Jehosaphat had started out well,
but let bad decisions turn him aside.
He now had to decide what to do about it.
A secular song had the words, "I did it my way." The song promoted the idea that we should take pride in doing things our own way. As we read God's Word we see, over and over, that when people do things their own way - it is dangerous! We need to take warning from the Bible that we, as His people must do things His way.
What can we learn from the life of King Jehosaphat? Let's look at his life.
2 Chronicles 16-20 relates the life of this King of Judah. In the beginning of his reign, "...the Lord was with Jehosaphat, 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" (2 Chron. 17:3-4).
"His heart took delight in the ways of the Lord..." (2 Chron. 17:6a)
In the third year of his reign he sent out 16 leaders (5 leaders, 9 Levites and 2 priests) to teach throughout the land of Judah. They had the Book of the Law with them and taught the people (2 Chron. 17:7-9).
What was the result? "The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the land, that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehosaphat."
The Philistines and Arabians brought tribute (2 Chron. 17:11-12)
Even our enemies will recognize God at work if we follow God and honour His Word! (2 Chron. 17:10)
We read about some of Jehoshaphat's bad decisions following his prosperity.
He married pagan King Ahab's daughter. He had "riches and honor in abundance, and by marriage he allied himself with Ahab" (2 Chron. 18:1).
He made alliances with pagan countries. When we read about King Ahab and Queen Jezebel we see how their evil influence affected so many people. And, for Jehosaphat to align himself with this pagan king was incredible. Did the "riches and honor" he was receiving affect his judgment?
King Ahab invited King Jehosaphat to visit him in Samaria, and while there persuaded him to join armies to fight against the people of Ramoth Gilead. Jehosaphat was treading on dangerous ground. He must have realized that when he asked Ahab "Please inquire for the word of the Lord today" (Read 2 Chron. 18:4-34).
Jehosaphat had this warning from God's prophet Micaiah, yet he did not listen.
When Jehosaphat returned safely to his house in Jerusalem, the prophet Jehu came to him and said, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you. Nevertheless, good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God."
Jehosaphat had started out well, but let bad decisions turn him aside. He now had to decide what to do about it. As we read on in the chapter we see that he came back to God and set out to put things right in his country again. He "brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers" (2 Chron. 19:4). He set judges in the land and told them not to judge for man but for the Lord. He told them to "act in the fear of the Lord, faithfully and with a loyal heart." (2 Chron. 19:9) and "Behave courageously, and the Lord will be with the good." (2 Chron. 19:11)
The armies of Moab and Ammon and other countries with them, came to battle against Jehosaphat. A messenger came and told them that a multitude was coming and were - in fact within their borders in En Gedi.
What did Jehosaphat do? Like any of us would react - "He feared" (2 Chron. 20:3).
But, then he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah."
The result? So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord."
We can read Jehosaphat's prayer, which ends with these words: "We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chron. 20:6-12).
God sent Jahaziel to the King to assure him of the Lord's help. "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehosaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.'" and then he said: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you" (2 Chron. 20:15).
The King and the people were singing and praising - before they won the victory!
Then, we read how the enemies turned on each other and destroyed each other and King Jehosaphat and his army did not have to touch them! The result? "The fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel" (2 Chron. 20:29).
"Then the realm of Jehosaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around" (2 Chron. 20:30).
After all the experiences that Jehosaphat had, you would think that he would have learned to ask God for His directions. It seems that whenever life became peaceful and prosperous, he kept going back to working things out himself! When the wicked king of Israel asked Jehosaphat to join with him in building a fleet of ships, he agreed! The Prophet Eliezer warned him about this alliance, and the fleet of ships he built in alliance with the King of Israel of were wrecked before they could reach their destination.
"Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works." Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish" (2 Chron. 20:37b).
Are you, am I "doing things my way" or doing things God's way?
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.
Holiness, godliness, righteousness, and Christ-likeness in personal and church life