What can we learn from the life of Jehoshaphat?
2 Kings 12:18
ESV - 18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred gifts that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent these to Hazael king of Syria. Then Hazael went away from Jerusalem.
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God was with Jehoshaphat. Men always prosper when God is with them, and God is always with them if they will walk in the first ways of David. (2Chr. 17:3). It was an unusual expression referring to the ways of David in the early part of his life and reign, before he sinned with Bathsheba, had Uriah killed, and tried to number the people (2Sam. 11-12 and 2Sam. 24). Jehoshaphat was the second good king of Judah after the division of the kingdom (2Chr. 17:3-13). Twenty-two Things Jehoshaphat Did Right 1. He walked in the first ways of David. 2. Didn't seek Baal (2Chr. 17:3). 3. Sought the Lord (2Chr. 17:4). 4. Walked in the commandments. 5. Walked not in the doings of Israel (referring to the ten tribes). 6. Lifted his heart up in the ways of God (2Chr. 17:6). 7. Took away the high places in Judah. 8. Took away the asherahs in Judah (2Chr. 17:6; 19:3) Asherah (H842) was worshiped as the wife of Baal in Canaanite mythology (False god) 9. Sent teaching princes, Levites and priests, to all the cities of Judah (2Chr. 17:7-9). 10. Inquired of God (2Chr. 18:4,6). 11. Prepared his heart to seek God (2Chr. 19:3). 12. Brought Israel back to God (2Chr. 19:4). 13. Set judges in all cities (2Chr. 19:5). 14. Charged the judges to judge righteous judgment (2Chr. 19:6-7). 15. Gave the priests and Levites their proper place (2Chr. 19:8). 16. Charged them to fear God and be faithful in all judgment (2Chr. 19:9-11). 17. Proclaimed a fast and prayed when his people were in danger (2Chr. 20:3-17). 18. Exhorted his army to have faith and sing and praise God in battle (2Chr. 20:18-28). 19. Walked in the good way of Asa his father, and departed not from it (2Chr. 20:32). 20. Did that which was right in the sight of the Lord (2Chr. 20:32). 21. Made peace with Israel (1Ki. 22:44). 22. Removed the sodomites out of the land (1Ki. 22:46).
Janice, you asked a very interesting question! What impresses me most about Jehoshaphat is that he prayed fervently. "He trusted God for victory in a crisis (2 Chronicles 20)" --Lockyer GW (God's Word translation) records his prayer. "You’re our God. Won’t you judge them? We don’t have the strength to face this large crowd that is attacking us. We don’t know what to do, so we’re looking to you.” When we face what we think are insurmountable problems, we should learn from the life of Jehoshaphat and pray, "We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you.” Since God is so powerful (all-powerful), so different from us who are finite and limited, we should too pray like he did, "We don’t know what to do. But we’re looking to you to help us.” Nothing is impossible for God!
Jehoshaphat was a king of Judah, the southern division of Israel. The nineteen kings of Judah were graded by God. Eleven did evil, and eight did what was right in the sight of God. Of the eight good kings, only four, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah walked in the ways of David, the highest standard. David was a man after God’s own heart, I Samuel 13:14. He had faith in God and a passion for God as reflected in the Psalms. He also had a tender heart, ready to confess his sins. So, Jehoshaphat delighted in the ways of the Lord and walked in the ways of David. II Chronicles 17:3, 4, 6. One characteristic of some of the good kings is that they were tested in some area of their reign. Jehoshaphat was tested in the area of alliances, in fact, five tests. FIRST TEST: Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab, the wicked king of Israel to the north, through marriage. It was perhaps a good political move to prevent war, but it caused headaches later in the family. Jehoshaphat agreed to join Ahab to take Ramoth Gilead, but the alliance revealed differences – Ahab had his prophets of Baal, but Jehoshaphat had the prophet of God. When the battle began, Jehoshaphat in his royal apparel was immediately surrounded by the Syrians, called out and “the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him” II Chronicles 18:31. Ahab in disguise was severely wounded by a random arrow and died at sunset. Although Jehoshaphat escaped harm, he was chastised by the prophet Jehu, II Chronicles 19:1, 2. Despite failing the first test, he escaped God’s wrath, II Chronicles 19:3. SECOND TEST: When a huge army of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir attacked, II Chronicles 20:1 Jehoshaphat “set himself to seek the Lord,” II Chronicles 20:3, making God his ally and defender. As a result, all the nation had to do was “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” just as Israel did at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh and his army pursued them, Exodus 14:13. THIRD TEST: Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, to make ships to go to Tarshish. Eliezer prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works.” As a result, the ships were wrecked, so the expedition never took place, II Chronicles 20:35-37. FOURTH TEST: Ahaziah requested that his servants go with Jehoshaphat’s servants in the ships, but Jehoshaphat wisely refused partnering with a wicked king, I Kings 22:49. FIFTH TEST: When Jehoram, brother and successor of Ahaziah, another wicked son of Ahab, asked for Jehoshaphat’s help in fighting against Moab, he agreed. Elisha the prophet of the Lord stated that God would defeat Moab for Jehoshaphat’s sake, II Kings 3:6-18. In three out of five tests Jehoshaphat failed to learn to not be unequally yoked, Deuteronomy 22:10. Paul later warned about it, II Corinthians 6:14. Jehoshaphat’s career teaches us to watch our alliances with others.
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