Israel had some great kings. David, Solomon, and Hezekiah come to mind. However, a lesser known, is Jehoshaphat.
The Bible states “And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;4 But sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honor in abundance.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-5)
What did he do?
“And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.7 Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.8 And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.9 And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.” (2 Chronicles 17:6-9) The Bible records few Kings that remove the high places and groves. These were places of idol worship. Even fewer record the teaching of the Law to the people.
How to prepare for war.
So, when a great multitude of Moab and Ammon came against Jehoshaphat, he knew exactly what to do. He went to the Lord in prayer. “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,6 And said,…” (2 Chronicles 20:3-6a) His prayer acknowledged who God is, His protection of Israel, and requests God’s help.
God fights for Israel.
“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
“And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.” (2 Chronicles 20:22-24)
God fought the battle for Israel. Why? Because of a wise leader who followed God. From the time Jehoshaphat took the throne to now, His heart was set on serving the Lord God. He never wavered.
This is the picture of the Christian life. A life completely centered around God. Do we pray, seek God, teach others about the God of the Bible, worship in song?
Jehoshaphat’s example should be ours. Is it?
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001