1And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. 2And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
The first thing we learn about Jehoshaphat is that he drew a line between Judah and Israel. Jehoshaphat strengthened himself not to act offensively against Israel or invade them, but only to maintain his own. He did this by fortifying the cities that were on his borders and putting more soldiers in the cities of Ephraim, which his father controlled, v. 2. He did not strengthen himself, as his father did, by a league with the king of Syria, but by fair and right methods, on which he might expect the blessing of God and in which he trusted God.
THOUGHT: Sometimes it is better to have a great defense than a strong offense. His goal was to protect his people, not start a war with Israel. So often in our day and age offense seems more important than defense.
The next thing we learn is he followed David’s example and worshipped Jehovah not Baalim. (plural of Baal)
3And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; 4But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
The Lord was with Jehoshaphat BECAUSE: He chose good over evil, right or wrong.
God blessed him in many ways because of his stand for the Lord, not false gods. He sought after God and walked in His commandments.
Remember at this time God’s people were supposed to live by the laws set down by Moses. Judah was far more faithful than Israel in these matters.
5Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. 6And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Therefore (as a result) God blessed Judah and Judah blessed her leader. This encouraged Jehoshaphat greatly. It caused him to serve God with greater energy; his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD. One of the things he did was to set out to destroy the false religions in his kingdom. How did he want to accomplish this?
He sent godly men and Levites throughout the land to teach the Word of God.
7Also 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. 8And 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. 9And 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.
Teaching (and preaching) the Word of God has always been part of God’s plan for His people. Friendship Baptist Church places a high value on the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.
THOUGHT: The poorly spoken Word of God is more powerful than oratory of man’s best manuscripts. The Spirit of God empowers the Word of God and changes people’s hearts and lives.
APPLICATION: Jehoshaphat, an Old Testament king, is a great example for believers today. A godly leader will inspire godly followers. In that case victory cannot be very far away.