Read 2 Chronicles 17
Jehoshaphat King of Judah
17 Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king and strengthened himself against Israel. 2 He stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and put garrisons in Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
3 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals 4 but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel.5 The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. 6 His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high placesand the Asherah poles from Judah.
7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah. 8 With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.
10 The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts and silver as tribute, and the Arabsbrought him flocks: seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred goats.
12 Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful; he built forts and store cities in Judah 13 and had large supplies in the towns of Judah. He also kept experienced fighting men in Jerusalem. 14 Their enrollment by families was as follows:
From Judah, commanders of units of 1,000:
Adnah the commander, with 300,000 fighting men;
15 next, Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000;
16 next, Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the Lord, with 200,000.
17 From Benjamin:
Eliada, a valiant soldier, with 200,000 men armed with bows and shields;
18 next, Jehozabad, with 180,000 men armed for battle.
19 These were the men who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout Judah.
Despite the sad ending in the previous chapter for King Asa, we see potential and hope when his son succeeds him as King in 2 Chronicles 17. Whereas King Asa had a strong commitment to the Lord in the beginning, his dedication faltered in the end. Similar to his father, we see King Jehoshaphat coming out strong at the beginning with his dedication to God. This chapter shows us that he walked closely with the Lord, desired to obey His commandments, and endeavored to make His name known among the kingdom. As a result, God’s blessing is clearly over his reign. What an encouragement to see how even in the Old Testament, God actively leads and engages with His people.
Right off the bat, we observe that King Jehoshaphat’s own personal relationship with the Lord was strong. Scripture says that he “sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel” (v. 4). Then we see what a difference this makes on his reign as King! Arguably, he leads the kingdom better and makes wise decisions because he chooses to seek God first. A close, personal relationship with the Lord is where it all begins. If we want guidance and wisdom concerning leading well, making decisions, etc., then we must “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). We can’t expect to lead well, serve well or teach others about God’s word like King Jehoshaphat does if we first don’t pursue an intimate relationship with the Lord.
As a result of him walking with the Lord so closely, his kingdom was strengthened, other kingdoms feared Judah, and the city flourished. This just points to how God remains the ultimate giver, and He delights in giving good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). We ultimately see in this chapter that not only does God provide, but he provides in abundance by strengthening and blessing a kingdom. Not only does God protect, but He protects in abundance by not even allowing other kingdoms to consider war against Judah. We serve a God of abundance! Let’s take time to meditate on that truth today and praise God for the ways He abundantly lavishes us with His grace.
- What godly characteristics of King Jehoshaphat do you admire that you would like to emulate in your own life?
- What are some practical steps you can take to strengthen your personal relationship with the Lord today?
- In what ways have you seen God’s abundance in your life this week?
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