At least once a week I am asked,
“What do Seminary teachers do in the summer time when they don’t have students?”
I am sure many think we are like public school teachers and have the summer off… but we don’t.
Our schedules vary from person to person but generally we have a bevy of meetings, work on preparation for the coming scripture block, and take vacations that are not available during the school year.
This summer I have been working on some of my lesson plans for the Old Testament.
A few days ago I was reading in the books of Chronicles.
Not my favorite portion of the OT.
Lots of repetition and boring stuff.
Here’s and example.
1 Adam, Sheth, Enosh,
2 Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered,
3 Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech,
4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
5 ¶The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
6 And the sons of Gomer; Ashchenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah.
7 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
8 ¶The sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
9 And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabta, and Raamah, and Sabtecha. And the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan.
10 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty upon the earth.
11 And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
12 And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (of whom came the Philistines,) and Caphthorim.
13 And Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn, and Heth,
And so on!!
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered – deep in the passages of the 2nd book of Chronicles – something that made me think of our day and all the goings on in the world.
See if this makes sense to you!!
There was a guy named Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, and king of Judah. Asa had been a fairly good king most of his life but towards the end he started to drift.
Jehoshaphat determined that his reign would be a step up from his father’s so he tried to live a more exemplary life. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he did the best with what he had.
Jehu, a prophet in Judah at that time, came to Jehoshaphat one day and gave him a big vote of confidence for his efforts.
To quote Jehu:
Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou has taken away the groves out of the land and prepared thine heart to seek God. (2 Chronicles 19:3)
To some, that may not sound like a ‘ringing endorsement’, but compared to previous leaders, Jehoshaphat was doing a ‘bang-up’ job with his kingship.
|Jehoshaphat Being a good king|
Since life is never static, it was inevitable that the King would run up against difficulties in the leadership of his kingdom. Such was the case with our friend Jehoshaphat.
(I’m glad I don’t have to write his name every day).
A group of neighbors, the Ammonites -- their friends the Moabites -- and a smaller group from Seir, sent a message to the King, inviting him to come to battle on a particular day.
Combatants in those days were very proper in their invitations to fight so Jehoshaphat was in a quandary how to reply. Should he lay out a red carpet to welcome the visitors or was the proper protocol to prepare a feast for the leaders prior to the conflict?
It was just too much for him to know so he went for counsel to another prophet named Jahaziel.
His recommendation was:
Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord with you…(2 Chronicles 20:15, 17)
With that wise counsel ringing in his ears, Jehoshaphat determined to follow his instincts and do as the prophet suggested. he gathered all his people together and challenged them to prepare for the coming events. And just before they went out to participate in the proceedings he said:
Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. (2 Chronicles 20:20)
On that day a great miracle was performed for the people of Jerusalem. Before the Ammonites and their friends could come to battle, the people of Seir decided to attack the Ammonites and Moabites. And as the conflict became more heated, the Ammonites and Moabites began to turn against each other until, in the end, there were no enemies left to carry the fight to the people of Judah.
When Jehoshaphat and his people arrived at the place of conflict, they were greeted only by dead bodies with all their weapons, clothes, riches, and food left on the fields.
Not only did Jehoshaphat avoid battle, but his people were able to ‘clean up’ with all the leftovers from their attackers (note: it took three days to gather all that was left behind).
|The spoils of war -- without war.|
Recently, there have been events in the world that have challenged those who believe in Christ and the things He teaches. Laws have been adjusted to make things legal that have been illegal for millennia. Other circumstances have arisen that have taken away liberties once considered basic to the human soul. So much has happened in the last 10 years that it is difficult to believe we live in the same world we once enjoyed.
There is a change coming.
Not a change instituted by man or social fiat.
It is a change that will be determined by the choices we make.
Jahaziel taught Jehoshaphat well and the King understood.
The change will come when the people understand these two simple truths.
Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established;
Believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.
Maybe Chronicles isn’t so boring after all.