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Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Monday, September 21, 2015, Yujin wrote,

Then in the third year of his reign he sent his officials...  They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; and they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught among the people (2 Chronicles 17:9).

Friends, I'm going again a little off the beaten path to bring a Scripture that I recently read with my daughter during her quiet time.

Jehoshaphat was one of the good kings of Judah - for the most part - and one of the good things he did was to proactively send out teachers to all the cities of Judah in order to instruct them in the way of the LORD.

Why was this necessary? There were Levites among all the tribes to do this. The people could also come to the Temple of God to worship.

I believe Jehoshaphat understood that even though there were Levites to teach the people and even though there was a prominent Temple for the people to come to, the day-to-day of life could easily distract and supplant obedience to God's Law. Jehoshaphat wanted to make sure the people heard and understood God's Law. 

Friends, for these last four years I have tried to diligently encourage people to daily read their Bibles, to daily memorize Scripture, and to pray. I have created this site to support these spiritual disciplines. Like Jehoshaphat, I want to do everything I can to make sure God's people hear and understand God's Word. 

God has created us to be passion-filled people. He has not made us like robots. He has not made us morally neutral. One wiseman said, "There are two wolves always fighting inside every person. One that is humble, merciful, patient, gentle, kind, forgiving, upright, and good; the other that is angry, malicious, greedy, vengeful, deceptive, immoral, and proud." A young acolyte asked this wiseman, "Which one wins?" And the wiseman answered, "The one you feed." 

This wiseman may have been familiar with this passage of Scripture:

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions(Galatians 5:17 NLT).

The two wolves represent the biblical description of the believer, who has two natures, one that is controlled by sin (literally "the flesh") and one that is led by the Spirit. They are "constantly fighting each other." Like the story of the wolves, the prevailing beast is the one we choose to feed. 

As we continue to read in Galatians 5, we see that there are even more parallels to the story of the wolves:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:19-23).

Like the wiseman's description of the wolves, we are given a clear idea of what kinds of attitudes and actions these natures produce. They are a warning to us, in case we get mixed up as to which is which. Remember, these words were given not to unbelievers but to believers, for Paul was writing to the believers in the Galatian churches. 

Friends, I want to make sure that we are all feeding the right wolf inside of us. I want to make sure that we are walking by the Spirit and not according to our sinful fleshly nature. I know we have pastors for people to consult and churches for people to attend, but I fear that somehow we have insulated our day-to-day from the influence of the Spirit and truth. I have been praying about how I might be used by the Lord to encourage, bless, and instruct those within my purview of influence. In the next days and weeks I hope to start another outreach to some of you and others, not to judge or condemn, but to encourage and instruct from the Word of God. 

My intent is not to force my sharing on anyone. I am no king. I am no prophet. If anyone would rather not hear from me, then just let me know - I may still pray for you, but I will cease from sharing with you. Otherwise, to those that allow me to speak into your lives, I pray that the Lord will bless our communication. 


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Saturday, May 23, 2015 (Last Updated on 5/22/2020), Yujin wrote,

Do you not know that the LordGod of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt (2 Chronicles 13:5).

What is "a covenant of salt"? There are various interpretations based on the use of salt as a preservative or as a flavoring agent. All of the offerings in the Law were to be salted (Leviticus 2:13). As a perservative, salt can keep food from spoiling quickly. This would make sense for the offerings to be eaten by the priests and people; however, the argument for preservation does not seem to hold up for offerings that were not to be eaten but immediately and entirely burned up, as in the whole burnt offering. Yet, these too were to be salted. Now, if the perservative nature of salt is understood metaphorically, namely, as signifying some enduring aspect to the offerings, then there would be no problems seeing the purpose of salt for all the offerings. The salt may simply signify that the sacrifices made would have an enduring result, so that it would not need to be repeated again and again for the same cause. 

Now, in 2 Chronicles 13:15 the argument for perservation fits nicely with the understanding of God's covenant with David being an enduring covenant. Abijah's argument against Jeroboam would then be that God's covenant with David, whereby God established His kingdom to be an enduring one through the sons of David (2 Chronicles 13:5,8), stands against Jeroboam's idolatrous and God-forsaken reign. 

Now, the other major meaning and use of salt is as a flavoring agent . Salt can enhance one's perception of flavor in a particular food. It can also make the tasteless tasty. It can also remove the bitterness of certain foods. It can also be overpowering when used in excess. How one applies this meaning to the offerings or the covenant can be various and sundry. 

The Bible does not give a clear meaning, therefore, we cannot be dogmatic about what is meant. Therefore, context must be our best guide to understanding. It is also possible that salt is used in a different way in various contexts.

For example, in the New Testament salt is used of believers ("You are the salt of the earth" - Matthew 5:13) and of judgment ("Everyone will be salted with fire" - Mark 9:49; Jeremiah 48:9). Now, since Matthew 5 and Mark 9 share some of the same language of "salty salt" vs. "tastless salt", a similar meaning may be intended for both passages. In this case, perhaps the understanding of salt as a flavoring agent is more relevant, particularly when salt serves to distinguish flavors, drawing out the good and neutralizing the bitter. So when believers are called to be "salt of the earth," they are not so much to preserve the earth as they are to draw out the good as distinct from the evil in the earth. And the idea of the salt of judgment would speak of the destruction of the evil (i.e. bitter flavor) and the vindication of the good.

As for our present passage, and God's covenant of salt with David, I sense the idea of salt as a preservative seems to provide the best meaning in the context. God's covenant with David was to be an enduring ("forever", "through the sons of David") covenant. Now, Jeroboam I could also have received an enduring kingdom as David did (1 Kings 11:38), but he forfeited it by disobeying God and pursuing his idolatry. 

Friends, we are beneficiaries of God's covenant of salt with David, which is perfectly fulfilled in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Praise God for the enduring nature of that covenant, which gives us a sure hope of an eternal inheritance in Christ.

In this hope, may we gain perspective, find rest, and daily cause for praise and thanksgiving to our God, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Friday, May 23, 2014 (Last Updated on 5/23/2015), Yujin wrote,

Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah (2 Chronicles 14:9).

One million Ethiopians with 300 chariots against 580,000 of Judah/Benjamin. Clearly Asa was outnumbered by around 420,000 troops, not to mention the deadly chariots. Yet, Asa trusted in the LORD, and God not only delivered Judah, but He also routed the Ethiopians so that they were beyond recovery.

Yet, later we find Asa negotiating with the king of Aram to gain strategic advantage against his adversary, Baasha, the king of Israel (cf. 2 Chronicles 15:1-3). Why?! God delivered him against greater foes, but here Asa chose to use human strategem, and that without consulting the LORD and allying with an idolator, Ben-Hadad, whom God was against. His father Abijah committed the same folly. And Asa's son, Jehoshaphat, would commit the same folly. They knew the dictum, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," but they utterly failed to realize the greater truth: "the enemy of my God is my enemy." 

Friends, there are two great commands that the Lord Jesus declared were the greatest of all. The first was "to love the LORD with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." The second was "to love your neighbor as yourself." I heard a pastor preach that these were of the same importance, because Jesus said the second was like the first. If this was true, then there would have been nothing wrong with what Asa did in allying with Ben-Hadad.

But, of course, the two commands are not of equal importance. The first takes vast precedence over the second, even to the degree that our love for God should make every other love seem like hate (cf. Luke 14:26). It is not so true that "love conquers all," as a popular song declares. No, "God's love conquers all," which is to say that God conquers all, for God does not love everyone equally or in the same way. Certainly, God's love for His chosen people is vastly different than His love for the rest of self-condemned humanity. And the calling for believers is not simply to love everything and everyone willy nilly. We are to love what God loves and to love in the way that God loves. 

Consider the attitude of Elisha to Joram, the King of Israel, when this king summoned him to give his prophecy:

Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you (2 Kings 3:14).

Elisha did not care that the king of Israel was summoning him. He would not care even if this king came to him with great quantities of gold and silver and a promise of great honor and position. The King of Israel was on the wrong side of the LORD. The enemy of his God is his enemy. 

Friends, let us take this to heart. Let us understand that "nearness to God" is our good (cf. Psalm 73:28). God's friends must be our friends and God's enemies must be our enemies. And the only reason that we sometimes treat the enemies of God in a friendly manner is that they might be converted to God, for we too were His enemies before we became His friends. 


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Thursday, May 23, 2013, Yujin wrote,

Then in the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah; and with them the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tobadonijah, the Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, the priests. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; and they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught among the people (2 Chronciles 17:7-9).

Jehoshaphat was one of the good kings of Israel because he sought God and obeyed His commandments. What is more, he also made sure that the people of Judah knew the LORD and His commandments. He did this by sending out qualified teachers throughout the land, with the book of the Law of the LORD with them.

In like manner Jesus sent out His disciples from village to village to heal the sick and preach the Good News. Luke 9:1-6 gives the account of Him sending out the Twelve. Luke 10:1-16 gives the account of Him sending out the Seventy-two. This latter group's mission was simply to prepare the way for Jesus' coming (cf. Luke 10:1).

Jehoshaphat did a very noble thing by trying to get the Word of God out to the people. In later years there would come a good king by the name of Josiah, who sought the LORD as no other, but he could not avert God's judgment because he was unable to turn the hearts of the people, whose convictions were entrenched in the evil and idolatry of former kings. They were only obedient while Josiah was king, but they were swift to turn away from the LORD thereafter (cf. 2 Chronicles 34:33).

Friends, this is also why you will never find me trying to assert my word against another or my authority against another. I will not say, "Listen to me and not him" or "Follow me and not him." I realize that the larger and more enduring good is served by people getting into the Word for themselves rather than aligning with one preacher or teacher over another. It is the Word of God that is enduring. It is the Word of God that sanctifies. It is the Word of God that the Spirit powerfully wields to transform lives. It is not my word or the word of any preacher or teacher or theologian. I would much rather see someone dedicate themselves to daily and diligently search the Scriptures than to agree with me.

I would say as Paul,

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task... Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other (1 Corinthians 3:5; 4:6).

We are all servants of the Lord and bound to teach the written Word of God. God does not permit us to go beyond what is written, so that none of us, whether a leader or a follower, would be puffed up, as if our word or experience was somehow greater than another. 

Friends, I believe that as long as we encourage people to faithfully read their Bibles, even to diligently study it for understanding, this will go farther than any eloquent preaching, revival, or miraculous experience in bringing about Spirit-led transformation. Then, no matter who's preaching or teaching, they will be sufficiently equipped to discern truth from error.

But such discernment will not come in a day or a month or even a year but perhaps only after many years. I say this because, as in other disciplines, after a few years, people may know just enough to be proud and dangerous when they have only scratched the surface of understanding. Even after many years I know that preachers and teachers can be this way, still asserting their word and their authority rather than simply and wholly standing on God's Word.

Let us remember that we do not give God's Word power or authority. It possesses these things on its own:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Heberws 4:12-13).


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 (Last Updated on 5/23/2015), Yujin wrote,

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT)

Isn't this amazing and wonderful?! This Scripture tells us that the LORD is fixedly interested in a certain kind of person and wants to strengthen such a person. What kind of person is this? It is the one whose heart is fully committed to the LORD. His eyes roam the earth to find such a person. 

But who else is roaming the earth?

“Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” (Job 1:7NLT)

Satan is also looking out for the faithful. But his purposes are very different from the LORD:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

So then, the LORD and Satan are both on the lookout for the faithful -- the LORD to strengthen them, but Satan to devour them. Yet, we should be encouraged because we know that in the end the LORD's purposes will prevail. This was Peter's encouragement to suffering saints:

Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:9, 10 NLT)

So, what is the lesson here. Whether we are receiving strength from the LORD or suffering from Satan, we should stand firm in our faith:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:21-23 NIV84)

Satan is the great accuser. That is what his name means, for he lives to accuse the saints day and night before the Lord (Revelation 12:9-10). But we are made free from his accusations "by Christ's physical body through [His] death." Since Christ died for our sins, we have peace with God, and He has forgiven us all our sins:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1 NIV84)

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (Colossians 2:13 NIV84)

In other words, Satan will have nothing to accuse us because Christ will have paid the price for every sin Satan can mention. For as Satan is our accuser, Jesus is our Advocate before the Father:

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1, 2 NIV84)

Therefore, my very dear co-laborers in Christ, let us rejoice in the Lord. Again, I say, "Rejoice!" I know that in the past weeks my comments have felt like the pilgrim's "slough of despond," where I piled on one despondent note upon another, perhaps making your hearts heavy and your minds perplexed. But today I want to remind you of our glorious hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, and through whom we are reconciled to God by making peace through His blood shed on the cross (Colossians 1:14, 20). The LORD God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves! (Colossians 1:13). Therefore, rejoice with me, for what we would not and could not accomplish, God did for us. Rejoice! 


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011 (Last Updated on 5/22/2012), Unmi wrote,
 
As I read the account of Asa's life, it's sad to see how he started off so well, but did not persevere in his faith.
 
In the first 35 years of his reign, he was wholehearted devoted to the LORD and brought about great reform in the Southern Kingdom. Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. (2 Chron 15:17) But something happened in his 36th year. Instead of trusting in the LORD, he started putting his faith in people. He forgot what the prophet Azariah told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron 15:2) Even while suffering from physical illness, he put his trust in people, his physicians. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seekhelp from the Lord, but only from the physicians. Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his ancestors. (2 Chron 16:12-13)
 
Perseverence is the key to finishing this race.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
 

Paul wrote to Timothy, 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)


My greatest desire is that on my last day, I would be able to say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!" Why? Not for my own glory, but for the glory of my God!


 Let us not grow weary and lose heart, but persevere in our faith so as to win the prize, the crown of life.


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Monday, May 23, 2011, Stephen wrote,

19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

 Asa's reformation and wholehearted devotion to the Lord Almighty brough peace to the nation. No war was occurring anywhere in Judah. However, something happened at 36th year of Asa's reign and the king of the northern kingdom came down, waging war against their brother. King Asa's dealing with this invasion was not quite godly in comparison with the way he handled the first two wars in his early reign when Jeroboam invaded as well as the Cushites. The first two were much bigger threat than this threat from Baasha but king Asa relied on his political maneuver than his ultimate King. I believe that the comfort that he had been enjoying numbed his keen mind of early reformation. We don't like sufferings in our lives but it seems very necessary for our spiritual wellbeing and in a way God's blessing. Let us discipline ourselves everyday, even by brainwashing ourselves to do what we need to do if that's necessary or possible. Let us offer our minds, hearts, wills, whatever we are or have to the Lord so that our enemies may not have a chance to bring us down through our sinful nature.


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Monday, May 23, 2011 (Last Updated on 5/23/2013), Yujin wrote,

Friends,

In 2 Chronicles 13:18, we read that Judah overcame the ambush by Israel "because they relied on the LORD God of their fathers." The LORD God fought for them, and they prevailed. And we have this promise in the New Testament, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). Now, this does not mean that God will give us military victory or "heal our land," for these are particular promises given to Israel in their day; however, it does mean that God controls our ultimate destiny, so that no matter what may befall us in this life, "all things will work together for our good" (Romans 8:28), and the good that we will receive in heaven will far surpass any amount of adversity we experience on earth (cf. Romans 8:18). Therefore, let us encourage one another with these words, as we look forward to the day of Christ.
 


Passage: 2 Chronicles 13-17

On Sunday, May 23, 2010, Fernando wrote,

I like these two verses

2 Chron 15:2

If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

2 Chron 15:7

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

Also,

the temple was about the size of the football in-zone.  I can't fathom 700,000 anything being sacrificed and being able to manage that much blood! How could the city not be smelly and dirty.. Even burnt offerings.  After one BBQ on a grill a home leaves a smelly dirty grill.. 700 thousand... man.  They must have had a good system.