Archive for the ‘2 Chronicles 18’ Category

Today we begin looking at the story of Jehoshaphat. We will see what we can learn from this. Lets begin by getting oriented. Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of the southern kingdom of Judah, the son of Asa, of the line of David. He ruled for 25 years. His story is told in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 17-20. We will focus on 2 Chronicles 18.

The Story Begins

 . . . and it begins well in chapter 17. We will look at this briefly to set the stage. First we see a picture of . . .

1) Jehoshaphat the faithful. He walked in God’s ways – “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. . . . (He) sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments. . . His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord” – 2 Chronicles 17:3-6.

Not only was he faithful – he was a reformer. He led the people to be faithful as well (like his father Asa).

  • v. 6 – he took away the high places and Asherim
  • vs. 7-9 – he began a program that taught the people the Law of God

Next we see portrayed . . .

2) Jehoshaphat the blessed.

  • 17:5 – He had great wealth
  • 17:10-11 – The nations feared him – so there was no war, but rather they gave him tribute
  • 17:12-19 – He had a large army

These are all tokens of God’s blessing in this context. This brings us to our focus today:

Jehoshaphat’s Unrighteous Alliance

King Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel was a very wicked man, who opposed Yahweh. He certainly did not walk in God’s ways. You will remember him from the stories of Elijah. His wife was Jezebel, the infamous queen. There was nothing righteous about Ahab.

Yet in chapter 18, we find that Jehoshaphat enters into a partnership with him.

  1. “He made a marriage alliance with Ahab” – 18:1. That is, he gave his son in marriage to Ahab’s daughter.
  2. “After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria” – 18:2. He left Jerusalem, his proper responsibilities as God’s regent and went to be with Ahab. They had a great party with lots of food.
  3. Ahab “induced” or enticed him to form a league with him to retake a disputed city in northern Israel – Ramoth-gilead. This is the same word that I Chronicles 21:1 says about Satan enticing David to sin by means of the census.

The result of all this is that Jehoshaphat proclaims – “I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war” – 2 Chronicles 18:3.

But first, Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the Lord – 18:4. Perhaps some hesitation on his part? And then we have one of the most interesting stories in the Bible, which we can’t get into in detail, but with regard to our focus – 

  • 400 prophets predict that they should go out to war for they will be successful. But Jehoshaphat want to know if there is another prophet. So Ahab brings out . . .
  • Micaiah who always prophesies bad things about Ahab. And, sure enough, he predicts that Ahab will be killed and that this is God’s purpose.

Despite his misgivings(?) Jehoshaphat goes forward with the plan. After all it was 400 to 1!

Ahab proceeds to imprison Micaiah. But just in case, he disguises himself and also encourages Jehoshaphat to wear his royal attire, thus making him the target of the enemy.

And sure enough, the enemy all came after Jehoshaphat thinking he was Ahab and he barely escaped death. God intervened to help him. Though disguised, Ahab is killed and Israel is defeated. And finally, Jehoshaphat slinks back to Jerusalem, humiliated by his bad decision.

Jehu’s Rebuke

Once back, the Lord rebukes him through his prophet Jehu, whose father, by the way, had rebuked Jehoshaphat’s father – King Asa. Jehu says, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” – 19:2. In other words, he should not have made a partnership with an evil king, who was God’s enemy. It forced him to comprise his faithfulness to God – being away from his job of leading Judah, helping the wicked; participating in the persecution of a true prophet – Micaiah.

He received mercy: Jehu says, “Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God” – 19:3. He was rescued on the battlefield and was allowed to continue as king.

But he also received a word of judgment: Jehu says, “Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord” – 19:2. Sin never pays! The woman he married his son to – King Ahab’s daughter – later, after Jehoshaphat died, killed off the line of David. Only by divine intervention was one saved – 2 Chronicles 22:10-12. All of Jehoshaphat’s male children and grandchildren were killed – save one.

This reminds us, sadly, that we reap what we sow. But, not only that, so many times our sin ends up wounding those we love more than us.

After Jehu’s rebuke, Jehoshaphat got back on track. The rest of chapter 19 he went back to reforming Judah. This is what he should have been doing all along, instead of going to be with Ahab.

Lessons For Us

Jehoshaphat was an ancient king, but he is not so different than us, for we do similar things in our lives. And so we can learn from him.

1. We should not love the world. Like Jehu told Jehoshaphat about his seeking an alliance with Ahab, he should not “love those who hate the Lord.” He was not satisfied with what God had given him, but was longing for something else among the nations around him.

Similarly, John tells us – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” – 1 John 2:15. We also should not go about longing for what the world has. We should stay true to God.

2. We should not make partnerships with the world. I mean here, serious, committed relationships with unbelievers – dating, marriage, business – whatever. Just as Jehoshaphat allied himself with a wicked king.

Paul says about this, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. Believers and unbelievers have different values and commitments. We have different frameworks and directions to our lives.

These partnerships pressure us to sacrifice our faithfulness to God. When choices come along, you may want to keep your commitment to God, but you have to act in a way that works for the unbeliever as well. 

As James says, “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” – James 4:4.

3. The world will not be a true partner to you. We need to learn this. The world will draw you in:

  • It will party with you (like Ahab with Jehoshaphat)
  • It will give you honor and acceptance (like Ahab gave to Jehoshaphat)
  • It will entice you to make compromises (like Ahab did with Jehoshaphat)

And, when you waver, it will pressure you to conform (like Ahab bringing out 400 prophets to 1). It will use peer pressure to make you stay in line.

But the world will betray you (just as Ahab set up Jehoshaphat by disguising himself and making Jehoshaphat the target of the enemy, not caring if he died).

You compromise your faithfulness to God, but you will get nothing from it.


 May we learn from Jehoshaphat, so that we will not make the same mistakes. William Higgins

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