"THE REWARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS."
I. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT BELIEVING IN GOD DOES NOT GIVE ME IMMUNITY FROM THE PAIN OR SORROW THAT COMES TO US IN THIS LIFE. IF THIS WERE A PERFECT WORLD, THEN WE WOULD NO LONGER BE LONGING FOR THE WORLD THAT GOD HAS PROMISED IS COMING FOR US WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST.
A. Whenever tragedy comes, Satan tries to get us to blame God for it.
1. We need to realize that Satan governs over this world today. He is the one responsible for all of the tragedies, pain, and suffering.
a. Jesus twice called him the prince of this world.
b. Paul refers to him as the god of this world.
c. Satan was the first to rebel against God when he exercised his will against the will of God.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! You have been cut down to the ground, you that has weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
d. Note the I will, I will, I will, he was in rebellion against what God willed.
e. That's basically what sin is all about, the exercise of our will against the will of God.
2. We need to realize that we are living in a world that is in rebellion against God.
a. The sorrows, wars, tragedies, wrongs, the pain and death all result from rebellion against the will of God.
b. Man is not living as God wanted him to live.
c. This is not the world that God created. When we refer to the fallen world, we are saying that the world has fallen from the original intent that God had for it.
3. Man is not living as God intended him to live. Again we refer to the fall of man, and we are speaking of that day that Adam rebelled against the commandment of God and ate of the forbidden fruit.
a. Satan who rebelled against the will of God came into the garden and enticed Adam and Eve to do the same. To rebel against the commandment of God.
b. Even as he thought that he could be like the most High God, so he proposed to Eve that she could be as God.
c. Today man continues in his rebellion against the commandments of God, and continues to suffer the dire consequences of that rebellion.
4. We need to recognize that this is a fallen world. It is far from perfect, it is a far cry from what God intended and plans to provide in the future for those who will love and follow Him.
B. In the psalms David said, "Why do the heathen say, where is now your God?"
1. This is the question your heathen friends like to ask whenever adversity comes your way.
2. The Jews ask where was God when our fathers were being gassed or burned in the ovens by Hitler?
3. Where was God when this little girl was taken from her bedroom by gunpoint in Utah? Her parents testify of a faith in God.
C. There are many things in life that we do not know. God told us that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are beyond our finding out.
D. There are many things in life that I do know.
1. I know that God is love.
2. I know that God is in control of my life.
3. I know that all things are working together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
4. I know that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for me in heaven and is coming one day to take me to be with Him there.
5. I know that God is for me.
6. I know that God is on my side.
7. How do I know these things? God told me so.
E. I will never give up what I know for what I don't know.
II. THE STORY WE HAVE BEFORE US TODAY IS OF KING JEHOSHAPHAT. HE WAS THE SON OF KING ASA. HE WAS A GOOD KING; WE READ THAT THE LORD WAS WITH HIM. WHY?
A. He walked in the ways of his father David. His father David means that he was a descendant of David.
1. David was not a perfect man, but he had a heart for God. God loves it when we have a heart for Him.
2. Jehoshaphat had a heart for God.
B. He did not seek after Baalim. That is to say he did not seek after false gods.
C. He sought the God of his father. Remember the message of Azariah the prophet to Asa last week? "The Lord will be with you if you will be with Him, and if you seek Him, He will be found of you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you." He sought the Lord and found Him.
D. He walked in the commandments of the Lord.
1. He was not in rebellion against the commandments of the Lord, but sought to obey the commandments.
E. His heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.
F. He destroyed the places of false worship.
G. He sent out leaders and priests to teach the people the Law of God.
1. Wherever you have the teaching of the Word, you have revival.
2. The Bible is God's revelation of Himself.
3. You cannot know the truth of God apart from the Bible.
4. In other religious writings you have man's concept of God, whereas in the Bible you have God's revelation of Himself.
5. King Jehoshaphat was not just interested in knowing God himself, but he wanted all of his people might know God.
III. THESE WERE THE RESULTS OF HIS HONORING GOD.
A. Verse 5: "Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in His hand."
B. Verse 5: "He had riches and honor in abundance."
1. There is a proverb that says:
Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase:
So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.
C. Verse 10: "The fear of the Lord fell on all the nations around them so that none of them made war against him."
1. That is, God gave him a peaceful reign.
2. When a nation will honor God, God will honor that nation.
3. I sometimes wonder what will it take to bring our nation to its knees?
a. We seem to be defying God more and more, almost challenging God.
b. We have a governor who makes it one of his chief planks for re-election that he supports the murder of innocent little babies. With all of the pro-homosexual legislation that he has endorsed and signed into law, you wonder where he is coming from. When he last ran for the governorship he used as one of his chief planks the improvement of our public schools, by reducing the class sizes. About the only school bill that he has signed to my knowledge is the one that mandates that the children in grade school be taught that the homosexual lifestyle is a legitimate alternate lifestyle. Of course if they all become homosexuals it is bound to decrease the sizes of the classes in the future.
c. Our nation seems to be having one major calamity after another and for a brief time people seem to wake up to the sad state of affairs, but we soon lapse back into the worship of the false gods again.
D. Verse 11: The Philistines brought presents to him.
1. The Philistines were the perennial enemies of Israel, but even they are seeking peace with Jehoshaphat.
When a man's ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
E. Verse 11: The Arabians brought flocks of goats and rams.
1. Could you imagine Arafat bringing to Sharon flocks of goats and rams?
2. When your ways please the Lord, even your enemies will be at peace with you.
IV. YOU MAY BE THINKING AT THIS TIME THAT THE SECOND HALF OF THE SERMON COMPLETELY CONTRADICTS THE FIRST HALF WHEN WE WERE TALKING OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE CAN EXPECT TO HAVE LIVING IN THIS WORLD. THAT IS IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD.
A. We must remember that Jesus lived the perfect life, and look what happened to Him.
1. Peter wrote, "Consider it not strange concerning the fiery trials which are to try you as though some strange thing has happened to you."
B. As we go on with the life of Jehosaphat, we will find that he also had enemies come against him, but the Lord delivered them out of their hand.
1. What we said at the beginning was that as a child of God I am not immune from the pain and suffering that happens in a world that is in rebellion against God.
2. It is not that I do not have pain, it is how I look at the pain.
3. The Bible tells us that many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
4. The prophet Isaiah wrote:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when thou walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
5. One day, if the Lord tarries, I will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not walk in the valley.
6. Paul wrote:
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;
7. Peter wrote:
Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness because of the many trials:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that ultimately perishes, though it is tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, yet you love Him; and though you do not see Him now, yet believing, you rejoice with a joy that is indescribable and full of glory:
For the end of our faith, is the salvation of our soul.
C. In our trials, afflictions, sorrows and pain, we have One that we can turn to who will take us by that hand and lead us safely thorough the storm.