Footsteps . . .

Text Box:

Vol.5, No. 11 – April 5, 2020

Leadership in a Time of Crisis . . .

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals. –2 Chronicles 17:3

With a few exceptions, our nation’s leaders have not done well in a second four-year term. Following Ronald Regan, the performance longer term for most presidents has been dismal.

Jehoshaphat serves in office some 35 years; a winner most of those years. It is said of him that he walked in the first ways of his tribal head father, David, and sought not to follow the worship or philosophy of the Baals.

Who was Baal you ask. A Cannaanite god that throughout the history of Israel is an invalid god, a thorn in the flesh. He was actually the “weather god” (so I guess we can understand why the thorn in the flesh part). This god is the end of all gods for rain, thunderstorms, and all that accompanies those weather patterns. Baal was the “go-to” god for times of crisis, struggle, and discomforts of the people. People worshipped at his altars. For every instance of a dry and thirsty land, the cry was, “we need to call upon Baal.”

Baal was a multi-purpose god. He (or she, depending upon the current culture of the day) was also the god of fertility, the giver of abundance; whether it might be in crops, physical reproduction, or other accompanying phenomenon. He/she is also the consort with the wicked and sexually gratifying Asherah. The gods of co-partnerships.

Jehoshaphat stands solidly and vigorously against sin. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah (17:6).

Thus, after three years in the driver’s seat, he begins a nationwide religious education program. (I wonder how naïve people in our culture would have to be to endorse a religious education program that would accept just any religion other than Christianity. Wait. It is already here is it not?) Jehoshaphat handpicked sixteen men of Judah, trained them, and sent them throughout the nation with copies of The Book of the Law of the Lord. This leader wanted the people of the nation of Israel to know God and to know the Holy Scriptures. (Again, I do not think this would go well with the culture mindset of our present age.)

This was quickly followed by a public works program. It probably did not include building a wall to hold back intrusion from non-citizens, just enemy soldiers. More than likely, it did not include public works for other nations. (It would be interesting to read the full implication of our recently passed “Family” bill by congress to see how many other non-COVID-19 items are included.)

The question might be raised, from where did the money come? How did he pull this off? From the people. Therefore, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor (17:5). Beyond his own borders, the Philistines brought him presents and annual tribute. (We just borrow it and obligate future generations to pay it off.)

Guess what. Even the Arabs donated 7700 rams and 7700 male goats on an annual basis. Jehoshaphat experienced the joy of being right with God. Experience shows that when the religious life consists of a conscious yielding of small things, and a withholding of strength, life is increasingly tedious.

Life Application

It is one thing to surrender individual dollars; it is quite another thing to consecrate our wealth. It is one thing to build altars here and there on the road; it is quite another thing to consecrate the journey. If our self is kept back from the Lord, our religion will be a procession of reluctance and irritations. –J. H. Jowett

Nations are not won with religious tolerance, a plane load of money, or military aid to corrupt administrations. God has a plan to change people in their souls. We can be a part of His plan without compromising our beliefs, without striving to always be “politically correct.” We do, however, need to be fully correct in biblical truth (1 Peter 3:15).

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. –Psalm 37:4

Leadership in a time of crisis is always available—if we would but ask our Almighty God!

Who else commands all the hosts of heaven, who else could make every king bow down, who else can whisper and darkness trembles, only a Holy God!

What other beauty demands such praises, what other splendor outshines the sun, what other majesty rules with justice.

What other glory consumes like fire, what other power can raise the dead, what other name remains undefeated, only a Holy God!

Who else could rescue me from my failing, who else would offer His only Son, who else invites me to call Him Father, only a Holy God!

Come and behold Him, the One and the Only, cry out sing holy, forever a Holy God, come worship the Holy God! —Only a Holy God

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

April 5, 2020

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