TODAY’S READING: 2 Chronicles 19–23
Any king and any tale are judged by whether they stay in covenant with God’s goal of ransoming and being worshiped by representatives of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. This was why Jehoshaphat, when attacked by a coalition from Jordan (Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites), called out to God—the God of his fathers—who ruled over all the nations and kingdoms of earth, who established His glory by befriending Abraham forever (2 Chr. 20:6–7). This was why at the end of Jehoshaphat’s reign the one indictment against the people was that they had not yet directed their hearts to the God of their fathers (v. 33). This was why the nations raged and revolted—because Judah forsook the Lord God of their fathers (21:10). This was why judgment fell on Jehoram—because he didn’t have a heart like David or his father and de-glorified God among the nations (vv. 12–13). This was why the heirs of David, sons of David, shields of David, and priests of David (22:10; 23:3, 9, 18) played a central role in any restoration or renewal and why the promise to Abraham was the center of any deliverance—because the heart of both Abraham and David were united in the Spirit of God for His glory among all peoples.
God is determined to yank our attention through all of Scripture to His glory among the nations. In Jehoshaphat’s case it was God being glorified among the peoples of Transjordan through victory. In Jehoram’s case it was the Philistines, Arabs, and Sudanese that were used to bring glory to God by defeating a descendent of David who lost his zeal for Jehovah before the nations (21:16). The lesson is clear—make much of Jehovah and He will use you to mediate His glory to all peoples of earth, or make a mockery of Jehovah and He will use the nations of the world to punish you and glorify His name.
The battle for the glory of God among all nations is primarily His. In difficult situations, surrounded by the great multitude of 42 percent of the world that has never heard the gospel, we say with Jehoshaphat that we have no power, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You (20:12). The Spirit of Jehovah came on the prophet Zechariah and declared: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude [of three nations], for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (20:15). It is God’s glory and His own battle for His own fame. When we are overwhelmed by the unreached peoples of earth and don’t know what to do, the missionary people of God are told to do three things:
Position ourselves (v. 17). Standing still actually means getting close enough to the nations that we can see firsthand what God will do. We still have to go out among them fearless, for Jehovah is with us. Bow and worship (v. 18). How critical it is to be a worshiping and submitted people. The posture of submission and complete trust in the God who is sovereignly good is the heart of the missionary spirit. Stand to praise with voices loud and high (v. 19). The advance of God’s glory among the nations is borne on the high praises, on the fearless public exaltation of who God is and what we believe He will do.
If we will but do these things in the overwhelming places and among the intimidatingly lost peoples of earth, like Western Sahara, the Lord wins the battles, He wins the nations to Himself, His fear is on the kingdoms of earth, and our realm is quiet for God gives rest all around (vv. 22–30).