2 Chronicles 16 – 17 … Consider His Strong Support

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His,” (16:9).

Okay, I admit that I was, and still am, a bit confused; as well as saddened. Asa, who started out so strong in his wholehearted commitment to the Lord. Asa, whose godly leadership returned and reformed his entire kingdom to follow God’s commands and ordinances. Asa, who “did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God”, and immediately began to remove the places of idol worship as well as, “commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment,” (1 Chronicles 14:2, 4). And although the high places were not removed, “…nevertheless Asa’s heart was blameless all his days,” (1 Chronicles 15:17).

But somehow, a shift took place after thirty-five years as king. “And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign,(1 Chronicles 15:19).

And now, Asa is not only relying on a pagan king to support him in battle, he payed for this treaty with the gold and silver from the treasury of the house of the Lord!

Then Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Aram, who lived in Damascus, saying, “Let there be a treaty between you and me…” (16:2-3).

And the downward spiral continues as Asa is confronted with the truth; the LORD had delivered him from even greater enemies than Baasha, king of Israel; and He would surely do it again. But Asa somehow shifted away from truth and not only sought, but paid for help from the pagan king of Aram.

As the consequence of Asa’s shift in reliance is pronounced, “You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars;” Asa becomes so infuriated with the words of the prophet, Hanani, that he has him imprisoned. And it doesn’t get better.

Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time, (16:10).

His heart was blameless? Asa may not have gone after the pagan gods of the surrounding nations, but at this point Asa’s heart was anything but completely God’s. And as the years unfold, the sin of pride bore the fruit of a heart reliant on self.

Asa, whose heart was blameless, died a bitter old man. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians, (16:12).

And then, along comes Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat his son then became king in his place, and made his position over Israel firm, (17:1 emphasis added).

The word describing his position as firm, is the same Hebrew word the LORD had spoken to Asa when He said, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His,” (16:9 emphasis added).

Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel, (17:1 ESV emphasis added).

This word translated, firm, strongly, strengthened, is defined as: “2388. ḥāzaq: A verb meaning to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, to overpower,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

As the King of Judah relied on the Lord, the kingdom was firmly established and strengthened in His Strong Support

Consider His Strong Support

He took great pride in the ways of the Lord and again removed the high places and the Asherim from Judah, (17:6).

Typically, when we read about pride, it is not a positive attribute. Some versions translate this verse as “devoted to, committed to, courageous in, his heart took delight in” the ways of the Lord.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and do a little digging.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

Heart: 3820. לֵב lēḇ: A masculine noun usually rendered as heart but whose range of meaning is extensive… However, it usually refers to some aspect of the immaterial inner self or being since the heart is considered to be the seat of one’s inner nature as well as one of its components…

Pride: 1361. גָּבַהּ gāḇah: A verb meaning to be high, exalted, arrogant. It describes anything that is literally tall or high… It refers to pride or being lofty, literally exalted in heart, in either a good sense (2 Chr. 17:6) or more often in a bad sense.

What is clear from the original language is that Jehoshaphat’s heart (his inner being) was definitely involved. An illustration that may help shed some light on this type of pride is vividly portrayed in the King James Version

And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD… (17:6 KJV).

Jehoshaphat lifted his heart as he leaned on the Lord; and in turn, his heart was lifted up in the ways of Lord’s. Because Jehoshaphat was committed, devoted and courageous in the ways of the LORD, not in and of himself, because he relied on the Lord, the Lord in essence supported his entire being. It’s actually what He expected from Asa.

“Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore…” (16:7).

Relied: A verb meaning to lean, to rely, to support oneself. This verb is found only in the passive form, but it is active in meaning. In its simplest meaning, it refers to leaning on things for support… The idea conveyed here is simply that of resting one’s weight against something to give it support…”

As Jehoshaphat leaned in total reliance on his God, his entire being, and kingdom, were supported by His Strong Support.

  • His Strong Support to strengthen and fortify:
    • He placed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah(17:2).
  • His Strong Support to walk in His Ways:
    • The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David’s earlier days and did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did, (17:3-4).
  • His Strong Support to provide preservation and prosperity:
    • So the Lord established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor, (17:5).
  • His Strong Support to teach others:
    • Then in the third year of his reign he sent his officialsThey taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; and they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught among the people, (17:7, 9).
  • His Strong Support to establish peace:
    • Now the dread of the Lord was on all the kingdoms of the lands which were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat, (17:10).
  • His Strong Support to cause growth:
    • So Jehoshaphat grew greater and greater, and he built fortresses and store cities in Judah, (17:12).

And the Lord has promised His Strong Support is always available to all those whose heart is completely His.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His,” (16:9).

How do we respond to His Strong Support?

As we rely on Him, as we lift Him up, above our own thoughts, feelings, plans and decisions, He will provide His Strong Support to do good and to walk in His faithful ways. As we delight ourselves in the LORD, we too take pride in His ways, lifting His ways up over all, committing all to Him and trusting Him to do it.

  • Let us trust His Strong Support to walk in His Ways.
    • “God is my strong fortress;
      And He sets the blameless in His way,
      ” (2 Samuel 22:33).
  • Let us trust His Strong Support to provide preservation and prosperity.
    • “The LORD commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the LORD our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today,” (Deuteronomy 6:24 CSB).
  • Let us trust His Strong Support to teach others.
    • “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up,” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
  • Let us trust His Strong Support to establish peace.
    • The Lord will give strength to His people;
      The Lord will bless His people with peace,
      (Psalm 29:11).
  • Let us trust His Strong Support to cause growth.
    • The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
      He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
      13 Planted in the house of the Lord,
      They will flourish in the courts of our God.
      14 They will still yield fruit in old age;
      They shall be full of sap and very green,
      15 To declare that the Lord is upright;
      He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him,
      (Psalm 92:12-14).

May we devote and commit our hearts completely to Him, that we would seek the Lord continually. Let us trust Him, and Him alone, to cause His growth in us, so that in everything and every way we will fully rely on His Strong Support. 

    • Trust in the Lord and do good;
      Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
      Delight yourself in the Lord;
      And He will give you the desires of your heart.
      Commit your way to the Lord,
      Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
      He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
      And your judgment as the noonday,
      (Psalm 37:3-6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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