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2 CHRONICLES 17:1-18:34 | ROMANS 9:25-10:13 | PSALM 20:1-9 | PROVERBS 20:2-3
Jehoshophat was a better king than his father, Asa. The text tells us 6 His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD.
He was also friends with Ahab, king of Israel, and we find here a lengthy account of one of their alliances– Jehosophat’s and Ahab’s—in going to war with the king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. Despite the advice that Ahab receives from Micaiah, the one and only prophet who cautions against going to war, Ahab, along with Jehoshophat’s help decides to do just that, and the result is that he does not even live to regret it. Ahab meets his end in the battle of Ramoth Gilead.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Romans, we see Paul continuing with his debate on the new order of things: this new covenant introduced via the person of Jesus Christ, is now open to both Jew and Gentile, he says. If anything, he laments the unbelief of Israel in that they did not accept Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, and have chosen to willfully turn away from the truth of the gospel.
Paul says, 30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
It is a sad truth, indeed, that the Jews in their zeal for observance of the law did not see the beauty of the grace presented by God in his son, Jesus Christ. So determined were they to continue in their observation and practice of the Law that they stumbled on the Law which was akin to a stumbling stone. Simplifying things seems to have complicated it for the Jews!
But Paul is not quick to give up on the Jews; after all, he is a Jew himself. And he says this about his people: 1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
And if that wasn’t clear enough, Paul continues in his explanation to win over his unbelieving Roman Jewish brethren with these words of clarification: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Gentle reader, is that sufficiently clear?
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find that the whole of Psalm 20 is a lovely blessing that we might gain comfort from, and offer it to those who may be in need of it. I reproduce it here in its entirety for the various nuggets of wisdom and wealth embedded in so many of its verses:
1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
The LORD gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 LORD, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
Finally, a verse packed with more wisdom, but this time from the psalmists’ son, Solomon, who says this:
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.