jehoshaphat

2 Chronicles 19–20, Revelation 8, Zechariah 4, John 7

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 19–20, Revelation 8, Zechariah 4, John 7 Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 2 Chronicles 19-20.

We read yesterday about the foolish alliance that the godly king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, made with the ungodly king of Israel, Ahab. God saved Jehoshaphat even though he went into battle dressed like a target (see 18:29-31) and he caused Ahab to be killed even though he was trying to avoid detection (18:33-34). Here in chapter 19, a prophet named Jehu rebuked Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab (vv. 1-2). Although “the wrath of the Lord” was on Jehoshaphat (v. 2b) he was still man who set his “heart on seeking God” (v. 3b). What were the evidences of that his heart was set on seeking God?

First, he turned others to seeking God. Chapter 19 verse 4 told us that he reached out to the people “from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim.” This is a large area around Jerusalem, where Jehoshaphat lived. Beersheba was far to the south of Jerusalem, encompassing all of Judah and Simeon as well as a number of Israel’s enemies. “The hill country of Ephraim” was the area due north of Jerusalem, including the tribes of Benjamin and Dan. These are areas that belonged to the Northern Kingdom of Israel but Jehoshaphat travelled around these places “and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors” (19:4b).

Second, he delegated justice to others but charged them to judge in the fear of God (19:5-11). One man cannot do all that needs to be done, but a godly leader both delegates the work and urges those responsible to do the work in a way that pleases God because they fear God.

Third, he trusted God to keep His covenant (20:6-7) and defend His people (20:1-13), looking to God in prayer for these promises. Because of his faith God answered his prayers and miraculously delivered Judah from their attackers (20:14-26).

Fourth, he gave thanks and praise to God in worship when God delivered Judah from her enemies (20:27-28).

Jehoshaphat did some really stupid things (see 18:29-32 again. Sheesh). His obedience was imperfect (20:33) and failed to learn his lesson at times (20:35-36). God even disciplined him for some of these things (20:37). But because his heart was set on seeking God (19:3), God was merciful to him when he disciplined him and God blessed the areas where he was wise and faithful to the Lord.

Isn’t that encouraging? Even though he messed up a lot, his efforts to do right were blessed and praised by God because they came from a sincere heart of obedience. I hope this gives you some comfort and encouragement to keep seeking the Lord and striving to do what’s right. I hope it helps you not to be discouraged when the Lord’s discipline comes into your life but to keep seeking him for as long as you live.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

1 Kings 22, 1 Thessalonians 5, Daniel 4, Ps 108–109

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Kings 22, 1 Thessalonians 5, Daniel 4, Ps 108–109. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read 1 Kings 22.

Jehoshaphat king of Judah was such an interesting man. He is one of the 8 kings of Judah who is described as doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. In his obedience to the Lord he was following his father Asa (v. 43). But, though he was credited with being a good king, he made some very curious decisions.

We read about one of those decisions today in 1 Kings 22. Unlike other kings of Israel and Judah who were at odds with each other, Jehoshaphat and Ahab of Israel got along well (see v. 44). In today’s passage we read today they were getting along so well that Jehoshaphat joined Ahab in Ahab’s war against Aram (vv. 1-4). Like a godly king, however, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord’s guidance about this decision (v. 5). Against his better judgment (v. 8), Ahab sent for Micaiah the prophet (v.9). Micaiah, contrary to the popular mood of Ahab’s false prophets (vv. 10-12, 24-25), contrary to what he was asked to do by Ahab’s messenger (vv. 13-17), and at great personal cost to himself (vv. 24-28), Micaiah faithfully relayed the Lord’s word that Israel’s false prophets were lying to Ahab and Jehoshaphat (vv. 19-23) and that Israel and Judah would suffer a costly defeat to the Arameans (vv. 17, 23, 28). 

Although Jehoshaphat sought counsel from the Lord, he did not listen to the warning he received. Then, he foolishly went into battle dressed like a king while Ahab went incognito (vv. 29-33). God protected Jehoshaphat from being killed himself (vv. vv. 31-33) but Ahab was killed in battle just as Micaiah had prophesied and presumably Israel and Judah lost many men in battle. 

Why did Jehoshaphat ask for the Lord’s will then do what he wanted to do despite the Lord’s will? Was it peer pressure or the desire to maintain a good relationship with Ahab? We don’t know; however, each of us understands what it is like to be Jehoshaphat. We know what it is like to want to do something foolish or even wrong, be warned by God’s word that there will be negative consequences, sin anyway, then experience exactly what the Lord said would happen. In our foolish hearts, we think that we are exceptional—that we won’t get caught or the risks are minimal and controllable or that God will just be merciful to us. But God is just and one of his fundamental laws of creation is that you will reap what you sow. If you sow disobedience, you will reap death. What decision are you mulling today or already actively moving toward? Is this outside God’s moral will—his commands that are set forth in his word? Is your decision risky from a moral or wisdom point of view? Learn the lesson of Jehoshaphat; don’t ask for God’s will hoping that he’ll bless what you want to do; instead, choose to do what God wants you to do. It’s the only wise, safe decision to make if your trust is in him. 

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.