Both in the morning and evening services today, we have enjoyed the ministry of David James Morse. David has had a long association with us at Ebenezer and was in fact present at the church’s inauguration in 1958! He and his wife Ann were missionaries in Peru for a number of years but for decades have had a travelling ministry speaking in conferences all over the world.
David’s subject in the morning was Jehoshaphat’s Mistake (2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3)
Jehoshaphat revealed (Chapter 17). He was from a godly home. His father was Asa. His name means Jehovah judges (rules). At the start of his reign he rejected idols and brought about religious reform. He ordered that the TORAH be taught in his kingdom and under God’s blessing, he prospered. He was concerned about Ahab’s kingdom to the north (Israel) which was larger, so he strengthened the military posts on his borders.
Jehoshaphat Rebuked (18:1-19:3). He married his son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. Later, she almost put an end to David’s line, threatening the ultimate coming of the Messiah. He agreed to go with Ahab against Ramoth-Gilead and sought the Lord’s guidance first – but then ignored it! Ahab barefacedly put him at risk, hoping to save himself. But the Lord’s prophecy was still fulfilled. Jehoshaphat naively accepted Ahab’s ruse, but the Lord delivered him from death. God rebuked Jehoshaphat through Jehu the seer, whose father had rebuked Asa for seeking help from Syria (19:2) “Should you help the wicked and love [margin, and make alliances with] those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you.” The parallel for us (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. (Matthew 11:29) Take my yoke upon you.
Jehoshaphat Restored (19:4-20:30) The Lord graciously restored Jehoshaphat, but he didn’t learn his lesson completely! (20:35-37)
In the evening, David’s subject was Live according to the Teaching 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
The Problem manifested. God’s Word is to be our guide in every aspect of our lives as Christians. But here the call is to shun idleness. The word translated idle means rebellious and lazy. In 1 Thessalonians, the emphasis is on rebelliousness, while here it is on laziness but both elements are always present. So in v.6, “every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching”. Paul had found this to be a problem in that church from the beginning.
The Prosperity missed. Proverbs shows that idleness leads to; poverty, 20:4,13, hunger, 19:15, bondage, 12:24, ruin, 24:30-34. In Proverbs 6:6-11, we have an example, “Go to the ant, you sluggard”.
The Provision made. The call against idleness is based on something that is basic to human life. The so-called Protestant work ethic is Biblical and, therefore, Divine. It predates the fall of man, Genesis 2:15 “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Human beings need purpose and responsibility. But the real need is to accept responsibility for fulfilling the purpose of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity [redeeming the time], because the days are evil”.