Offbeat #19 - Jehoshaphat

One of the guest speakers at last week’s Women’s Christmas event was Beth Greco, the president of The Walter Hoving Home. As part of her testimony, she shared a verse that God has used in her life throughout the ups and downs of 2020, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12). These words were spoken by another Offbeat Bible character and another of the ancestors of Jesus (others of whom we’ve been highlighting for advent).
 
Jehoshaphat was the great-great-great grandson of King David and one of the few “good” kings that reigned over Judah or Israel. Jehoshaphat’s father, Asa, sought to institute religious reforms in Israel, after much degradation occurred in the land under the previous three reigning monarchs. Jehoshaphat picked up where his father left off. Not only did he actively remove centers for idol worship, but he sought to have the Law of the Lord (i.e. Torah) taught to the people, so they would know their God, his promises, and his commands. In essence, Jehoshaphat was seeking to shore up the covenant relationship between the people and God.
 
In addition to the word’s mentioned by Beth (which I’ll come back to in a moment), one of my favorite parts of Jehoshaphat’s story comes in 2 Chronicles 19 where we’re told, “Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem. And he went out among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers.” The king of Judah himself, took it as a personal mission to go out to the people and to call them into relationship with the Lord. In doing so, he covered a distance approximately equivalent of that between Bedminster and Philadelphia. This reminds me of Jesus’ great commission, a universal commandment for all of his people to make him known by going out among the people. May we all embrace this mission as personally as did Jehoshaphat.
 
Right after Jehoshaphat’s excursion, we’re told that the Moabites and Ammonites rallied together to fight against the Kingdom of Judah. They formed “a great multitude” and so the situation looked grim. Jehoshaphat’s immediate response, standing before the whole “assembly of Judah and Jerusalem,” was to cry out to God in prayer. The final words of this prayer are the word’s highlighted by Beth Greco, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
 
There were times in Jehoshaphat’s story where things were going well, and times things were going badly. There were times that he seemed to know exactly what he needed to do as a follower of God, and then there are moments, like this one, when he clearly did not. No matter the circumstances, though, his prayer summarizes his consistent focus. In all the ups and downs, his eyes were on Yahweh.
 
Many people tend to operate in one of two extremes. They don’t think much about God until things are going badly, or they are #blessed by God during the good times, but when things go badly, they get distracted from God and try to operate in their own strength. Allow this advent season to be a reminder of God’s faithfulness in all that life brings: ups and downs, times of certainty and uncertainty. In all of these, he has been and will continue working out his redemption plan for all of creation. Take a moment to consider what your eyes are focused on in your current situation. If it’s anything but Jesus, our faithful savior, our mediator, and our constant intercessor, it’s time to refocus.

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The Light Came Down (album by Josh Garrels) - Looking for some innovation in your Christmas listening experience? Check out Josh Garrels' excellent reflection on the advent of our savior throughout his Christmas album.

Missions Spotlight:
Leadership for Development

2020 has been full of changes and challenges for LFD and its frontline workers. Despite these challenges, LFD workers have still found opportunities to develop and grow their ministries. Please give thanks to the Lord for His protection and provision that has enabled our mission work on the field to proceed. Across the mission field, churches are under increasing pressure. May God grant LFD co-workers wisdom and patience in walking and partnering with the those who have a heart for missions’ mobilization within their various geographic locations. May these partnerships continue to flourish, and new relationships can be established even under these challenging conditions. Due to various reasons, the authorities imposed stricter travel restrictions. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will open doors so that LFD workers can travel smoothly to and within the field.
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