Keep Your Heart in the Right Place At All Times
Between 1000 to 900 BC, a king named Jehoshaphat embarked on a revolutionary act that transformed his nation back to the worship of the real God and the exercise of justice for the people in the Name of God and for the glory of God. He was a great example of someone who’se heart was in the right place at the right time in God’s Name for His glory.
Our story begins in a confrontation scene between King Jehoshaphat and prophet Jehu. The prophet rebuked the king because of his alliance with the Northern Kingdom and its king, King Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:1-34). The Northern Kingdom was considered an apostate and a people “who hate Yahweh. Jehu warned that compromise with the enemies of the Lord could bring the wrath of God against the king.
Jehoshaphat began his sole reign in 869 B.C. He was the great, great grandson of King David. His father’s name was King Asa. He followed Yahweh and unlike his father King Asa, his commitment did not diminishdecreasedecline/fade in his later years. Four chapters in Chronicles shed light on why Ahab had cultivated an alliance with Jehoshaphat.
A. The Strength of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 17:1–19)
1. First, the king of Judah was militarily strong. He stationed troops in fortified cities throughout Judah. He had military base in the towns of Ephraim which his father Asa had captured (2 Chr 17:1–2). He had a huge army of experienced men numbering in the hundreds of thousands (2 Chr 17:12–18).
2. Second, Jehoshaphat was enormously wealthy. Because he followed the Lord he had “great wealth and honor” (2 Chr 17:3–6). Yahweh “established the kingdom in his control.” (2 Chron 17:5). The fear of Yahweh fell on the surrounding kingdoms so that they, for the most part, did not make war with Judah. The Philistines rendered tribute in silver to him, the Arabs in thousands of rams and goats (2 Chr 17:10–11).
GOD HATES A HEART THAT COMPROMISE CONVICTION!!!!! V2 AND YET WHAT WE SEE IN V3 IS THE HEART OF A COMPASSIONATE GOD.
V2-3 in God’s anger with THE KING!!! God still saw what was really in his heart. God saw a man’s heart that desire to seek God. God credited him for removing wooden idols from the land ( the king has a strong conviction of turning his nation again to the One and True God by publicly slamming idolatrous worship. His act was an indication that he has prepared his heart to seek God. (with all his soul’s desire – AMP) .
REBUKE THAT BROUGHT GODLY REFORMS
1. REMOVAL OF IDOLS - C17: 3- 6 and C19 v 3 – God was with him, He cleansed the nation from their grievous sin of idol worship – (v.3) 2. v 2
2. HE MADE PERSONAL SACRIFICES TO BRING THE PEOPLE BACK TO THE LORD UNSELFISH SACRIFICE v 4 –they travelled from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim to tell everyone that they must come back to the worship of their God. V4 implied that he was successful in doing that – the term used was “and brought them back to the Lord”
3. SECURITY AND NO THREAT - v 5 & 8 - He organised the people and brought order to the city of God by appointing judges and local councils in each locality and activating the office of priesthood.
4. DEVOTION TO THE ONE WHO MATTERS v 6-7 & 9 - He set clear expectations and godly standards for his appointees. He made it clear that they must be extremely careful when performing their roles (judges priestLevites).
4.1) they do not judge to please men but to please the Lord who is with them whilst they perform their jobs –v6 – AUDIENCE OF ONE
4.2) and because of that, they must let the fear of the Lord be upon their lives – v 7 & v 9 – they must act in the FEAR THE LORD with faithfulness and undivided heart (loyal to God)
4.3) to keep their INTEGRITY before God and men for the LORD our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes – v 7
5. v10 - He taught them how to do their tasks - v 10 (you shall warn them so you and them can avoid a catastrophic result)
6. HONOR AND LOYALTY v 11 – He taught them how to honor authority and their respective offices
a) Amariah, the chief priest is over you in all the matters of the Lord
b) Zebadiah, the son of Ishmael the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters
c) the Levites will assist them to ensure that justice is served . Levites will be official before them
7. ENCOURAGEMENT v 11 He encouraged them to be courageous and that God be with those who do what is right
HE DID ALL THESE BECAUSE HIS HEART WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THAT TIME IN GOD’S NAME FOR HIS GLORY.
JEHOSHAPHAT IS A type of Christ! His reforms were fuelled by a desire to seek God and to please Him alone… this is a reflection of the heart of Jesus … to please the Father and Him alone! Not my will but yours be done! Like Christ, King Jehoshaphat left the comfort of his palace to bring the nation of Judah back to God. And for this, Jehoshaphat gained a place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:8).
The redemptive message of the gospel of Christ in the NT is best seen when Jesus offered His life to ransom us all. He left the comfort of heaven for us! LOVE DISPLAYED AND PERFECTED. He taught the people to live with justice, fairness and mercy which are all reflections of the goodness of God – Jesus! As students/followers of Jesus Christ, these are the things we can learn from His Words. A LIGHT TO THE WORLD, A CITY ON A HILL THAT CANNOT BE HIDDEN!!!
In our modern society where everything is permissible and the temptation to compromise our conviction is going from bad to worse every day, HOW DO WE KEEP OUR HEART AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT ALL TIMES IN GOD’S NAME FOR GOD’S GLORY SIMILAR TO KING JEHOSHAPHAT.
1. KNOW WHAT YOUR GOD IS LIKE – Understand that He is All-Knowing, He is merciful but He is also impartial and executes His justice to all. SO FEAR HIM FAITHFULLY WITH UNDIVIDED HEART – DO THINGS IN GOD’S NAME FOR HIS GLORY. You and I must remove our idols. When we do, God is pleased! NO ONE CAN GIVE GOD HIS 100% ATTENTION TO LEARNING FROM HIM AND IN BECOMING LIKE HIM IF OUR HEARTS ARE NOT LOYAL (UNDIVIDED) TO HIM. TIME TO REPLACE OUR COMPROMISING HEARTS WITH HIS HEART FOR HIS GLORY.
Proverbs 23: 26 My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways.
2. KNOW WHAT PLEASE HIM - God does not tolerate perverted justice, FAVOURITISM, or the taking of bribes. Keep this in mind so YOUR HEART WILL BE AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT ALL TIMES IN HIS NAME FOR HIS GLORY!
You and I must exercise fairness, justice and righteousness in our dealings everywhere we go. Get away with partialityfavouritismprejudicesdiscriminatory behaviour and way of thinking. Treat everyone equal. (Ephesian 6:9Colossians 3:25).
Eph 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him
Colossians 3:25 – But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done and there is no partiality.
JEHOSHAPHAT BECAME VERY STRONG, STABLE AND WEALTHY BEC OF GOD AND GOD ALONE.
3. LEARN FROM HIM so YOU’LL KNOW WHAT IS IN HIS HEART.
MATTHEW 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
4. LASTLY, You and I need a Jehu in our lives to keep us on our toes. This will help us keep our heart at the right place at all times in His Name for His glory. If we choose to live without one, we open ourselves to our downfall.
CONCLUSION: KEEP YOUR HEART AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT ALL TIMES IN HIS NAME FOR HIS GLORY. WHATEVER YOU DO, WORK AT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, NOT FOR MEN SINCE YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE FROM THE LORD AS A REWARD. IT IS THE LORD CHRIST YOU ARE SERVING. (COL. 3:23-24) SO FEAR HIM.