TODAY’S READING: II CHRONICLES 17-21
OVERVIEW: Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa; Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab, king of Israel; the death of Ahab; Jehoshaphat’s rebuke by Jehu the seer (prophet); Jehoshaphat’s national reform; Jehoshaphat’s victory over the children of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir; the death of Jehoshaphat; the reign of Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram; Jehoram’s bitter death.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
What a breath of fresh air Jehoshaphat is! As we will see, he’s not perfect (oh, surprise, surprise!), but despite some stupid alliances he made with the wrong people, he was a good man and a good king. Verse 3 of chapter 17 says, “And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David.” It’s interesting to note that David is constantly used as the standard by which the kings were measured. If they followed David’s example, they were blessed. If they didn’t, their lives and their kingdoms ran amuck. David had his share of problems, but God was pretty “taken” with this heart! Don’t ever forget, “The heart of the matter, is the matter of the heart!” So, “keep (guard) your heart”! (Prov. 4:23)
Verses 4-7 of chapter 17 give at least five reasons the Lord was “WITH”(17:3) Jehoshaphat:
1)He sought the Lord (17:4a). (Don’t forget that that’s the goal of
the 365 Days of Pursuit (Deut. 4:29)!)
2)He walked in the commandments of the Lord (17:4b).
3)His HEART(!) was lifted up in the ways of the Lord (17:6a). (As
opposed to his heart being lifted up, like Lucifer, toward himself!)
4)He removed all of the sick ways people were worshipping Baal and
Ashteroth (17:6b), along with removing all of the homosexuals
(I Kings 22:46).
5)Recognizing that the key to spiritual renewal and revival in the
lives of the people was the power of the Word of God in their
lives, he establishes a nation wide “Bible study program,” being
taught by princes, Levites, and priests. Who knows, maybe they
even called it “365 Days of Pursuit”!
Because of these incredible reforms in the kingdom, “the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war with against Jehoshaphat” (17:10). As Proverbs 16:7 says, “even his enemies [were] at peace with him.”
Having your enemies at peace with you is a good thing. Making alliances with them because of it is not! In chapter 18, verse 1, it says that Jehoshaphat “joined affinity with Ahab.” Ahab was the wicked, Baal-worshipping king of Israel. This “affinity” with Ahab causes Jehoshaphat to join him in a battle to help him regain the city of Ramothgilead, which was very displeasing to the Lord, and almost cost him his life! Ultimately, this “affinity” will even lead to the marriage of Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s (and Jezebel’s!!!) daughter (21:1, 6).
Because of Jehoshaphat’s unholy alliance with Ahab, God sent the prophet Jehu to rebuke him, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (19:2). Jehoshaphat responded well to the Lord’s rebuke through Jehu, and moved immediately to restore justice (19:5-7), and priestly order in Jerusalem (19:8-11). Do note, however, that even though Jehoshaphat responded correctly and was forgiven, there were still consequences to his sin. The marriage of his son to Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter will open the door to Baal worship in Judah, and will result in the murder of every single one of Jehoshaphat’s sons and grandsons except for one-year-old Joash, who was hidden by Jehoida the high priest(22:10-12). If it hadn’t been said 100 times already in the 365 Days of Pursuit (slight exaggeration), this might be a place to say once again, “There is always a pricetag for sin.” Since it has been said so often, I’ll re!
frain from saying it here! :>
Chapter 20 is one of the most practical and significant chapters we have come to thus far in our reading. There is more to talk about here than we have space in simply trying to “highlight” things in each chapter. Read it slowly and carefully, noting a few key phrases along the way as God describes this very strange battle that takes place in this chapter. As the combined forces of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir plan to converge upon Jehoshaphat and the armies of Judah note:
1) “The battle is not yours, but God’s” (20:15)
2) “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle” (20:17a)
3) “Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the
LORD with you” (20:17b)
4) “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established”(20:20).
5) “When they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments
against… Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir” (20:22).
6) “The LORD… made them to rejoice over their enemies” (20:27).
7) “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries,
when they had heard that the LORD fought against [their]
The reason these statements are so significant is that they coincide so perfectly with the New Testament teaching concerning spiritual warfare! The battle we face is not ours, but God’s! Therefore, we must “be strong in the Lord and the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10). The battle plan in this battle is not for us to “fight,” but to “STAND” in the victory Christ has already won on our behalf! (Note in Eph. 6:11-14 the repetition of the word “STAND”!) Our battle, (as the battle in II Chronicles 20(verse 20) is a battle whereby the Lord causes us to rejoice over our enemies (verse 27) by faith (Eph. 6:16), as we stand against the enemy singing the praises of our God (Eph. 5:19).
After Jehoshaphat’s death (20:35-21:1), his son Jehoram takes the throne. In his first public act, he kills all of his brothers, and everyone else he thought might have the potential for usurping his authority (21:4). God judges him in many ways in chapter 21, not the least of which was afflicting him with an excruciating disease where ultimately his intestines exploded out of his body (21:18-19). Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through MICAIAH, who spoke the words that God told him to speak – I Chron. 18:13 (John 8:26-28; 3:34; 8:40).