In the fourth year of the Northern Kingdom reign of Ahab and Jezebel, King Asa died after leading the Southern Kingdom of Judah for 41 years. Though he wavered a bit at the end, for most of his years he was faithful to God and an inspiration to his people. He took his place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the line of King David and Solomon, and he passed the scepter on to his son, Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was a good person. Perhaps not a super-saint or anything like that, but he strived to do the right things. He chose to follow God and His ways. Many of us have wandered away from God for a season, but now, thanks to His grace that draws us, we, like Jehoshaphat, seek to follow the Lord to the best of our abilities.
The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 1 includes this man:
8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Matthew 1:8 NKJV
Jehoshaphat was a good king for Judah. He preserved the sanctity of Solomon’s temple as a center of holy worship, prayer, and sacrifice to the Lord, and God was with him.
3 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, 4 but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. 6 And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 NKJV
In a land that had largely abandoned the Lord for the Baals and other idols, Jehoshaphat’s heart stayed true to God. As a result, the Lord blessed Jehoshaphat, showering him with favor and success in all that he did.
The idolatry that had deceived much of Israel and lured them away from the Lord was essentially about money and immorality. Baal was supposedly in control of the weather for farmers’ prosperity and Asherah was the god over revelry and pleasure. In fact, idolatry still is about these same temptations – weak points of humanity. The apostle Paul summarized these and the other weak points we face in the book of Galatians:
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
All men and women sin and many have worshiped their own forms of “false gods”, idols that come between us and God. But the Lord is calling us to turn away from the “Baals” in our lives, and to remember our Creator who loves us. God is our true provider, and the source of all freedom, contentment, and satisfaction. When we seek His help to turn away from the idols that lead us away from Him, He hears us. With Christ’s help, we begin to break free from the harmful addictions, habits and actions that bring heartache to our lives. We receive complete forgiveness for all of our sins and learn to also forgive ourselves and others. Day by day, we tap into His power and grace as part of a complete renewal and rebirth, tearing down the “false altars” of darkness that plague us.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
King Jehoshaphat understood this and sought to follow after it. His heart took delight in the ways of the Lord. He had seen his father, King Asa, spend time in both worlds, light and darkness, and chose the better one. And the land benefited from his choice with healing and restoration from the Lord.
Like us, Jehoshaphat was not perfect. No man or woman is. But he sought to do the right thing. It is a daily journey we live, filled with happiness and joy as well as loss, deep pain, and sorrow. But God is with us through both. He promised to never leave us nor forsake us and has always made good with that promise.
What is the biggest personal challenge or pain facing you today?
Lord, you know the burdens on my heart today. I seek your grace and help to lay this burden at the foot of the cross. By the power of your death and resurrection, I ask for your comfort, deliverance and healing today. Thank you for loving me and caring for my welfare, serenity and peace. In Jesus name, Amen.