In the ancient Middle East, the originator of a custom was frequently referred to as the “father” of that custom. Thus, Jubal was called” the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” because he invented those instruments.
It’s one thing to speak the truth to people in power when you have nothing to lose. It’s quite another to speak the truth when you have everything to lose. The Old Testament prophet Nathan faced the prospect of losing everything, including his life, if he spoke the truth to the most powerful man in Israel. Yet that was exactly what God called him to do.
Saul was a young man dutifully searching for his father’s stray donkeys. Samuel was the renowned prophet, priest, and judge of Israel reluctantly searching for his nation’s first king. When their paths crossed, the course of Israel’s history changed dramatically.
Samuel had served as the Lord’s representative leader of Israel for decades, but he was growing old. When his sons proved to be unfit to succeed him, the people of Israel demanded that a king be appointed to rule over them. They were envious of the monarchies common in surrounding nations.
Molech was the chief god of the Ammonites (1 Kings 11:33), whom worshipers honored by sacrificing their own children (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; Jeremiah 32:35). Jewish law (Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5) and the prophets strictly forbade these kinds of heinous rituals. Zephaniah apparently regarded Molech worship as one of the most detestable form of Semitic idolatry (see Jeremiah 7:29-34; Ezekiel 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26). Continue reading WHO WAS MOLECH?→
Asa set a good example for his son and successor, Jehoshaphat. As the fourth king of Judah, Jehoshaphat continued to suppress pagan worship and to encourage worship of the one true God as his father had done. He implemented a nationwide program of teaching his officials and the people of the land to practice justice and follow the Lord’s commands (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).
The king himself practiced what he preached. When confronted by a huge army composed of Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, he prayed to the Lord for divine assistance. “We do not know what to do,” he admitted, “but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT).
His army marched off to battle with the words of a psalm on their lips. When Judah’s army arrived at the battle site, there was no battle to fight. The allied enemy army had been mysteriously ambushed by an unknown foe. This created confusion among the soldiers of the allied enemy army, and they began to slaughter one another. The only thing Jehoshaphat’s troops had to do was pick up the spoils the confused army had abandoned (2 Chronicles 20:22-25).
During Jehoshaphat’s reign the bitter feelings between Judah and Israel grew more cordial. He and Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, formed an alliance against their common enemy-the nation of Aram, or Syria. They attempted to recapture the city of Ramoth Gilead from the Syrians, but their campaign was not successful. As it turned out, the wicked king Ahab was killed in this battle (1 Kings 22:29-36).
Jehoshaphat died after reigning over Judah for twenty-five years. He was commended for his leadership because “he walked in the way of his father Asa” and did “what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:32 NKJV).