Jehoshaphat, a Person Like Us – 2 Chronicles 17

In the fourth year of the Northern Kingdom reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, Asa, king of the Southern Kingdom, died after having led Judah for 41 years.  Though he wavered a bit towards the end of his life, most of Asa’s years were spent in faithful service to God, and overall he was a great inspiration and model for his people.  Asa took his place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in the line of King David, and passed the regal scepter on to his son, Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat was a good person.  Perhaps not a super-saint or anything approaching that, but he had faith, and strived to do the right things.  He sought to follow God and His ways.  Many of us, even those of us who wandered away from God for a season, but were drawn back by His grace and mercy, now seek to follow the Lord to the best of our abilities, as Jehoshaphat did.

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew Chapter 1 includes this king.

Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah.  Matthew 1:8 (NKJV)

Jehoshaphat was a very good king for Judah.  He preserved the sanctity of Solomon’s temple as the center of holy worship, prayer, and sacrifice, and the Lord was with him.

Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. 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 or other idols, Jehoshaphat’s heart stayed true to God.  As a result, the Lord blessed Jehoshaphat, and showered him with blessings and favor in all that he did.

The idolatry that had deceived much of Israel and lured them away from God was essentially about self-centeredness, greed, and immorality.  Baal was supposedly in control of the weather for farmers’ prosperity and Asherah was the god over revelry and pleasure.  In fact, to this day, idolatry is still centered around these same temptations – weak points in the character of humanity.   The apostle Paul summarized these and the other temptations 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 people sin and many have worshiped their own forms of “false gods” 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 in our lives. When we seek His help to turn away from the idols that lead us away from Him, He will hear us. With Christ’s help, we begin to break free from any harmful addictions, habits, or actions that bring heartache to our lives and to those around us.  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 the source of complete renewal and rebirth, systematically tearing down any 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 greatly benefited from his choice, enjoying widespread healing and restoration from the Lord.

Like us, Jehoshaphat was not perfect.  No person is.  But he sought to do the right thing.  It was a daily journey like the one we have, filled with happiness and joy as well as loss, deep pain, and sorrow.  But God is with us through it all. He has 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? May the Lord bless you in this.

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.  Through the power gifted to us by your death and resurrection, I ask for your presence, comfort, deliverance, and healing today.  Thank you for loving me and caring for my welfare, serenity, and peace.  We ask this together in Jesus name, Amen.

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