This Sunday at 10:30am at Conner Prairie I begin our summer message series: “The Bible’s Greatest Heroes: How You Can Be a Hero Too.”
WHO WAS YOUR HERO GROWING UP? In 1961 I was 8 years old. It was my first year playing organized baseball at Warren Township Little League. My first childhood hero was Mickey Mantle. I wanted to hit like him, throw and catch like him, and even run like him.
Don’t we all want to be heroes? We may not be willing to admit it, but don’t many of us daydream that we rescue the damsel in distress, or charge into a burning building to save some children, or pull a drowning person from the water? I believe God designed us to be heroes.
Did you know there are Bible principles that show us how to be a hero? And it’s more possible than you think!!
Let me share some of these principles from the story of Jehoshaphat who was king of Judah 870-848 BC.
A HERO IN TRAINING:
- JEHOSHAPHAT DETERMINED TO FOLLOW THE LORD – he deeply committed himself to serving and obeying the Lord.
2 Chronicles 17:4,6 (NLT) He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands…He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord.
Will you dedicate yourself to following the Lord?
- JEHOSHAPHAT GOT ORGANIZED – God uses our preparation and organization. When the great missionary, Hudson Taylor, knew he was called to take the Gospel to the interior of China in the 1850s, he took his time to get organized and prepared before he went. It was one of the reasons why he was so effective for the Lord.
2 Chronicles 17:2, 12-14a (NLT) He stationed troops in all the fortified towns of Judah …and built fortresses and storage cities throughout Judah.
Will you get yourself organized and prepared to serve the Lord?
- JEHOSHAPHAT SOUGHT THE LORD’S COUNSEL AND GUIDANCE – Before he made any decision, he first prayed and asked for godly counsel.
2 Chronicles 18:6 (NLT) But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”
Will you always seek the Lord’s counsel and guidance for every life choice?
- JEHOSHAPHAT DILIGENTLY LEARNED THE SCRIPTURES – Obviously, since he went to great efforts to teach his people the word of the Lord, he had first learned it himself. We have virtually unlimited access to God’s word today (i.e. I have 1,726 Bible versions on my phone), so there is no excuse for any Christian not to be a student of the Bible.
2 Chronicles 17:7–9 (NLT) Jehoshaphat sent his officials to teach in all the towns of Judah…9 They took copies of the Book of the Law of the Lord and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people.
Will you diligently learn the Scriptures?
- JEHOSHAPHAT WITNESSED FOR THE LORD – Instead of staying busy with the affairs of state, he instead made a tremendous effort to share God’s love and grace with his people.
2 Chronicles 19:4 (NLT) Jehoshaphat…went out among the people…encouraging the people to return to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
Will you faithfully witness for the Lord?
HOW JEHOSHAPHAT BECAME GOD’S HERO…
After Jehoshaphat had prepared himself by taking these lifestyle preparations, God put him in a place where he could be tested…and remember, no one can become a hero without being tested. The armies of Ammon and Moab came to attack Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 20).
HERE IS WHAT JEHOSHAPHAT DID:
- HE WAS TERRIFIED AND PRAYED TO THE LORD FOR GUIDANCE.
- HE CALLED THE PEOPLE TO FAST AND PRAY.
- HE SOUGHT OUT THE WORD OF THE LORD.
- HE PLACED HIS TRUST IN GOD TO DELIVER THEM.
- HE WENT INTO THE BATTLE WORSHIPPING THE LORD.
- HE STOOD STILL AND ALLOWED THE LORD TO DELIVER THEM.
- HE CELEBRATED THE LORD’S VICTORY.
Do you realize that you and I can do every one of these things? There is nothing impossible in this list. We can pray for guidance when we’re terrified. We can fast and ask others to join with us. We can seek God’s word in any battle. We can trust God to deliver us. We can go into the battle worshipping the Lord. We can stand still (maybe the hardest of all actions) and allow God to fight our battle. We can celebrate the Lord’s victory.
MICKEY MANTLE: This week my son, Rick, sent me the eulogy that Bobby Richardson (committed Christian and 2ndbaseman of the Yankees during the 1960s) gave at Mickey Mantle’s funeral. In it he gave a clear witness that Mickey had trusted in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior before he passed away. I can’t tell you what a joy that was for me knowing that I’ll get to spend eternity with my childhood hero, Mickey Mantle!
GOD IS SEARCHING FOR HEROES—those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him—”The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Will you be the Lord’s hero?
Onward in God’s strength,