2 Chronicles 18-23 continues the revolving door of kings and leaders in both Israel and Judah. As we found out last week with Asa, Judah primarily had good and faithful kings – yet towards the end of their lives, they revealed their human depravity and left the LORD. However, we find that God is always faithful. He continues to keep His covenant what he made with David. Judah is the benefactor of that covenant; for at times Judah was no better and no worse than Israel who had been led astray into Baalism by Jeroboam. Sometimes I think through the lives of these Old Testament kings and leaders and reflect on their testimony. History and the Bible have captured the good, the bad and the ugly of their lives. It would be easy for us to throw stones and insults their way saying that “we would never have done such evil.” Hum, I think we boast too pridefully about our own thoughts of ourselves. The bible tells us that none seek after God, no not one [Romans 3:10-18]
Jehoshaphat comes on the historical scene for Judah – 2 Chron. 17, the LORD was with him, for he followed after the Lord like David did; and did not follow after Baals like Israel did. Whew! Finally we have someone in leadership that has gotten it right. Great testimony of how God blessed King Jehoshaphat and how God established his kingdom. God blesses faithfulness; but he also abhors disobedience and idolatry. God is both merciful and gracious; but He also is just. We read how God established Jehoshaphat’s kingdom and bestowed on his riches and honor.
We also read how Jehoshaphat led a “discipleship” thrust where the priests and Levites went around teaching the ways of the Lord. He tore down the idols and established the Law as the Law of the Land. We find that the neighboring lands were in dread -fear because it was obvious that the Lord God Jehovah was with Judah and to fight against them would be to fight against God. How many times have we read about how the enemies of Israel and Judah were in fear because of what they witnessed God doing in His people. Victory after victory was given by God over the enemies such as Assyria, Egypt and Philistines. The dread of the nations was so real that God gave peace to Judah, and the nations did not fight against God’s people. Awesome and great is this story. BUT . . .
2 Chronicles 18:1 -“Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he allied himself by marriage with Ahab.” What in the world is wrong with Him? Why in the world after tasting of the riches of God would he turn and inter-marry with the devil himself? Ahab was king of Israel; we know him better as the wimpy husband of Jezebel, who caused Israel to sin greatly against God and sought to kill Yahweh’s prophets [Elijah] There was no need for Jehoshaphat to enter into any marriage alliance with Ahab. As we read through the rest of Jehoshaphat’s story, noting good came from his reign.
Ahab paid great honor and reverence to Jehoshaphat, but what is that to the honor and riches that God had already showered? I find in most concerting that we believers are to soon to forget the blessings of God and pursue the praise of the world. Scripture tells us Not to love the world, nor the things in the world – 1 John 2:15-17. This would be a sad story if it ended here.
God has his spokesman in Jehu, just like he did with Nathan and David. It is good to read the whole story and find that Jehoshaphat returned to God and led the people back to God. I am sure that every single one of us have had periods of “prodigalness” in us. The great story of when the prodigal son came to his senses, he knew where to go. Oh, that we too would come to our senses as a people and a nation to return to God of our salvation and have a great revival of serving the LORD!