2 Chronicles 17:1-19 – Don’t Miss Our Wednesday Night Conversations!

Posted: August 27, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 17:1-19

Jehoshaphat Begins His Reign in Judah

Opening Illustration/Comments

Last night, in our weekly Bible study at the church I serve, my heart was warmed. We have been walking through the book of Acts since early April with a four week break in July. And as we have moved through the book, the discussions have become more lively as time has passed. One of the things that I talked about last night, to encourage discussion, was that questions about Scripture are good. I don’t want people to be afraid to ask questions about Scripture. That’s the way we learn the deeper and richer value of Scripture is when we get answers to those questions. Without questions, we just skim over things that we don’t understand and move on. Somewhere along the line, Christ followers were taught not to question Scripture I guess or that if you questioned Scripture that it meant that you didn’t know as much about Scripture as you were supposed to. So nobody asked questions. But it is my encouragement to my Wednesday night folks is that questioning everything that we read is good. It means that you are thinking about what you read rather than just reading to finish a checklist item on your daily to-do list.

I want our people to pick Scripture apart. Think deep about it. Come up with questions. See the deep meat that is in every book in the Bible. And to see how the passage plays its role in the larger book and how the book plays its role in the overarching themes of the Bible. We are taking our time going through Acts. We just finished Chapter 17 last night and we began this journey back in April. I want the questions. I want our people to see how the people of the Bible are the same as we are. I want people to see how the Bible is practical to their daily lives by relating the action of Acts to us in everyday language and in ways that connect in the 21st century. It lights my fire when we have real, honest discussions on Wednesday and how you see the same fire coming bright in others as we bandy about these questions and answers. I love it. That’s the difference between studying and just reading.

I just wish more of our church members would join in our Wednesday night Bible study discussions. I always walk away on Wednesday night uplifted. I wish they could experience that too. I just wish they could taste what we experience on Wednesday nights. I wish that they could see the vitality of the Bible to their daily lives. I wish they could see how we discuss the action in ways that are relatable to 21st century folk. I wish they could see how we have those a-ha moments when Scripture comes alive for us.

For example, last night, part of the discussion was about Paul and his testimony. Part of the conversation was talking about his personality. Based on some evidence provided by Scripture itself in Acts and in Paul’s letters, he had to be such an intense guy, such an intelligent guy, such a charismatic guy and so he must have been one of those guys that operated at 100% of capacity all the time. He was intense. His mind working faster than he could speak or write (as evidenced by his letters being full of extended and sometimes run-on sentences). He was probably one of those guys who could not understand why other people did not operate at 100% of capacity at all times like him. He probably had little use for people who wanted to take breaks or take time off. He was always on! And we all have known people like that in our lifetimes. People that are super intense and expect everybody around them to be super intense. They can’t understand those who are not just like them. We all have had bosses like that. A coworker like that. A friend like that. Maybe, even have a spouse like that. These things are the things you miss when you are not there.

It is that idea of making the Bible come alive through study rather than just reading that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 17:1-19. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

17 His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him and strengthened himself against Israel. 2 He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had taken. 3 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father;[a] he did not seek the Baals, 4 but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. 6 His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and, furthermore, he removed the high places and the sacred poles[b] from Judah.

7 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. 8 With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10 The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, and they did not make war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; and the Arabs also brought him seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats. 12 Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah. 13 He carried out great works in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty warriors, in Jerusalem. 14 This was the muster of them by ancestral houses: Of Judah, the commanders of the thousands: Adnah the commander, with three hundred thousand mighty warriors, 15 and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with two hundred eighty thousand, 16 and next to him Amasiah son of Zichri, a volunteer for the service of the Lord, with two hundred thousand mighty warriors. 17 Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty warrior, with two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield, 18 and next to him Jehozabad with one hundred eighty thousand armed for war. 19 These were in the service of the king, besides those whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that the people of Judah had become biblically illiterate. They had never taken time to understand, listen to, and discuss God’s law. They did not know how it could change them if they obeyed what God had commanded in His Word. Jehoshaphat realized that knowing God’s commands was the first step to getting people to live as God desires, so he initiated a nationwide biblical education program. he reversed the religious decline that had occurred toward the end of his father’s reign. He did so by putting God first in the people’s minds and instilling in them a sense of commitment and mission. Because of this action, the nation began to follow God. There is no substitute for disciplined study of God’s Word.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that many Christ followers suffer from biblical illiteracy or at least subpar understanding of God’s Word. Many of us, who claim that they are Christians, do not even read the Bible. That’s scary! Such people will always be spiritual babies because of not opening up the Bible and studying it. Babies can be duped easily into believing that the Bible says something that it doesn’t. The non-reader Christian misses the boat and only catches glimpses of what God has for us when they sit in church on Sunday. Often, they see this as enough for their lives, but yet they are missing so much. It makes me sad to think of it.

Then, there are those who read through the Bible but don’t understand what they are reading. They just read the Bible because that’s what Christians do. They have their Bible in a year reading plans. They speed through passages and see it sometimes as drudgery, but…that’s what Christians do. They don’t ask questions of more mature believers because they are afraid of embarrassing themselves. They are afraid to admit they don’t understand what they are reading. First, get a Bible that has scholarly footnotes at the bottom of most every page. Read the footnotes. Discuss it with someone more mature in the faith. Grab hold of the faith. Ask questions. Get answers. Join a Bible study group.

It is my prayer that the church I serve becomes a church full of ravenous passionate Bible STUDIERS. Give me a church full of people that eagerly STUDY the Bible and I will show you a church that will flower into a passionate church. It just happens when we truly STUDY the Bible and see it as so wonderfully rich. To see the Bible and see ourselves, our friends, our nation in the mirror of its pages. To see the Bible in practical 21st century terms by relating the characters of the Bible to today’s world expands the value of the Bible. It makes you look forward to reading it every day. I pray for our people, not just a few, but all of them, who claim this church as their home, to be ravenous about the Bible. To be excited by the Bible. To be students of the Bible!

Amen and Amen.

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