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character study Old Testament prophet Uncategorized

Jahaziel’s Comforting Message

Neal Pollard

Jahaziel would have been a man of interesting and diverse talents. As a Levite, he would have served with the priests in the temple. As one of the sons of Asaph, he would have either been a literal descendant “or more probably [one of] a class of poets and singers who recognized him as [his] master” (Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible dictionary 1893 : n. pag. Print.). But on the occasion recorded in 2 Chronicles 20, Jahaziel would have been a “seer” or prophet. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon him during the reign of Jehoshaphat, a righteous king of Judah (2 Chron. 20:14). Judah has been invaded by the Moabites and the Ammonites (20:1). Jehoshaphat’s response is righteous, seeking the Lord, proclaiming a fast, and leading a prayer service (20:3-13). Entire families, men, infants, women, and children were all assembled, “standing before the Lord” (13). Then, it happens. Jahaziel is the man God chooses and uses to respond to the touching prayer of the king.  What can we learn from Jahaziel’s message?

  • It was predicated upon the Lord’s power to deliver (15). He says, “The battle is not yours but God’s.” They were helpless alone and the message was that God was able to deliver them. The power belongs to the Lord. How we need that reminder today! In our personal battles with sin and trials, we so often are guilty of going it alone. Isn’t it thrilling to know that we have help in our fiercest battles (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13)?
  • It was precise in its instructions (16). Jahazael told them a specific time (“tomorrow”), a specific action (“go down against them”) and a specific place (“at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel”).  God wanted His people to know exactly what to expect and exactly what He expected them to do.  What comfort it is to know that God has laid out His instructions precisely and plainly. He’s not trying to trick us. He has told us what we need to do and what is ultimately coming when all is said and done (cf. Heb. 9:27).
  • It pointed to the salvation of the Lord (17).  The height of comfort might be this phrase: “station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf.”  From the proper position, we can see the salvation of the Lord on our behalf. The hard-hearted, indifferent, bitter, and negative person is spiritually blind to it, but we should see it! When I am stationed at the pinnacle of prayer, the citadel of Scripture, the lookout of the Lord’s Supper, the gate of gratitude, or the fortress of forgiveness, I see the salvation of the Lord. Like gazing intently at a masterpiece, the longer I look the greater the nuances, details, and expertise emerge from the canvas of His work in my life. We can turn nowhere besides Calvary to see the clearest demonstration of the Lord’s salvation on our behalf!
  • It promised divine assistance (17). Jahaziel’s conclusion is profound. He ends, “the LORD is with you.” Sure enough, “The Lord set ambushes” (22), “the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies” (27), and “the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel” (29). The result was peace and rest (30). Are you confident of that? Whatever you are going through now and whatever lies ahead, do you believe that He is with you (cf. Mat. 28:20; Heb. 13:5-6)? He has never failed and by His perfect character He never will!
  • It provoked praise and thanksgiving (18-19). From the top down, reverent worship and loud praise followed the mighty message of Jahaziel. This was faith in action! They believed the Word and proceeded as if it had already happened. Shouldn’t we be so confident in God’s promises that we respond in the same way? What struggle will you face that’s bigger than the promise of God?

Just like that, Jahaziel fades back into the woodwork of obscurity! His minute of sacred fame came and went, but how masterfully the Master used Him. However anonymous or average you may believe yourself to be, God has a greater message for you to share than He did for Jahaziel! As you faithfully share it, you can help produce an even greater outcome in the life of somebody you know. Perhaps He will use you to save someone from spiritual rather than physical death!  Be on the lookout for that opportunity today and share God’s comforting message.

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The wilderness of Jeruel
Categories
Psalms Uncategorized

An Oasis In The Desert

Neal Pollard

I’ve been to Palm Springs, west Texas and east Africa, and these places are the closest I’ve been to the desert (though I have looked out from an airplane over the Sahara Desert and seen the endless miles of brown sand). These provide me with the best visual picture of the desolation and cruelty one would have to endure in its midst.

Psalm 63 is a psalm of David, and the uninspired inscription over it indicates he wrote it while in “the wilderness of Judah.” David ran there more than once, pursued by Saul. Near the time of Christ, the Essenes and revolters against Rome hid there, and after the corruption of the New Testament church monasteries were established there (Negev 206). Negev describes, from archaeological discovery, this wilderness.  “The eastern slopes of the Judean Hills, which fall steeply toward the Dead Sea, are almost devoid of vegetation. The meager rainfall and porous rock of which the hills are composed produce a rugged landscape, and the descent of some 3000 feet over a distance of less than 15 miles form deep gorges with precipitous waterfalls, dry for all but a few days in the year. The steep banks of the gorges contain numerous caves that are difficult to reach and therefore ideal hiding places. Springs are few and small and the only oasis in the whole region is at En-Gedi, where a copious spring fosters lush vegetation” (ibid.).

With that setting in your mind, imagine David, moved by the Holy Spirit, writing the 63rd Psalm. The odds were against his writing on a rainy day, though we do not know. In the dry and thirsty land of persecution, opposition, fear and doubt, David had God. Because he did, David’s love and gratitude overflowed in a fountain of praise and worship to his God.

  • He expresses relationship–“You are my God” (1)
  • He expects relief–“My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You…My soul shall be satisfied” (1,5)
  • He experiences refreshment–“Your lovingkindness is better than life” (3)
  • He excitedly rejoices–“My mouth shall praise you with joyful lips…I will rejoice” (5,7).
  • He exerts responsively–“I will bless You, lift up my hands, praise You, remember You, meditate on You, My soul follows close behind you” (3-8).

God was David’s ever-present oasis, no matter how dreary the setting of life around him was (9-10). He was confident in God’s love and care and strengthened by that to fight life’s battles.

God’s oasis is still flowing in our dry and thirsty land. His power and glory continue the same today. Look for Him where He is found, among God’s people as well as in the Book that bears His authorship and the sanctuary of prayer where He always awaits you. He is more than able to quench your spiritual thirst and shelter you in His care.

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