Sunday School Material 7-29-12: Jehoshaphat Makes Judicial Reforms

(II Chronicles 19:4-11)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jehoshaphat was used by God to help the people draw closer to godly living. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on letting God use us to help others join us in drawing closer to godly living.

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Read II Chronicles 19:4-7

I. Reforms Beyond Jerusalem. In this section of the Sunday School material Jehoshaphat is said to to get people to turn to God. The world would be such a better place, if more people followed the godly principles of the Bible.

No matter what our status in life may be, we should strive to help people live by godly principles. Godly living includes being godly spouses, parents, relatives, and friends. It includes health, wealth, and political stewardship. Let’s work on helping people live by godly principles.

- Fearing God. Notice in vs. 7 the mention of doing what we do, in the fear of God. Even though many are quick to redefine fear as respect and just as quick to say they fear God, too often we don’t behave as if we do.

Slowing down, when we see a state trooper shows that we fear that he/she will give us a speeding ticket. Living a disobedient life is the opposite behavior of those who really fear the Lord.Sustained excellent ministry is best built on fearing and loving God, not our personal pleasure or any psychological gimmick.

Let’s work on fearing God enough to obey Him. We should live by this application, before God shows us why we should fear Him. God can send pain and withhold blessings from our lives.

Read II Chronicles 19:8-11

II. Reforms Within Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat appoints religious leaders in Jerusalem. He assigns leadership to the king's work. There are blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience.

Applications -

- Handling disputes. Notice in vs. 8 of the Sunday School material there was a way to handle religious disputes. It is not strange for there to be disputes among even those in the church. Consequently, there needs to be a godly way to handle the disputes, so the issues involved will not become destructive to the church.

No matter what system is put in place, it will be no better than the people involved. We need people of godly character and wisdom making the decisions. We need people willing to bring the disputes to the assigned people, instead of the unassigned people (e.g., friends and family).

And we need the unassigned people to stop listening to the disputes. Let’s work on handling disputes in godly ways. An early step in dispute resolution is to try to solve the problem with the person who has offended you.

- Carrots and sticks. Notice in vs. 10 that God has a carrot and stick. He has blessings and punishments. We should all quickly agree that God’s blessings are better for us than His punishments.

However, we must do a better job of behaving accordingly. When over half of the church doesn’t give God even 10% of their income, we are not behaving like we understand this application. Let’s live like we believe that God’s blessings are better than His punishments.

- Delegated leadership. Notice in vs. 11 that there is delegation of leadership to trusted people. In order for delegation to be effective, several things need to be a place. One, the leader must be willing to delegate. Some are too insecure to do this.

Two, there needs to be some trained discipled people to delegate to. Some who want to be leaders don’t have a track record of being a strong disciple nor of being a competent leader.

And three, the people must follow the delegated leader. Some only want to talk to the head leader. Let’s work on developing and following a leadership team.

- Judging. Notice this lesson's concern with judging and Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:1-2 not to judge. It is important for us to remember that Jesus’ concern was with our not condemning people for unjust causes and without the proper authority.

The Living Bible says “do not criticize.” However, those who are authorized to judge should do so with biblical principles in mind. This is especially the case among believers and keeping the church in line with God’s will (see I Cor. 5:6-7).

Let’s work on engaging in godly, instead of ungodly, judging. The goal of godly judging is to help people live by God’s will, not to simply destroy them.

Conclusion: Let’s work on letting God use us to help others join us in drawing closer to godly living. God has much for those who obey His will.

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