Friday, July 27, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday July 29, 2012

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(We should represent the LORD in our judgments)
(2 Chronicles 19)

Scripture teaches us that the downfall of the Davidic line of Kings was that they showed a weakness of wanting to socialize with worldly leaders, who had dedicated themselves to the world, either by secret pledge, or, by way of their rebellious behavior towards, and, in the sight of, the Almighty GOD of their ancestors. Those kings, all had to eventually learn that, man can never hide his evil deeds from GOD, nor, can he avoid GOD’s judgment. Instead of running from GOD, one always needs to run to, the Almighty GOD, WHO sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do.
Even in today’s society, church leaders (pastors) who claim to be called by GOD to lead HIS church, spend a great deal of their time flying around the world, (some in private, or church owned jets) in two-thousand dollar suits, socializing with each other under the guise of doing the work of the LORD. They attend meaningless conferences, while having unGODly extramarital affairs, some practicing unGODly homosexual behavior, even involving themselves in child molestation, prostitution, pornography, and GOD knows what else. They seem to find it very difficult, or maybe boring to stay at home and attend to the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of their flocks. They would much rather live lavishly off the financial produce of the flock, sucking them dry, spiritually, physically, and emotionally, contributing yet another soul to their father in Hell, satan.
In 2 Chronicles 19, we get a glimpse into the life of Jehoshaphat, one of the many Davidic kings, who, fell victim to worldly socializing. His love of socializing led him to partner with the evil king Ahab, (who had became more worldly than the pagan kings that he socialized with) in his battle against Ramoth-gilead, a strategically located city that was frequently the scene of battles between Israel and Syria (2 Chronicles 18:28-34). He also arranged for his son to marry the daughter of Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:1) and socialized with him on a regular basis, never attempting to turn him back toward the LORD, despite them both being a part of the chosen community of GOD.
In fact, Jehoshaphat was never really able to grasp the lesson from GOD, that, it is not good to socialize with those whom we are only commissioned to evangelize, and be a guiding light to, for GOD. As GOD’s people, we are called to help transform the hearts of those in the world, into something more pleasing to GOD. We are not called to try to make the world a better place to remain in, but rather, we are called to help transform the hearts of those in the world, by disciplining them, freeing them from the gravitational pull of the world’s way of thinking, into GOD’s way of thinking. We are not to conform to their ways and practices, and allow them to influence our behavior. Our judgments and decisions should be influenced only by the examples of CHRIST JESUS, and, by the laws of GOD, and in fact, we should represent GOD, literally, and, completely.
A GODly leader examines himself daily, looking for weaknesses and patterns of behavior that are contrary to the ways of GOD, and they must always be aware of their own vulnerabilities. Jehoshaphat’s close call with death, his salvation from it by the LORD (2 Chronicles 19:31-32), and, his subsequent encouragement from the prophet Jehu, caused him to rethink his direction in life, and he began to see his need to return to GOD’s justice. He went out and began preaching to the masses, encouraging them, to return to the LORD. He also appointed judges throughout the nation of Israel, in all of their fortified cities, and he instructed them to always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. They were to remember not to judge to please people, but rather, to please GOD. And he warned them that GOD does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.
Jehoshaphat also appointed the Levites and priests to serve as judges in matters that concerned, both, the law of the LORD and civil disputes. They were also to caution the people against sinning against the LORD, so that HIS anger would not come upon them at any time (2 Chronicles 19:4-11).
Sadly, however, Jehoshaphat’s would stumble again, because of his bad judgment, and insistence on socializing with a world that is contrary to GOD. His joint trading alliance with Ahab’s evil son, King Ahaziah, near the end of his life, reveals that he had once again dropped his books and forgot his lesson. And despite the warnings from GOD, through the prophet Eliezer, he would not turn from those forbidden dealings. His failure to recognize his socializing weaknesses, and protecting himself from them, caused further calamities in his reign as king over Judah. The LORD would later squash his unGODly alliance with Ahaziah, and destroy all of the ships that they built together, and their venture never got off the ground, before, or after his death (2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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