Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
While sitting in my office at home, I began to think about the spiritual foundation that I have received from my spiritual mentors, i.e. my father in the gospel Claude Allen Sr., and the distinguished Elder Johnnie James, along with many others who have poured into me. These men have been good examples in my life, just like the Apostle Paul was to Timothy, his son in the gospel.
In my studies, I focused on the character King Jehoshaphat. He was a good king who started off right, but down the road the worlds ideologies and ways influenced him greatly and altered his process. Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke you with the thought “Re-Engineering Our Process from Worldliness to GODLINESS” My premise scriptures to provoke further gospel provocation are as follows:
2 Ch. 15:15-17 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about. And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.
2 Ch. 16:8-11 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time. And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
2 Ch. 17:3-6 And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Jehoshaphat was fortunate to have a good example, for the word of God refers to his father Asa as a great reformer and restorer of the righteous things in God. Asa trusted God fervently until the thirty six year of his reign, at that time it appears he lost some of his zeal and faith in God until his death during his 41 year reign over Israel.
The whole scene presented to us in chapter 17 is filled with intrigue. Jehoshaphat not only obtains the throne of Asa; his father, but he goes on to take the tribe of Judah to another level in God because of his personal exertions. Saints please notice the true secret to his prosperity, “His heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.“ When the heart is lifted up in God, everything goes well.
But my brothers and sisters in 2 Ch. chapter 18, we see a shift in Jehoshaphat’s thinking process. Jehoshaphat’s prosperity is used by the devil as a snare for him. “Jehoshaphat had riches and honors in abundance, but joined and affiliated with Israel’s wickedest king, Ahab.” We have already observed Jehoshaphat fortifying his kingdom; but the enemy comes upon him in a way that Jehoshaphat did not prepare himself for! Satan does not attack his kingdom, he attacks his HEART. He came not as the lion, but as the serpent. Ahab’s “sheep and oxen” are found more suitable and effectual than Ahab’s men of war. Please notice if Ahab had declared war against Jehoshaphat, he would not have won because God was with him; but he does not because Jehoshaphat’s kingdom is fortified against Ahab’s hostilities. Unfortunately Jehoshaphat’s heart lies open to Ahab’s allurements. This is truly solemn! We as the Saints of God often make a great effort against evil in one shape, while we are allowing it creep in on us in another way. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Jehoshaphat had at first strengthened himself against Israel, but now he joins with Israel’s wicked king. Why? Had anything changed for the better? Did Ahab change his heart toward the Lord? The answer is NO! He was still the same, but Jehoshaphat’s conscience had lost its tenderness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit: he had come close to the evil and tampered with it; and hence was defiled by it. “He joined affinity with Ahab.”
Notice the evil, the thought process was slow in its operation, but it would certainly produce its own fruit sooner or later. Notice what it states in Gal. 6:8 “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” The truth of this must inevitably be realized. Grace may triumph in the forgiveness of sin, but the legitimate fruit will come forth in due time. The Lord put away David’s sin in the matter of Uriah, but the child died, and Absalom arose in rebellion. So will it ever be with us. If we sow to the flesh, we must reap corruption; the flesh can produce nothing else. As a pastor I emphasize, please stay away from people who keep one foot in world and the other in the church, they will taint you with a poisonous seed! This seed will eventually choke out the spiritual man, and bring slow death to you!
In Jehoshaphat’s case, it was not until after years that the results of his false steps began to show themselves. “And after certain years, he went down where Ahab was in Samaria; and Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead.”
My brothers and sisters Satan knows his ground; he knows where the seed of evil has taken root; he knows the heart that is prepared to respond to his temptation; he knew that the “affinity” into which the king of Judah had entered with the king of Israel, and had prepared him for further steps in a downward spiral. When a saint of God enters into connection with the world, they open themselves up to be “persuaded” by the world, and it leads to an UN-saintly course of action. Please remember that David took Ziklag from Achish in 1 Sam. 27:6, and the next step was to join with Achish against his own brethren, Israel in 1 Sam. 28:1
The process of Worldliness will never give anything to a child of God without making large demands in return. When the king of Judah had allowed Ahab to kill sheep and oxen for him, he would have found it difficult not to meet Ahab’s desire in reference to Ramoth-gilead. Hence it is a fact that the safest way in our walk with God is not to be a debtor to the world. Jehoshaphat should not of had anything to do with Ahab; he should have kept himself pure…..by hanging around spiritual people who wanted to please and hear from God. I personally try to love all, but I carefully watch the circles in which I may be identified, and limit accordingly! GOLDEN NUGGET!
The Lord was not with Ahab, and though it might seem a desirable thing to recover one of the cities of refuge out of the hand of the enemy, Jehoshaphat should have known that he was not to EXECUTE evil, with the perception that good was to come out of it. If we join with the world and the way it executes its schemes, we must expect to be identified with it in its convulsion and confusion. I have personally observed pastors and colleagues who have used vindictive methodologies to accomplish their desired end! But it always end up in convulsion and confusion, and a lost of respect for those individuals!
My brothers and sisters Ramoth-gilead had been assigned as a city of refuge for the slayer Deut. 4:43, and to recover this city from the king of Syria was the objective of Ahab’s expedition. But behind this we can detect the snare of the enemy, who cared little about the city, seeing that he could detour a child of God from the path of purity and separation. The devil has always found religious and benevolent objectives most effective in influencing the people of God. He does not come at first with something openly ungodly; nor does he tempt a saint to join the world from a known wicked design. His way is to present something to you in a distance with some desirable goal, while he covers his scheme with the cloak of religion or benevolence, and then ensnares you!
The apostle Paul teaches us in Tit. 1:16, that unbelievers are “unto every good work reprobate” This is abundant information for any obedient soul. We must not join with those who are so represented. It does not matter what they propose, whether it is a work of benevolence or a work of religion; it is all a form. The scripture tells us that these type of people are reprobate, yes, “reprobate,” though they profess that they know God. This should be more than sufficient. God cannot accept or acknowledge the works or offerings of those whose hearts are far from Him; nor should the members in the body of Christ mingle with such; especially when the strategy is to accomplish a desirable end not ordained by the Lord. Hence it is imperative that we strive to “keep ourselves pure”…for this most definitely is a valuable admonition for all of us.
Saints once your mind becomes warped in utilizing Worldliness as a Process, it is hard to get back to the basics in God…”Lord please help those who embrace this process!” To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” It would have been infinitely better and more acceptable for Jehoshaphat to have kept himself pure from all contact with Ahab’s defilement than to have recovered Ramoth from the Syrians, even if he had succeeded in doing so.
However, like us sometimes, he had to learn this by a painful experience. And this is how many of us learn our lessons…..through pain. When Jehoshaphat at the commencement of his reign had strengthened himself against Israel, he had little idea of the way in which he would afterward be ensnared by the very worst of the Israelite’s king, Ahab. The only effectual safeguard against evil is, to be in perpetual communion with God about it. (Lord don’t I know something about this!) For did not Jeremiah state in Jer. 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Jer. 18:18 Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words. When we look at evil in the light of the holiness of God, we not only look at the act, but at the principle; and if the principle be unsound, no matter what the result may be, we should have nothing to do with it.
In my experience, I have learned that to deal with evil requires much travailing before God, much self evaluation, and much spirituality with prayer in watchfulness. Jesus, please continue to grant us these attributes as we strive to stay close to you!
A lot of our brothers and sisters live life like they do not have a clue of the sad consequences and impact our mistakes have as children of God, on others that observe us! Satan makes full use of the mistake, and makes sure that is does injury to others who have obtained our witness, and have been influenced by it. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Jehoshaphat did not only fall into the snare himself, but he led others into it. He states “I am as thou art,” said he; and further, “My people as thy people.” WOW saints, what an awful saturation point! What miserable low ground for a man of God to take! And what a place to put the people of God into … “I am as thou art”! Notice my brothers and sisters, God did not judge him as He judged of Ahab; here was an exemplification of GRACE, even in the midst of the terrible consequences of his wayward conduct. Jehoshaphat was not as Ahab in the close of his reign, though he had joined affinity with him for the purpose of carrying out his plans; he was not as Ahab when Ahab was pierced by an arrow; he was not as Ahab when the dogs licked Ahab’s blood. The Lord had made him to differ by the MERCY & GRACE afforded him…Glory be to God for his GRACE, especially when we act like we have lost our mind and direction in JESUS!
Hence we should remember that when a Saint joins with the world for any purpose whatsoever, whether of religion or of benevolence, he is just like saying (as Jehoshaphat said to Ahab), “I am as thou art.” For Jehu the prophet, when he met Jehoshaphat on his return from Ramoth, asked him “Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” How was he to know who was ungodly, or who hated the Lord, if he did not exercise the right judgment? We have certainly no right to judge those who do not know JESUS, because they are acting out their character produced by the Worldly Process, but those who have been born again by the water and His spirit, and know JESUS; are bound to exercise proper judgment because we have fellowship with Him.
It is obvious that Jehoshaphat failed to maintain this separation; and, as it has already been reiterated, that in failing to do so led others into failure. In this we should learn a serious lesson. Jehoshaphat had gained very considerable influence over the hearts of the people by his previous devoutness; he had established himself in their confidence and affections; and, to a certain extent, rightly so. It is right that those who walk devotedly should be loved and confided in; but we must watch most observantly against the dangerous tendency of mere personal influence. That’s why he said to Ahab “My people are as thy people.” He should have said, “I am as thou art,” and left it at that! His extensive influence, when used out of communion, only made him a more efficient instrument of evil. Satan knew this; he knew his mark; he did not fasten on an ordinary man of Judah, but on the most prominent and influential man he could find, because he knew that if he could only succeed in drawing him aside, others would follow in his footsteps. Those of you that have been delegated leadership roles, watch how you lead…For any non spiritual motive can lead to someone’s demise! GOLDEN NUGGET!
But what about the naysayers who may say “What harm can there be in joining Ahab’s expedition? Surely, if there were any thing wrong in it, such a good man as King Jehoshaphat would not engage in it. “So long as we see him there, our minds can be at ease.” This appears to be the mindset of many in this twenty first century! How often do we hear Saints say, “How can such-and-such things be wrong, when we see such good men and women in connection with them, or engaging in them?“ Now all that I can say of such reasoning is that it is utterly false; and it will lead to a dismal end. Please remember what Paul stated in 1 Co. 10:32-33 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. 1 Co. 11:1… Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
My brothers and sisters we are responsible to act upon Gods principles; let others do as they may. We should be able, through grace, and humility to be able to render a sound and intelligent reason for whatever course of action we may adopt, without any reference to the conduct of others! Can I please get an AMEN! Moreover, we know full well that good men and women go astray, and do wrong things. They are not, therefore, nor can they be, our guides. This is why my brothers and sisters we must have the following: a spiritual mind, a conscience enlightened by the Word of God, and a real sense of personal responsibility together with honesty and purpose….. If we lack these, our path will be defective!
How frequently do we decide on a course of action, and then go and ask the Lord about it afterwards! All this is wretched; it is only honoring God with our lips, while our heart is in rebellion against Him. Instead of getting guidance in the things we profess to ask, we are actually looking for a lying spirit to be sent forth to us! Notice what God said in 2 Ch. 18:19-22 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
Ahab was at no loss for counselors. He speedily “gathered together four hundred prophets,” who were ready to counsel him according to his heart’s desire: “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.” This was what he wanted to hear. Ahab was satisfied with prophets like these. They suited him well. But surely Jehoshaphat should not have even appeared to acknowledge them to be prophets of the Lord, as he evidently did, by saying, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides (or, as the margin reads, “yet one more?”) Had he been faithful to the Lord, he would at once have denied the right of these false prophets to give counsel. Saints watch who you listen to! GOLDEN NUGGET!
It is a dreadful a thing to allow ourselves to get into a condition when our soul is unable to bear distinct and faithful testimony against the ministers of Satan! But you know what the response is in these last and evil days…”We must be liberal, we must not hurt people’s feelings; there are good men everywhere.” But never forget Absolute truth is truth, and we are not to put error in place of the absoluteness of truth. It is always those secret desires to stand with the world, that lead us into careless methodologies when dealing with evil. Now, if we want to take up the Process of Worldliness, let us do it at our own charge, and not at the expense of God’s Absolute truth. It is often urged by the world and carnal saints that, “We must present truth in such an aspect as it will attract,” but my brothers and sisters what this really means is that truth is to be made a kind of variable, an elastic thing, which can be turned into any shape, or stretched to any length, to suit the taste and habits of those who would bring the worlds view in contrast with Gods absolute truth! Saints, truth can never be made to reduce itself to the level of this world. Those who profess to hold it should strive to use it. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Any attempt to accommodate truth for those who are of the world can only end disastrously. There can be no accommodation. Let it stand upon its own heavenly merit; let the saints stand fully and firmly with it; let us invite sinners up to truth; let us not descend to the low and groveling pursuits, and habits of this crazy world; because when we do, we rob the effects of perfect truth. Jehoshaphat certainly did not further the cause of truth by conforming to Ahab’s ways, or by acknowledging the claims of his false prophets. It has been documented that those who conform to the world are the enemy of Christ, and hence are the enemies of Christ’s people. It cannot be otherwise. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” This is documented!Jas. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This was fully proved in the case of King Jehoshaphat! He became the friend and companion of Ahab, who hated Micaiah, the servant of God; and as a consequence, although he did not himself positively persecute the righteous witness, he was an accessory; for he sat beside Ahab, and beheld the Lord’s prophet struck, and committed to prison, simply because he would not tell a lie to please a wicked king to harmonize with the four hundred wicked prophets. What must have been the mindset of Jehoshaphat, when he beheld his brother smitten and imprisoned for his faithfulness because he testified against an expedition in which he was engaged! Jehoshaphat’s connection with Ahab forced him not to be a witness against the wicked proceedings; because he was a partaker of them!
When a man or woman associates themselves with the world or carnal saints, they must do it thoroughly. The enemy will not be satisfied with half participation; on the contrary, he will use every effort to force a saint out of communion into the most terrible extremes of evil. Notice how Jehoshaphat “joined with Ahab“; then accepted his hospitality; after that, was “persuaded” into open association with him; and finally, took his place at the battle of Ramoth-gilead. He said to Ahab, “I am as thou art,” and Ahab takes him at his word; for he says to him, “I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes.”
Wow my brothers and sisters, Jehoshaphat surrendered his anointing and personal identity, for when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “It is the king of Israel.” What terrible position for Jehoshaphat to be in! He was found impersonating evil, and therefore mistaken for the worst of Israel’s kings. This is proof of the dangers, when associating with evil men and women of the world.
Thank God, the Lord did not take Jehoshaphat at his word when he said to Ahab, “I am as thou art.” The Lord knew that Jehoshaphat was not Ahab, even though he tried to impersonate and be mistaken for him. The grace of God made him different, and his conduct should have proved him to be what grace had made him. But, thanks be to God, “He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation,” and He graciously delivered His poor servant out of the evil into which he had plunged himself, which would have caused him to perish. But the Lord stretched out his hand and rescued him. “Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him; and God moved them to depart from him.”
My beloved brothers and sisters let us, with the Lord’s help, endeavor to shake off the world’s process and influence, and purge ourselves from its ways. We have no idea how insidiously it creeps in upon us. The enemy at first weans us from the really simple and godly habits, and by degrees we drop into the flow of the world’s process in thinking.
I know that Jehoshaphat had to be thankful for the salutary lesson that his detour had taught him; it resulted in a new process for him to walk more in the fear of the Lord, and to impress others to do so also. We can be more effective and efficient teachers to others when we convey “Take heed what ye do;” and know that if we, “Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.” God bless you my brothers and sisters, and let us perpetually strive to “Re-Engineer Our Process from Worldliness to GODLINESS” God Bless you and have a “JESUS DAY”