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Last week I addressed the story of Jehoshaphat king of Judah and his partnership with Ahab the king of Israel in pursuing something that was not the will of God. I mentioned that Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to go to battle against Ramoth Gilead. Ramoth Gilead was a city formerly established in the days of Moses as a city of refuge for unintentional killers. I have observed that in this present time there are many who are quick to go to battle against others assuming they are worthy of being conquered, when perhaps they are simply in a place of refuge for unintentionally causing death in some way. They didn’t intend to cause death, but they somehow ended in a circumstance or an environment that caused death or pain to someone else. Those in a community of refuge don’t need to be destroyed, they need to be healed and transformed. They are bound to some stronghold in their thinking due to some dysfunction or lack of life in their past. At the time of Ahab’s battle with Ramoth Gilead, the city was in the hands of the Syrians. The name Syria means a height as in a castle or a stronghold. Sometimes people get stuck in some place of life and it becomes a stronghold that resists truth. God wants us to be compassionate to those who are stuck in the strongholds of life. This city of Ramoth Gilead had exchanged hands from Israel to Syria several times and in the days of Ahab, king of Israel, it was in the possession of Syria. Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to partner with him in going up against the Syrian stronghold to retake the city with the encouragement of several false prophets of Israel. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab caused the identity of Ahab to come upon himself and were it not for God’s rescue he would have been killed for being mistaken in the battle. God rescued him and allowed him to return safely to Jerusalem. Although Ahab tried to pretend that he was not in the fight, he received wounds in the battle that resulted in his demise. When God confronted Jehoshaphat through the prophet Jehu, he was both sorry and repentant for his error of judgment. He made himself vulnerable to the people and he brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers. He gave the rest of his life to reestablish the judgments of God, the worship of God, and the testimony of God in the nation of Judah.
2 Chronicles 20:7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’
Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah understood God’s covenant love. They knew if they became a place where God abides, they would know the salvation of God in whatever circumstance they found themselves in. A further test came when Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir came against Jehoshaphatand the people of Judah.
2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
2 Chronicles 20:20 …Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” 22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
The name Ammon, Moab, and Mount Sheir, are very significant. Ammon means tribal or the will of the people. Moab means, seed of the father or specifically – an incestuous seed. Moab was the son of the oldest daughter of Lot after they fled to the caves at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. Ammon was the son of the second daughter. The story is that the daughters got their father drunk and then slept with him to become pregnant. They pursued this course because they feared there would be no future for them since they had been forced to flee to the caves for fear at the destruction of their home. Their wisdom was fear based and it produced two nations that represented the will of self and the will of a people. Neither of these produce the testimony of the will of God. Seir means hairy or shaggy. In Biblical terms something hairy or shaggy relates to something demonic. I believe that these three names represent things that are of human wisdom. More specifically, the natural wisdom of humanity. This is not the same as the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is based upon things that only God can see, only God can hear, and only God can think. Earthly wisdom is based upon things that we have seen, we have heard, and we have thought before. Human wisdom alone is earthly, sensual, and can be demonically influenced and thus is a wisdom that is not willing to yield to the will of God. It is not humble, teachable, and willing to change. I believe we are living in a time where demonic powers are influencing the knowledge of men to cause there to be a great resistance to the will of God. Deceiving spirits are fortifying human wisdom to create strongholds in the hearts and minds of many to resist the true wisdom of God. This is even true for believers in Christ. As leaders we must trust God to deliver us from the influence of human wisdom in leading God’s people. I will address this more next week.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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Thanks Again – Ted J. Hanson
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