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How to Respond to Admonishment and Adversity

When it comes to handling feedback, Henry Cloud talks about 3 kinds of people: wise, foolish, evil.

  • Wise people. Because they want to get better, they thank you and take action.
  • Foolish people. Instead of listening, they’d rather talk about your problems.
  • Evil people. How do you handle them? With money, guns, and lawyers, use this useful reference for more.

Here’s the main thing we’re going to see in today’s story:

How you respond to admonishment and adversity will determine your influence and impact.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at the family tree of David. We started with Solomon, a wise man who made some bad decisions. These decisions led to further trouble.

Then came Rehoboam, the king who acted on bad advice and kingdom was divided.

Today is one of my favorite names in Bible (and in the opening line of a John Prine song): Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat is king of Judah (the other kingdom being Israel). He will be admonished for making bad decisions; he will later shine in the face of adversity.

Jehoshaphat was the fifth king after David. He will rule for 25 prosperous years. He establishes reforms like bringing back priesthood of Levites. Like other kings, he also formed some poor alliances. One in particular was with King Ahab of Israel.

Listen to how the Bible describes Ahab …

30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him … 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. – 1 Kings 16:30, 33

Let me be honest with you: If you’re actively trying to arouse the anger of the Lord, I’m staying far, far away from you! I’m not letting you babysit my children or date my daughters. You might be the best third baseman to ever play slow pitch softball, but I don’t want you sitting next to me in the dugout.

That’s how any reasonable person might think, especially one who is trying to be obedient to God. But what about Jehoshaphat?

1 Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. 2 Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” – 2 Chronicles 18:1-3

Jehoshaphat should have known that nothing good could come from this alliance. At one point, he is mistaken for Ahab and is nearly killed. It is only God’s intervention that saves his life. Ahab isn’t so fortunate.

Don’t miss this: Without good judgment, we will find ourselves in places or relationships that are ultimately harmful to us.

This is true in dating relationships and business partnerships. It’s true when addicts try to chart a new course but keep old friendships.

Thankfully, our God is a God of second chances. In the next chapter, he sends a prophet to confront Jehoshaphat and Jehoshaphat responds with repentance connected with changed behavior.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned as a pastor and a parent: Defiance towards correction is a sign of immaturity.

Rather than dig and be stubborn, Jehoshaphat decides to change. This turns out to be a well-timed decision …

1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). – 2 Chronicles 20:1-2

How often does it seem like when one struggle settles down, another one comes along to take its place?

In business, you have key performance indicators to measure how well you are doing. Notice what Jehoshaphat does …

3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. – 2 Chronicles 20:3-4

He was king but he wasn’t superhuman – he was alarmed! But he didn’t try to take control. He didn’t seek out comfort foods. What did he do?

Jehoshaphat turned his adversity over to God. In fact, his first words to God were words of praise and not panic …

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you … 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:6, 12

At some point, you will face a problem or a situation or a challenge that you are woefully ill-equipped to face. That’s not unusual, that’s being human. I hope you will pray … “I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you.”

It’s the same prayer I hope we will pray as a church.

Even when I don’t have any power at all, God you still have all power and I’m keeping my eyes on you.

Experience and Background

  • Professor at Warner University
  • masters in business administration (mba)
  • presenter at the WFX National Conference
  • former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
  • helped start 2 for-profit tech companies

Sermon Videos

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Coaching Opportunities

One of the things I enjoy the most is helping individuals or organizations reach their full potential.  It’s been said, “everyone wins when a leader gets better.”

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