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 Jumping Jehoshaphat
 Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
June 19, 2016

All Rights Reserved

 

 

MEDITATION

And now that we have established the right atmosphere, we enter our time of meditation and deepen our contact with God. There is only one Presence and one Power in this universe and in our lives, and that is God the good, Omnipotent. In that awareness, there is no need to worry. There's only the need to stay attuned to divine guidance as it reveals itself from within us. Once that guidance is revealed, we act upon it willingly, joyfully and confidently. And then, we come to that point when we know that we've done our part, we simply let go and let God. God will bring to completion all our efforts. In that awareness, we enter our time of silence, by affimring, "I let go and I let God."

We are abiding in that consciousness where we can pray for and with others more effectively, so call to mind anyone whom we feel is in the need of letting go and letting God; someone who really has done his or her part and has come to that point where it's time to let God step in and do His part in the divine partnership. And as we think of them, we say to them, "you let go and you let God. In that awareness and through that action, your good is brought forth." Let's take a moment in the silence and affirm for them: You let go and you let God. And now, having spoken this word of Truth for them, we can release them and let them go, knowing that God's perfect work is being done right now in and through them. As we prepare now to bring our attention consciously back to this time and to this place, we do so in full gratitude of our awareness that we are divine partners with God in the creative process. We're grateful that we don't have to do it all alone. God is there. And God works through other people and other situations as well to bless and assist us as we carry out whatever that divine guidance has revealed to us. For this awareness, we do give thanks. We affirm it to be true in the name and through the power of that living, loving, Presence of God that abides within us all. Amen.

JUMPING JEHOSHAPHAT – JUNE 19, 2016

Have you ever wondered, “How do I know I’m following God's Will?” At time we may feel like the old farmer who believed everything that happens is the will of God. When his barn burned down he said, "Well, I guess that's the will of God. The day, his wife ran off with a traveling salesman he said, "Well, I guess that's the will of God." Of course he was getting a little bit tired of the will of God as time went on. Then 1 day he was out working in the fields, mending his fences & all of a sudden out of the clear blue sky a lightning bolt came down, struck him & knocked him to the ground. I guess that was the straw that broke the camels back because as he picked himself up, he looked up into the skies & said, "Why God, Why me?" There was a moment of silence & then he heard a voice from the heavens say, "Oh, I don't know, I guess there's just something about you."

Sometimes we feel that someone is just out to get us. Day after day we are just trying to get through our challenges & looking for the light at the end of the tunnel & hoping it isn’t the light of an oncoming train! But there is something we can do more than just putting 1 foot in front of the other & trying to just push through it. We can know that we aren’t alone & grow through them & that’s what today’s lesson is Jumping Jehosaphat is really about.

I've been thinking alot about that phrase & wondering where it came from. Now I think the phrase, "Leaping lizards" came from "Orphan Annie," but where did "Jumping Jehoshaphat" come from?

The phrase is 1st recorded in the 1866 novel The Headless Horseman by Thomas Mayne Reid. The longer version "By the shaking, jumping ghost of Jehoshaphat" is seen in the 1865 novel Paul Peabody by Percy Bolingbroke St. John. In Walt Disney's film, The Sword in the Stone (film), the character Merlin utter's the king's name as an expletive during the wizard's duel with Mad Madam Mim.

The name Jehoshaphat is also used repeatedly as an expletive by Elijah Baley in Isaac Asimov's Robot series. Jehoshaphat is also the subject of Max Romeo's song "Valley of Jehoshaphat.'

In Howard Hawk's, His Girl Friday, "Jumping Jehoshaphat" is the favored expletive of Walter Burns, the newspaper publisher played by Cary Grant. In the Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon short, Yankee Dood It, "Jehoshaphat" is the invocation used to turn elves into mice whereas "Rumplestiltskin" is the invocation used to restore them. But there is nothing in the Bible to support this phrase. When we look at the story of Jehoshaphat we see that he certainly didn't jump. He held his ground. The story is found in the 2nd book of Chronicles, chapter 20.

Jehoshaphat, is the King of the southern kingdom of Judah. He receives news that anybody in his right mind would find distressing: 3 armies huge armies are approahing & plan to invade Judah. Reading from the Bible it says, "& Jehosphaphat was afraid & set himself to seek the Lord."

1. His first action step, the 1st thing he did when he heard the news & became aware of big trouble was to 'Go to God' & pray for guidance.

As a result of his prayers, God sent a Prophet to him with guidance. “Thus says the Lord to you. Fear not & be not dismayed at this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but God's. You will not need to fight in this battle. Take your position. Stand still. & see the victory of the Lord on your behalf. Fear not." In other words, the Prophet told him, 'don't do anything."

2. His 2nd action was to follow his guidance which was "Don't do anything.”

Can you relate to this? Often when we feel set upon with invading armies of negative thoughts, situations, or people out there, the first thing we want to do is jump into action. And then somebody comes along & says, "Don't do anything. Just relax and turn to God. Trust God to get you out of this." We hear that & may think, “this person is nuts. I have to do something even if it is the wrong thing. I just can’t sit here & do nothing!”

Well, the story goes that the 3 invading armies come in & Jehoshaphat & his people stand their position & watch them coming. Now, 1 of the hardest things to do at a moment like this is to control your own anxiety & fear & keep from thinking, “Here they come, we must do something. We must do something, now!" So to help his people remain God focused, Jehoshaphat appointed singers to sing the praises of God & to sing songs about the beauty of holiness, and to sing songs of how God had always been their refuge & their strength. Again, Why did he do this?

He did this so that they would keep their minds on God & not focus on the invading armies, 'the problem.' When you keep your mind on God & the solution rather than on the problem like this what happens? Well, according to the story, “Two of the invading armies mistook the 3rd army to be Jehoshaphat & his army & so they attacked them & knocked them off. Then, the 2 remaining armies, mistook each other for Jehoshaphat's army & knocked each other off. And who was standing there all the time, not having to do anything? Jehoshaphat and his people.

3. Jehoshaphat & his people (thoughts) maintained the right attitude at the right time & everything worked out fine. (Go to God. Follow guidance. Right attitude at the right time.)

Isn't that a wonderful story. This story is the plainest instance of the Chronicler's method of constructing a practical life situation in order to present spiritual principles for people to learn to live by. This is what the author of the Book of Chronicles had in mind as he wrote & this is actually something Jehoshaphat was well known for during his lifetime. He sent teachers out into the countryside to instruct people in spiritual law.

Historically, Jehoshaphat ascended the throne at the age of 35 & reigned for 25 years & died at the age of 60. He spent the first years of his reign fortifying his kingdom against the Kingdom of Israel. His zeal in suppressing the idolatrous worship of the "high places" is commended in 2 Chronicles 17:6. In the 3rd year of his reign Jehoshaphat sent out priests & Levites over the land to instruct the people in the Law, an activity that was commanded for a Sabbatical year in Deuteronomy 31:10–13. This was important so that the 12 tribes knew what lands they could buy & what they could do. You had to be of a certain tribe to be a Priest or of a certain tribe to be in line for the throne. Everything was dependent upon genealogy.

The author of Books of Chronicles generally praises his reign, stating that the kingdom enjoyed a great measure of peace & prosperity, the blessing of God resting on the people "in their basket & their store." & of course the point the Chronicler is making is that this is because for the most part Jehoshaphat followed God’s will. This story sets the steps for doing that.

It's written that Jehoshaphat 's army had over a million soldiers, (17;14-19), BUT when he got the news of the invaders, his thoughts didn't turn to his army as the Source of the safety of his Kingdom. His thoughts first turned to God.

The story speaks to the human tendency to jump into action whenever a problem arises in our lives before going to God. The first action Jehoshaphat did was turn to God, get quiet & pray. Take inner action 1st & see what God directs you to do for outer action.

Sometimes, our divine guidance will be, 'do nothing', 'trust', 'be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46:10.)

This is an important spiritual lesson. 'If Jehoshaphat would have taken outer action & led his army into battle, when his guidance was to 'do nothing', he would have been fighting a battle that wasn’t his to fight. It was God’s & he had already won. That's the real lesson. We fight battles everyday that have already won. Jesus referred to this when he said, 'Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." He fought the battle of appearances & won. Life is lived from the inside out & not from the outside in. God is the Source of all & not someone or something out there.

Yet, our human mind tells us that we have to do more than just 'stand still believing.'

I'm talking about those times when we don't know what to do or don’t like the guidance & so we keep praying & praying & praying. In those times what happens is that our prayers really just become worry thoughts. We pray more & more & become more & more involved with the problem rather than keeping our minds focused on God with joyful, faithfilled singing, like Jehoshaphat & his people did. They maintained the right attitude at the right time & we must too.

Eric Butterworth says, "Worry is substitutionary fulfillment. Very often, when people feel that they can't do something, then they begin to worry." When this happens, our prayers become another form of worry, but then at least the person feels fulfilled; consciously or unconsciously thinking "if I can't get anything else done, at least I'm worrying about it. I’m not doing nothing. I’m doing something." It may sound crazy, but we have probably all done it.

We keep fighting battles that we've already won by 'over praying & over affirming when all we need to do is to 'stand still ' & to 'let go & let God' at that moment.

We keep fighting battles we’ve already won because we are conditioned…

1. to think that we haven’t done enough & have to do more. Many of us grew up with the idea that no matter how much we do or how well we do it, it's never good enough. Maybe that conditoning was done by a well intentioned parent, teacher or other authority figure. Our spiritual potential is 'always greater' than we are currently manifesting & on some level we know this but we need to break the habit of the old conditioning that we have to do something. Just do your best everyday. Take responsibility & do what you can do at that very moment & what God is guiding you to do & then it simply comes to a point when we have to let go & let God. We find the same teaching in the story of David & Goliath. David didn't have to use 5, 10 or a million stones to slay Goliath, 1 stone, 1 simple, right thought; 1 affirmation; the right attitude at the right time was enough. You have everything you need to succeed within you. You are more prepared than you think.

2. Another reason we fight battles we've already won is because many of us have been conditioned to think that we have to fight to get ahead in this world. You don't have to fight other people or life. It is not a dog-eat-dog world. God didn’t create an every man, woman & child for themself kind of world or an eye for an eye & a tooth for a tooth kind of a world even though that sometimes appears to be the case. The only fight taking place is between your Ego & Essence & your Essence is destined to win because it is who you truly are.

Both Jesus & Unity teach that God wants us to have the highest & the best in life & for that outcome, God is at work within each & every Soul. You don't bring your good to you by fighting & manipulating externals. You bring your good to you through you by establishing the consciousness for it. "Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind."

We think we have to fight something or someone 'out there' to bring our good to us or to clear the way to our good because we think the Source of good is 'out there.' We all grew up with that as a natural part of our human conditioning. When we come to the realization that everything good begins within us, begins in our own consciousness we actually have the spiritual footing to finally start to get someplace & begin to grow our consciousness.

According to the Bible when we follow divine guidance, we are blessed & when we don't we're going to have problems in life because we are trying to do it alone. Trying to do it with just our limited human power & so 1 of the problems we will continue to encounter is that we will continue to fight battles that have already been won. This is because we are trying to fight them on the wrong level. You can’t solve a problem on the same level of mind that created it.

So, how can do we stop jumping into situations & fighting these battles that we've already won?

1. Know that all the inner & outer work you're doing is paying off & will continue to pay off. Whatever you're facing, you are better prepared than you think you are.

2. See every experience, all of life, whether you call it positive or negative, as preparation for something better to come. Now, most of the time, we have no conscious idea of what that something better is until we get to the place where we experience it. Have you ever experienced that in your life? Time & time again, this happens in life because life is a process. It is unfolding from the within to the without. This means that each experience is a foundation that prepares us for the next experience & greater experience.

If you take some time to look back over your life experiences you'll find that you were preparing for something way back there for something good that you didn't know was going to come about in your life.

For example: Moses, who represents our intellect on its path to illumination, went through all kinds of experineces not knowing he was preparing for his life’s work, which didn’t really begin until he reached age 80. It was then that he had the experience with the burning bush & God called him to do his life's work.

Life is a journey, a process & every experience, whether we call it positive or negative, as a necessary part of our preparation for something better to come. Everything that happens, happens for a good or Godly reason. As Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

3. Know that you don't have to do it alone. You are a co-creator with God. You do your part in the creative process, then let go and let God bring your efforts to completion. Dr. Ernest Wilson used to say that the way he handled problems in life was to take a moment, get quiet & say, "Well, I wonder what God's going to do about this one." I often say, “I wonder what God is trying to do here?” & I try to keep my Ego out of the way & not be addicted to a specific outcome. It’s all God so it’s all Good even when on the human level I don’t understand it.

4. That brings us to the 4th idea I want to share with you. Know that there is really no battle to be fought. In Spirit, it’s all already been worked out. Our task is to bring our human self into alighment with our spiritual self. Eric Butterworth says, "God has alreay done it for you. God has individualized himself in you, as the Christ in you & in that real self of you there's no battle to be fought, for there is no imperfection. There is only Truth and love and all those beautiful things that comprise the real self of us.” So, Jehoshaphat didn't jump. He turned to God & stood still, let go & let God knowing his victory was already established in Spirit.

In our own true spiritual self, we are whole, perfect, splendid & free from lack or limitation of any kind. So let’s close by practicing that idea. Center in your true spiritual self & affirm: “I am whole, perfect, splendid & free from lack or limitation of any kind.”

Have a Blessed Father’s Day. Amen.

 

 



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