2 Chronicles 17-18
King Jehoshaphat of Judah
17 Asa’s son Jehoshaphat succeeded him as king. Jehoshaphat strengthened himself to wage war against Israel. 2 He put troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and placed military posts in Judah and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
3 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, who lived in the old way like his ancestor David. Jehoshaphat didn’t dedicate his life to serving other gods—the Baals. 4 Instead, he dedicated his life to his ancestor’s God and lived by God’s commands. Jehoshaphat did not do what Israel was doing. 5 So the Lord established Jehoshaphat’s power over the kingdom. All the people of Judah gave gifts to Jehoshaphat, and he had a lot of riches and honor. 6 He had the confidence to live the way the Lord wanted him to live. He also got rid of the illegal places of worship and poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah in Judah.
7 In the third year of his reign, he sent his officers 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, Tob Adonijah, and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught in Judah. They had the Book of the Lord’s Teachings with them when they taught the people in all the cities of Judah.
10 Fear of the Lord came to all the kingdoms around Judah. As a result, they didn’t wage war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines brought gifts and silver as taxes. The Arabs also brought him flocks: 7,700 rams and 7,700 male goats. 12 So Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful. He built fortresses and cities where supplies were stored in Judah. 13 He had large supplies of food in the cities of Judah and an army of professional soldiers with him in Jerusalem. 14 The following is a breakdown of these soldiers. They are listed by families. Judah’s regimental commanders were Commander Adnah (with 300,000 fighting men), 15 next to him Commander Jehohanan (with 280,000), 16 and next to him Amasiah, Zichri’s son, who volunteered to serve the Lord (with 200,000 fighting men). 17 From Benjamin there was the fighting man Eliada (with 200,000 armed men with bows and shields), 18 and next to him was Jehozabad (with him was an army of 180,000 armed men). 19 These were the men who served the king in addition to those whom the king put in the fortified cities throughout Judah.
Micaiah Prophesies against King Ahab(A)
18 Jehoshaphat was wealthy and honorable and became Ahab’s in-law. 2 A few years later he went to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for a banquet in honor of Jehoshaphat and the people who were with him. And Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to attack Ramoth in Gilead with him.
3 King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you go with me to Ramoth in Gilead?”
Jehoshaphat told the king of Israel, “I will do what you do. My troops will do what your troops do. We will join your troops in battle.” 4 Then Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “But first, find out what the Lord’s word is in this matter.”
5 So the king of Israel called 400 prophets together. He asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth in Gilead or not?”
“Go,” they said. “God will hand over Ramoth to you.”
6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord whom we could ask?”
7 The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “We can ask the Lord through Micaiah, son of Imla, but I hate him. Nothing he prophesies about me is good; it’s always evil.”
Jehoshaphat answered, “The king must not say that.”
8 The king of Israel called for an officer and said, “Quick! Get Micaiah, son of Imla!”
9 The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were dressed in royal robes and seated on thrones. They were sitting on the threshing floor[a] at the entrance to the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord says: With these horns you will push the Arameans to their destruction.” 11 All the other prophets made the same prophecy. They said, “Attack Ramoth in Gilead, and you will win. The Lord will hand it over to you.”
12 The messenger who went to call Micaiah told him, “The prophets have all told the king the same good message. Make your message agree with their message. Say something good.”
13 Micaiah answered, “I solemnly swear, as the Lord lives, I will tell him whatever my God says to me.”
14 When he came to the king, the king asked him, “Micaiah,[b] should we go to war against Ramoth in Gilead or not?”
Micaiah said, “Attack and you will win. They will be handed over to you.”
15 The king asked him, “How many times must I make you take an oath in the Lord’s name to tell me nothing but the truth?”
16 So Micaiah said, “I saw Israel’s troops scattered in the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, ‘These sheep have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”
17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he wouldn’t prophesy anything good about me?”
18 Micaiah added, “Then hear the Lord’s word. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and the entire army of heaven was standing on his right and his left. 19 The Lord asked, ‘Who will deceive King Ahab of Israel so that he will attack and be killed at Ramoth in Gilead?’ Some answered one way, while others were saying something else.
20 “Then the Spirit stepped forward, stood in front of the Lord, and said, ‘I will deceive him.’
“‘How?’ the Lord asked.
21 “The Spirit answered, ‘I will go out and be a spirit that tells lies through the mouths of all of Ahab’s prophets.’
“The Lord said, ‘You will succeed in deceiving him. Go and do it.’
22 “So the Lord has put into the mouths of these prophets of yours a spirit that makes them tell lies. The Lord has spoken evil about you.”
23 Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, went to Micaiah and struck him on the cheek. “Which way did the Spirit go when he left me to talk to you?” he asked.
24 Micaiah answered, “You will find out on the day you go into an inner room to hide.”
25 The king of Israel then said, “Send Micaiah back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the prince. 26 Say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return home safely.’”
27 Micaiah said, “If you really do come back safely, then the Lord wasn’t speaking through me. Pay attention to this, everyone!”
28 So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you should wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
30 The king of Aram had given orders to the chariot commanders. He said, “Don’t fight anyone except the king of Israel.”
31 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “He must be the king of Israel.” So they surrounded him in order to fight him. But when Jehoshaphat cried out, the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, 32 and the chariot commanders realized that Jehoshaphat wasn’t the king of Israel. Then they turned away from him.
33 One man aimed his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between his scale armor and his breastplate. Ahab told the chariot driver, “Turn around, and get me away from these troops. I’m badly wounded.” 34 But the battle got worse that day, and the king propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. At sundown he died.
God Chose People Who Are Not Jewish
25 As God says in Hosea:
“Those who are not my people
I will call my people.
Those who are not loved
I will call my loved ones.
26 Wherever they were told,
‘You are not my people,’
they will be called children of the living God.”
27 Isaiah also says about Israel:
“Although the descendants of Israel are
as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore,
only a few will be saved.
28 The Lord will carry out his sentence on the land,
completely and decisively.”
29 This is what Isaiah predicted:
“If the Lord of Armies hadn’t left us some descendants,
we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
30 So what can we say? We can say that non-Jewish people who were not trying to gain God’s approval won his approval, an approval based on faith. 31 The people of Israel tried to gain God’s approval by obeying the laws in Moses’ Teachings, but they did not reach their goal. 32 Why? They didn’t rely on faith to gain God’s approval, but they relied on their own efforts. They stumbled over the rock that trips people. 33 As Scripture says,
“I am placing a rock in Zion that people trip over,
a large rock that people find offensive.
Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.”
If You Believe You Will Be Saved
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of the Jewish people is that they would be saved. 2 I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God, but they are misguided. 3 They don’t understand how to receive God’s approval. So they try to set up their own way to get it, and they have not accepted God’s way for receiving his approval. 4 Christ is the fulfillment of Moses’ Teachings so that everyone who has faith may receive God’s approval.
5 Moses writes about receiving God’s approval by following his laws. He says, “The person who obeys these laws will live because he obeys them.” 6 However, Scripture says about God’s approval which is based on faith, “Don’t ask yourself who will go up to heaven,” (that is, to bring Christ down). 7 “Don’t ask who will go down into the depths,” (that is, to bring Christ back from the dead). 8 However, what else does it say? “This message is near you. It’s in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message of faith that we spread. 9 If you declare that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God brought him back to life, you will be saved. 10 By believing you receive God’s approval, and by declaring your faith you are saved. 11 Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.”
12 There is no difference between Jews and Greeks. They all have the same Lord, who gives his riches to everyone who calls on him. 13 So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
For the choir director; a psalm by David.
1 The Lord will answer you in times of trouble.
The name of the God of Jacob will protect you.
2 He will send you help from his holy place
and support you from Zion.
3 He will remember all your grain offerings
and look with favor on your burnt offerings. Selah
4 He will give you your heart’s desire
and carry out all your plans.
5 We will joyfully sing about your victory.
We will wave our flags in the name of our God.
The Lord will fulfill all your requests.
6 Now I know that the Lord will give victory to his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty deeds of his powerful hand.
7 Some rely on chariots and others on horses,
but we will boast in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will sink to their knees and fall,
but we will rise and stand firm.
9 Give victory to the king, O Lord.
Answer us when we call.
2 The rage of a king is like the roar of a lion.
Whoever makes him angry forfeits his life.
3 Avoiding a quarrel is honorable.
After all, any stubborn fool can start a fight.