This Week's Gospel Sermons
March 6 - 11, 2011 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.
Speaker: Jerry Curry
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May 8, 2011
Jehoshaphat was King of Judah, the son of Asa, who succeeded to the throne 914 BC, when he was 35 years old. He reigned 25 years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi, of whom nothing further is known. His history is to be found among the events recorded in 1Kings 15:24; 2Kings 8:16 or in a continuous narrative in 2Chronicles 17:1-21:3.
After fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2Chronicles 17:1,2), he set himself to cleanse the land of idolatry (1Kings 22:43). In the third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites over the land to instruct the people in the law (2Chronicles 17:7-9). He enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of God resting on the people “in their basket and their store.”
Strength and Prosperity
Godliness and security at home were followed by respect and peace abroad. The fact that the Philistines and the Arabians brought tribute (2Chronicles 17:11), and that Edom had no king (1Kings 22:47), but a deputy instead, who possibly was appointed by Jehoshaphat, would indicate that he held the suzerainty over the nations and tribes bordering Judah on the south and west. Holding the suzerainty over the weaker nations, and being allied with the stronger, Jehoshaphat secured the peace for the greater part of his reign (1Chronicles 17:10) that fostered the internal development of the kingdom.
An Alliance with Ahab
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel, which involved him in much disgrace, and brought disaster on his kingdom (1Kings 22:1-33). In contrast to the former kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat saw greater benefit in an alliance with Israel than in civil war. Accordingly, the old feud between the two kingdoms (1Kings 14:30, 15:6) was dropped, and Jehoshaphat made peace with Israel (1Kings 22:44). The political union was cemented by the marriage of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the prophet Jehu (2Chronicles 19:1-3) reproached him for the course he had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with energy on his former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening interest in the worship of God and in the righteous government of the people (2Chronicles 19:4-11). However, the final outcome of the alliance with the house of Omri was disastrous for Judah. The introduction into Judah of Baalism more than counterbalanced any political and material advantage gained, and in the succeeding reigns it indirectly led to the almost total extinction of the royal family of Judah (2Kings 11:1).
An Alliance with Ahaziah
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped at Ezion-geber was speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the co-operation of the king of Israel, and although it was successful, the trade was not prosecuted (2Chronicles 20:35-37; 1Kings 22:48-49).
An Alliance with Jehoram
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. This war was successful. The Moabites were subdued; but the dreadful act of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls of Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him with horror, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2Kings 3:4-27).
The Defeat of the Moabite Alliance
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in 2Chronicles 20. The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy with the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The allied forces were encamped at Engedi. The king and his people were filled with alarm, and betook themselves to God in prayer. The king prayed in the court of the temple, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us.” Amid the silence that followed, the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that on the morrow all this great host would be overthrown. So it was, for the enemy quarreled among themselves, and killed one another, leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of their enemy. This was recognized as a great deliverance given to them by God (890 BC).
Soon after this Jehoshaphat died, after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years of age, and was succeeded by his son Jehoram (1Kings 22:50). Josephus says (Ant., IX, iii, 2) that he was buried in a magnificent manner, for he had imitated the actions of David. He had this testimony, that “he sought the Lord with all his heart” (2Chronicles 22:9). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than under his reign.
Lessons for Me
Righteousness begins with education in the Word of God.Probably the most notable thing about Jehoshaphat, was his understanding that not only he, but the entire nation should serve Jehovah. To this end, he established a rigorous campaign of education in God’s ways among all the people. Likewise, we ought understand the importance of learning God’s ways and strive to couple that with teaching God’s ways to others.
Even those with a “right heart” have weaknesses and sometimes use poor judgement. Jehoshaphat’s heart was right in that he sought Jehovah. However, in his efforts to strengthen his kingdom, he used poor judgement in the making of alliances. In serving God, it is never wise to align oneself with things of the world. Compromising a bit with the world may not look so bad to us at the time, but can only lead to heartaches, not only in our own life and the lives of those around us, but also in the lives of our children and those that follow after.
Repentance is pleasing to God. Each time Jehoshaphat’s errors were brought to his attention, he tried to rectify the situation by looking to God. He realized that God was the only true source of strength and righteousness. If our hearts truly are right, we too will turn to God when our errors are realized. God understands our weaknesses, but if we turn to Him in submission, He will provide strength and guidance. He is faithful to forgive (1John 1:9).
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.