that the king could devote the energies of the nation to the people rather than to their enemies

Spiritual Leadership brings the blessing of God to the nation which makes it possible for the positive advancement of civilization

The absence of blessing means that we are constantly fighting pathology (crime, racism, poverty) instead of advancing ourselves.


Second
, God provided Jehoshaphat with riches (2Ch 17:5).

 

When God is first, you do not have to have to devote your self to profit Matt 6:33

God blessed Jehoshaphat from the outside from his enemies, and from the inside via his own people. When we get our priorities straight, God is faithful to bless those who advance His plan (2Ch 16.9a).

 

Third God established the kingdom in his hand (v5).

 

Spiritual leadership fights the battles that must be fought and avoids those that need not be fought

Jehoshaphat fought the spiritual battle, he maintained the reforms and priorities established by Asa, and built upon them

God in turn fought all the other battles, economic, political and military

The result is that Jehoshaphat was established

If black America is to be established, the Spiritual Leader must begin fighting the right battles and avoiding the wrong ones.

 

Fighting the Right Battles

Jehoshaphat appointed teachers to travel throughout the land providing scripture teaching to the common people (2Ch 17:7-10).

Removing idols from the land is one thing, removing them from the heart is another matter. Jehoshaphat created his own broadcast network to get the Word to the people, realizing that the nation was no stronger than their commitment to the Lord.

He also established a system of civil and religious courts throughout the land (2Ch 19:4-11).

Jehoshaphat was king and therefore he had a responsibility to administer justice.

The man of God today is not to become a political or economic champion, but a champion of the accurate teaching of the Word of God. He must do that which only he can do.

It is the job of the congregation to exercise its own Spiritual Leadership by standing for righteousness and justice out in the world

A Great Compromise [ Kings 16:25-34; 2 Chronicles 18:1-3; 20:35-37]

 

If Jehoshaphat was so great, then what happened to his kingdom?

The first thing that Jehoshaphat did when he ascended to the throne was to strengthen key cities against attack from Israel in the north. His father had fought against the kingdom of Israel throughout his entire reign. Further there was the growing threat of Damascus and the Syrians to the north.

I believe that Jehoshaphat’s thinking followed these lines
 

“I and my father have spent our entire lives, the energy and strength of the kingdom of Judah as well as the lives of our young men fighting our brothers, the Israelites of the North.

“We and the kingdom of Israel, our brothers, share a common enemy in Syria who surely will defeat us both if we continue to be divided.

“I will not repeat the error of my father who allied himself with Syria in order to defeat his own blood (1Kin 15:18).

Jehoshaphat made the decision to ally himself with Ahab, the son of Omri, the king of Israel. He bet on a Pan-Israelite strategy, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Jehoshaphat made arrangements for his son Jehoram to marry the daughter of Ahab. In fact the names of the sons of Jehoshaphat and Ahab were the same. Both has sons named Jehoram and Ahaziah. It appears that the two became close friends.

Ahab was the son of Omri of whom the bible says:
 

1 Kings 16:25–26 (AV)

25 But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him. 26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

 

The sin of Jeroboam 1Kin 12:26 was the establishment of a modified form of the true faith in the Northern kingdom. Jeroboam had changed the location, the worship, the priesthood and the feast days in order to keep the people from departing the country to worship in Jerusalem. In other words, he had established the ultimate “church growth formula”

Need I say that Christian doctrine has been changed today in order to produce church growth by unnatural means

A new salvation with no power for worship, prayer or ministry without a second blessing. A salvation that can be lost.

A new worship based upon a new concept of spiritual power and a new language of praise

A new priesthood consisting of an assortment of bishops, prophets, apostles and women preachers

 

King Omri continued in this tradition and the bible does not call him progressive or inclusive. The bible calls him evil.

Ahab was the son of this man and he followed his example:

 

1 Kings 16:30–33 (AV)

30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

 

This is the Ahab with whom good king Jehoshaphat aligned himself.

Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram married Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel. This is the same Jehoram who waited until his father was dead and then killed all of his brothers. But this should not be surprising, because his mother in law Jezebel did the same to the true prophets in Israel.

This political compromise led to spiritual compromise, and very quickly to Athaliah and her slaughter of the royal blood.

 

2 Chronicles 18:1–3 (AV)

1 Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. 2 And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead. 3 And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramothgilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.

 

God attempted to warn Jehoshaphat off this endeavor with the prophecy of the one Micaiah who revealed how God himself planned to use this battle to destroy Ahab.

Ignoring the prophecy, Jehoshaphat proceeds into battle actually disguised as Ahab! (Disobedient bels look like unbels)

Ahab is killed in battle as predicted by the prophet and Jehoshaphat returns home to the following rebuke from the Lord:

 

2 Chronicles 19:2–3 (AV)

2 And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. 3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.

 

The prophet told Jehoshaphat that there is no acceptable reason to link arms with error

Not moral, political or economic expediency

Not racial unity

Not intimacy of relationship

However this did not stop Jehoshaphat. Once Ahab was dead, he collaborated with his son Ahaziah in an economic enterprise.

In the same manner, God sent another prophet to confront him regarding this act.

 

2 Chronicles 20:35–37 (AV)

35 And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: 36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber. 37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

There is no effective ministry that come from being unequally yoked together with those committed to doctrinal error

 

2 Corinthians 6:14 (AV)

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

 

2 Thessalonians 3:6 (AV)

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (AV)

15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

A Great Change

The reputation and influence of Asa and Jehoshaphat did not stop the blood thirsty religion of Baal in the Northern Kingdom

The excellent testimony of Jehoshaphat had no positive impact upon Ahab, his wife Jezebel or their sons.

The pure doctrine of Jehoshaphat did not dissuade Ahab from his disregard of the prophet Elijah or his disrespect of God himself.

On the other hand, the relationship between these two men did result in the corruption of the next two royal descendants of Jehoshaphat as they embraced Baal worship.

The fellowship between Jehoshaphat and Ahab resulted in the genocide of the entire family of Jehoshaphat, both the innocent and the guilty alike.

The association between Jehoshaphat and Ahab resulted in the undermining of the entire nation of Judah as they embraced false religion.

 

A Great Challenge

 

We must call false teaching what it is. We cannot be afraid because they are not afraid. I have never seen someone timidly teaching error.

We must teach, we must broadcast the truth by every effective means. People need to be equipped to discern the difference between truth and error

We must stop trying to make friends with error. Attempting to befriend error says outright that error and disobedience to truth is not evil and therefore that Christ died for nothing. This is the lie of Eden and the lie that deceived on third of the angelic host.

If you want to help someone, help the one who is struggling to proclaim the truth and thinks he is failing and is ready to quit because he cant pay his bills or get health insurance, while the erroneous Pastor down the road is rich.

 

2 Ch 22:10 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. NKJV

 

The disregard of the importance of the accurate teaching of the Word of God caused genocide within the family of a great king, only five years removed from his death. It also caused the failure of a great national revival.

The church is the key to the fortunes and misfortunes of black America.

The man of God is the key to the effective ministry of the church within civilization.

Accurate teaching of the Word of God is the key to the effectiveness of the man of God.

Black Renaissance exists for one reason, to assist the man of God in accomplishing that mission-will you help us?

 
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