“And he said, Hearken all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and you, King Jehoshaphat, Thus has Yehovah said unto you, Do not be afraid or dismayed by reason of this great multitude for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
Yehovah God had decreed it necessary that the kings of Ammon and Moab should be agitated and offended to such a degree as to desire to do battle against Judah and King Jehoshaphat. Whatever the social, political or economic reasons were or even if it was the long-standing feud between the sons of Abraham and the children of Lot, the conditions were ripe for this confrontation and thus a great multitude was exalted from beyond the sea. They had crossed the boundaries of the land of Judah and now this great multitude was gathered amongst the palm trees on the western shore of the Dead Sea by the Salt City to do battle in a time when peace was found in the land of Judah.
The Lord had given Jehoshaphat a mind to, in complete deference to the Law, come down from Jerusalem and make an alliance with King Ahab. This was done in complete harmony with the will of God as the events unfolded wherein Ahab was to be killed in the battle as the prophet had foretold but it does not excuse Jehoshaphat’s placing this affinity above the precepts of the Law. Upon returning from the battle, unscathed by the protective hand of Yehovah, he was met by Jehu the seer who chastised him for his actions; “Should you help the ungodly and love them that hate Yehovah? Therefore is wrath upon you from before Yehovah” (19:2).
There can be no question that the events had been ordained of old and that each and every participant in these matters was prepared and ordered of God to perform exactly as they did, yet no one is exempt from the standard of the perfect holiness of God. He put it in the mind of Jehoshaphat to make this affinity, He caused him to go and to hear the words of the prophet and gave him the blind courage to enter into the battle dressed in full regal splendor but He also called for an account as to the error of his ways. The arrogant mind and reasoning of the flesh shall say, “Why then does He still find fault? Who has resisted His will? Nay but O man who are you that replies against God? Does not the Potter have power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour?” (Rms 9:19).
God has created all things both for His pleasure and commensurate to His will; therefore He called all things exceedingly good. He has placed everything in its appropriate place in time and space and by the power of His will and according to the good pleasure of that will, He causes all things to come to pass. Nothing happens randomly as every thought, word and deed comes forth in the time and manner God has decreed necessary and good for His Beloved as they sojourn in the bondage of this wilderness. His works are all righteous and good and by that same justice He requires of every man to give account of the works done and the hope that is within. The children of Light have been created in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah unto good works which are performed without the assistance of the flesh but the deeds of the flesh are daily consumed by the Refiner’s Flame as it burns the wood, hay and stubble of man. When this refinement is complete and all the residue of Edom is consumed, what is left is the precious living stones of the Redeemed of the Lord; thus they have been tried by fire.
For the wicked, however, the fire consumes the same wood, hay and stubble of the house of Edom but what remains cannot measure up to the perfect standard of the righteousness of God. Therefore they are cast into the lake of fire where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. These were afore outfitted for destruction, having the eternal hatred of God upon them, and have been ordained as workers of iniquity who have no place in the Beloved and so they awake unto eternal destruction.
Jehoshaphat should have followed the precepts and statutes of the Law but he could not refuse the path which God gave him thus the rebuke of God for his error and the chastisement of the Lord upon His son because of His eternal love.
“I know that whatsoever God does, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it nor anything taken from it and God does all that men should fear before Him” (Ecc. 3:14).
The affinity with Ahab was in response to the blessing which the Lord had shown unto Jehoshaphat. When the northern tribes rebelled against Rehoboam and succeeded from the union, the country was in tumult. The armies tried to reunite that which God had divided but this was to no avail. So as Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly, “he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to Mt. Ephraim and brought them back unto Yehovah God of their fathers” (19:4). This was the beginning of the unification of the nation of Israel and in the eyes of Jehoshaphat the affinity with Ahab, wherein his people were as they, could only foster these advances; but this was not of the Lord. He ordained the separation and He maintained it until the destruction of the land.
Yet this alliance with Ahab was necessary as a building block for the trial that was about to come to this man whom God had judged. He did not judge him in wrath for the inability in Adam for as a child of grace his vessel must have been afore prepared unto the glory of housing the incorruptible seed. Therefore the blood of the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, must have been struck upon the door posts of this shanty. As therefore the righteous justice of God demands the sacrifice of the firstborn for sin, these were passed over because of the blood, having the blood of the first-born upon their posts. There is, therefore, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus neither is an interruption or cessation of the work which God has done. The shanties had the leaven swept out of the house so that the incorruptible seed could not be polluted by the dead body and while the outer man perishes daily, the inner man is strengthened by the Spirit within.
Everything that happens in the lives of the children, as they run the race with patience, happens not only in time but in proper sequence. No man, that runs a race, begins at the finish line and is credited for the full journey so it is that the events in time must fall out properly and in complete fullness. Jehoshaphat was born the son of King Asa in Judah and when his father died he was exalted to the throne as king in Judah. (Time would not permit the examination of the events which led to this moment in time for to be complete the analysis must being in the garden with Adam and Eve.) Asa was a child of grace who, being born of the Spirit, had the breath of God within the inner man; therefore he did that which was right in the eyes of Yehovah. He, as the ‘healer’, he made many outward modifications and restored the former ways and the Lord gave Judah rest “and he had no war in those days” (II Chr. 14:6). Yet in the fullness of time, the Lord brought forth a war ‘rising up and burning’ from the ‘crest of the hill’ (Zerah the Ethiopian at Mareshah) and Asa cried unto Yehovah saying, “help us, Yehovah our God, for we rest in You and in Your name we go against this multitude. Yehovah You are our God, no man shall prevail against You” (14:11). This contrite heart was given unto this man not to depend upon the strength of the arm of the flesh or the might of the people. He was humbled and turned unto Yehovah God who smote the Ethiopians making them flee before Judah.
These events were essential in the life of young Jehoshaphat but nothing Asa did could cause his son to walk in the way of the Lord. Jehoshaphat was himself a child of the Redeemed of Yehovah and the same Spirit which dwelt in his father, dwelt mightily in him. When Asa died his son was lifted up by the hand of God which preserves and protects His people to bring them through the valley of death again and again and thus Jehoshaphat “Sought to the God of his father and walked in His commandments and not after the doings of Israel” (17:4) for he alone was judged worthy to suffer.
What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that Jehoshaphat brought forth his daily sacrifice for sin and made his oblations before the Lord day and night? Or does it mean that the heart of stone had been removed by the power of God and a new heart given unto this one which had the Law of God written upon it; and that this one had the Spirit of the Most High God dwelling in him which CAUSED him to walk after the commandments to love Yehovah Hos God with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength? The ways and means of man shall fail for he has begun every work from the station in life of being guilty before God.
Guilty of what? Guilty of being mortal and not being able to ‘hit the mark’, therefore whatsoever the flesh attempts has already failed to measure up to the perfect holiness of God before the thought was ever conceived. But for every child born from above, these having the mind of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, who is the everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace, they have no confidence in the flesh neither are they so easily weighed down with the cares of this world or the desires of the flesh. Thus, having their affections and appetite set on the Word which proceeds from the mouth of the Father in the eternal abode of God, they love Him with all that is in them because He first loved them. The first Adam and his seed in him can never keep the Law, while the second Adam, being spiritual, can never fail in keeping the Law.
Did God bless Jehoshaphat because he kept the Law? No! God blessed him to keep the Law for before the formation of man from the dust of the earth, this vessel was chosen of God to receive the incorruptible seed. He was blessed with all spiritual blessings in heaven and given all things pertaining to life and godliness. His steps were established upon a path that was specifically designated for him and he was created in the Beloved unto good works. How then shall this perfection be improved upon because of something he did that was not predestinated of God? Likewise how shall this station in life be hindered because of the manifestation of the inabilities which God gave him in Adam?
The experiences of his father Asa in his battle with the Ethiopians and the cavalcade of folly that followed the affinity with Ahab were stepping stones along the path that brought Jehoshaphat to the time when Yehovah God had prepared a major battle against a formidable foe with superior numbers.
“And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek Yehovah and proclaim a fast throughout Judah” (20:3).
When the forces assembled themselves inside the borders of Judah, Jehoshaphat was not seen standing upon the mountain top clothed in his shinning ‘whole Armour of God’ with a shield in one hand and the Bible under the other for all to see. Fear was in his heart for he had neither the might nor the power to fight the battle. The Spirit of God had taught this man that he was not sufficient to the needs of the moment, a lesson that only God can teach and only His people can learn. The pride of man will always strive to pull himself up by his own bootstraps and face the situation head on for he is a stubborn and rebellious creature but as the children of hope grow in the grace and knowledge of His will, they learn, by experience, that they have no strength to face the warfare God has sent.
Jehoshaphat thought himself rather invincible when he joined into the alliance with Ahab and his confidence was high as they ventured into a battle that God told them would end in catastrophe but now, as the truth was revealed in his heart, he knew that the arm of the flesh was impotent and without help he was lost. Though the natural man was not enlightened to the spiritual wonders of the love of God and His sovereignty over His creation, yet the inner man called out upon his Lord to deliver him from the impending tragedy. The invasion had begun and the enemy stood at the gate as Jehoshaphat stood before the people and rehearsed the mighty works of Yehovah God, the fullness of power and might that none is able to withstand.
God has judged all things according to the purpose of His will and has decreed that which He has judged necessary in the facilitating of that will for good to them that love Him. There are no random acts, no potentials and no possibilities outside the perfect realm of His majesty. He orchestrated these events in such a manner as to provide the time and place where His servant, whom He has judged the only one suitable for this task, stands before the assembly and gives a testimony of the hope that is within him and when he was finished, Yehovah gave His response, saying, “You shall not fight in this. Set yourselves, stand and see the salvation of Yehovah with you, Judah and Jerusalem; do not be afraid nor be dismayed to go out against them tomorrow for Yehovah is with you” (20:17).
These are the same words from an immutable God as were spoken by Moses to the children of Israel when they were surrounded by the armies of Egypt, saying, “do not be afraid, stand still and see the salvation of Yehovah which He will shew you today, for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall see them again no more” (Ex. 14:13). They are the words of encouragement that Joshua spoke to the children of Israel as they entered into the Land of Promise, saying, ‘Do not be afraid nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage for thus shall Yehovah do to all your enemies against whom you shall fight’ (Jos. 10:25) and it is the promise of the deliverance of the Beloved of the Lord which was manifested in the fullness of time, “Break forth into joy sing together you waste places of Jerusalem for Yehovah has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem, for Yehovah has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all nations and the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of Yehovah” (Is. 52.9-10).
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God; for which cause we do not faint, but though the outward man perish, yet the inner is renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:15f)
It is impossible for the natural man to comprehend the magnitude of the works which God has done since he is finite. His mind has been filled with the things of this world wherein he is occupied explicitly so that he cannot find out the world which God has done from the beginning. It is therefore beyond estimation to attempt to consider how it is that everything which He has done has been for the Beloved, especially when the eyes of man view such heinous and horrid things that happen every day. The sons of God are given all things necessary to experience those things which He has predestinated to come to pass that they may be conformed to the image of His Son. They have been made subject to the limitations of this existence and held captive by the natural corruption and frailties of this body.
Yehovah God has judged each of His children righteous because they are One in Him, yet He has decreed that they should run the race set before them with patience. This patience is an evidence of the indwelling Spirit that is nurtured and perfected by trials and tribulations which prove the faith within and the patience of experience. Thus God has ordained that one of His dear children for whom the blood was shed, should sit in the lap of luxury to learn of the emptiness of this world while another sits by the rich man’s gate in pain and agony all the days of his life.
These are but limited examples of the experience of the Son, however, who endured the contradiction of sin against Himself, being tempted in all points like unto His brethren, yet without sin. He bore the sorrows of His entire family and took upon Himself their inability in the flesh to be perfect and righteous for the joy that was set before Him. Thus the praise unto His name is because He alone is faithful to do the will of the Father and complete the work set before Him. He proved Himself worthy to look upon the book of life, wherein are written the names of the Redeemed of Yehovah and to open it because He is God and He has taken His great power unto Himself and rules over all His creation.
The Father judged the Son worthy in that He made Himself of no reputation taking on the form of the servant and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. His work was accounted in righteousness for He came not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him. By His faithfulness His children have peace with God through the perfect sacrifice and have been granted to be arrayed in the righteousness of the saints to praise His name forever more, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”
He has chosen each of His Beloved Ones in the furnace of affliction and has set their paths to take them through this land of woe. He has not burdened them with that which they cannot bare for He knows the frailty of the frames they inhabit and will not give them more than they can endure but He has given them the misery and affliction, the wormwood and the gall, to humble them and give them hope. He caused Jehoshaphat to go into battle with Ahab to prepare him for the invasion and delivered him each time for the glory of His name. He brought upon him such temptation as is common unto all men to shew the weakness and limitations of the flesh as the Spirit strengthened him in the truth.
God has ordained these trials for His people for the breaking of the clay pots they abide in. His hand presses down upon them reducing Adam back to the dust from whence he came but He has also ordained these experiences for the edification of the body. He brings His people through these trial and great heartaches that they may be able properly equipped, to help others who have any type of sorrow. This does not develop a class system within the body of Christ for as one goes through the experience of compromise in the flesh and the shame that accompanies it, so the next is found to be engaged in lasciviousness; yet the two will soon change places and he who was esteemed spiritual for all that he had endured is the one upon whom the invasion of the enemies of Yehovah shall come upon. Then unto whom God gave courage to face the enemy becomes the one shrouded in fear as each member is taught, every man in his order, the sufficiency of the grace of God.
Jehoshaphat the man does not learn his lesson well for after this invasion is thwarted by the grace of God towards His people, he enters into another alliance with the son of Ahab and joins forces with the king of the flesh Edom. Although the Lord gave him rest round about and the fear of Yehovah came upon the surrounding kingdoms, yet he again joined himself to the king of Israel, Ahaziah, who did very wickedly. These two men attempted to form a navy but the hand of Yehovah broke these ships and canceled the contract between the two nations. Jehoshaphat gives a good representation of the ignorance and arrogance of the Adamic nature while showing forth the grace of God who had judged him worthy of the kingdom for which he suffered.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all out tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Cor. 1:3).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
September 23, 2018