In my last article, I mentioned that King Jehoshaphat was one of only nine “good kings” listed in the scriptures as ruling Israel. I also noted that even though he was one of the “good kings” that did right in the sight of God and brought revival to the nation by teaching and enforcing the word of God, he still made four huge mistakes.
The first mistake was forming an alliance with King Ahab who was a very ungodly, evil king (2 Chronicles 18:1; 19:1-2). The Bible is very clear commanding Christians not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. We are not supposed to date, court, or marry them. We are not supposed to form alliances with them in marriage, war or commerce. In other words, we are not supposed to form business partnerships with those people that do not serve Jesus Christ. Instead, sadly many Christians date and marry non-believers and many become business partners with them. The second mistake was being persuaded by Ahab and his 400 idolatrous prophets to go to war against Syria (18:2-3). If Jehoshaphat would have never formed a close friendship with Ahab, then he would have never listened to Ahab’s satanic counselors. How many times do Christians today listen to ungodly talk because they are hanging out with friends that are very ungodly, and they are having intimate relationships with them instead of just engaging in friendship evangelism? As a result these Christians become swayed by these ungodly influences that they have subjected themselves to. Ungodly alliances can also include listening to songs such as Country Western, sung by immoral people. Country Western music is filthy music about adultery, fornication, carousing, drinking, and fighting, etc. And we wonder why we start to be influenced by wrong thoughts, attitudes, and temptations. Jehoshaphat should have immediately left Ahab’s presence when he knew Ahab was consulting those idolatrous prophets. This is like Christians today hanging out with people consulting mediums, witch doctors, or attending seances, and looking at their horoscopes. The third major mistake that resulted from developing an intimate relationship with an unbeliever is being influenced to make a choice that just about cost Jehoshaphat his life. He went into battle with his royal robes on while Ahab went into battle disguised (18:29-32). Jehoshaphat made such a stupid choice because in wanting to please his ungodly friend, he listened to his counsel even though his ungodly friend only cared for his own life. Unbelievers care for themselves more than anyone else and they influence others into making bad decisions. These bad friends only want to use other people just as Ahab used Jehoshaphat by having the enemy attack Jehoshaphat and not himself. The fourth recorded bad decision of Jehoshaphat was joining in business with Ahaziah who is king of the ten apostate tribes (20:36-37).
Now let us continue where we left off in our last article and look at 2 Chronicles 19.
2 Chronicles 19: “1And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. 2And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. 3Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.”
Here we see that when Jehoshaphat returned from the battle he so foolishly committed himself to, the prophet Jehu meets him and rebukes him from the Lord. Jehu also gives Jehoshaphat a message (prophecy) from the Lord. Jehu warns him that now God’s wrath will fall on Judah because of his alliance with wicked king Ahab. As people, and especially as leaders, we must realize that our actions and decisions affect other people whether we are married with spouses and children, or employers with employees, or pastors, bishops, and political or governmental leaders over churches and nations. When a person forms a relationship with a most wicked person or leader as Jehoshaphat did with Ahab, there are consequences. This shows the wickedness of Ahab and the 10 apostate tribes of Israel that he ruled, when God judges a godly leader such as Jehoshaphat for helping and befriending him. It should be a warning also to the United States of America concerning the ungodly alliances we continue to make.
It should also warn each person to be careful who you become intimate friends with and who you help that they may continue in their sins. God is also totally fair as only God can execute perfect judgment. Scripture admonishes us that vengeance belongs to the Lord. We should let a righteous judge deal with people instead of taking the law into our own hands and acting out of carnal emotions. God has placed the church on earth to deal with people who will submit themselves under church jurisdiction in order to deal with their grievances. If a person refuses to allow the leaders of the church to act as judge and handle their disputes, then the law of the land was made for the lawless. If neither can execute judgment on this rebel, then God Himself is fully capable of doing so, whether it is in this life or after the spirit leaves the body. Every person will give an account for the deeds done in the body. God’s mercy and justice are beyond human ability. In His mercy, He considered the good actions that Jehoshaphat had done when he consulted with God instead of imprudently consulting with Ahab. So God decreed not to completely destroy Judah for assisting the 10 apostate tribes.
Sometimes when people and leaders are rebuked by the Word of God or servants of God, they repent and will continue to do the will of God. This is what Jehoshaphat did as he led a second revival throughout Judah. Jehoshaphat set judges, priests, and Levites who feared God and judged according to the Scriptures, to be over the people as he brought back the laws of God to the nation. He also made sure his chief priest Amariah, who was over all matters of the Lord, and Zebadiah, who was chief ruler over matters of the king, were sincere, honest, and holy men of God. This is what is needed in the home, church, and nation. We need parents, pastors, and politicians who fear God and will make decisions and laws according to the Scriptures.
“4And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. 5And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, 6And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. 7Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts. 8Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and of the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem. 9And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. 10And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in your cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass. 11And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.”
Did you read how carefully Jehoshaphat picked his leaders and how fully he communicated to them their need to enforce the ways of God and not to take favors/bribes which would influence their decisions. Jehoshaphat also understood the consequences of the “Science of Judgment” as he warned them not to act in a way deserving God’s wrath (His disfavor upon themselves or the people they serve) instead of His blessings. He also remembered that God was already going to discipline the nation because of his sins of forming an alliance with ungodly Ahab (which was a direct violation of His Word) listening to the counsel of the ungodly, and going to war with Ahab instead of listening to God.
2 Chronicles 20: “1It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. 2Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. 3And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”
After King Ahab died according to the prophetic warning, which Ahab disobeyed, Moab rose up against Israel and also invaded Judah. This time Jehoshaphat did the right thing. He went to the Lord, and he challenged the people of Judah to go to the Lord in fasting, which is an extension of prayer or asking God to intervene and direct.
“4And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 5And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? 7Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? 8And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, 9If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. 10And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; 11Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. 12O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. 13And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.”
What a tremendous prayer that Jehoshaphat led Judah in interceeding to God. He recognized that God has the power over evil/judgment, and understood that God judges all nations, so he asked God to judge the armies of Moab and Ammon. Because of Jehoshaphat’s humility in going to God and leading the tribe of Judah to fasting and prayer (he was asking God to fight and defeat their enemies), the Holy Spirit immediately came upon the prophet Jahaziel, who gives God’s answer.
“14Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 15And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 17Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. 18And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.”
God foretells what will transpire, and gives direct instructions for the army of Judah to not be afraid, but to just trust and watch their deliverance as God fights their battle. The secret of this promise of God being fullfilled is that King Jehoshaphat actually accepted the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jahaziel and then God’s word came to pass. How many times today does the Word of God, written or spoken, supply us with God’s solution for the problem, yet we fail to trust the Lord and act upon it? Not only did King Jehoshaphat immediately humble himself before the Lord and receive the instructions through the prophet Jahaziel, but also the people accepted the Word of God and praised the Lord. The success of a family, congregation, or nation depends upon both the leadership as well as those people involved. Moses was a tremendously righteous, faith-filled leader, but he failed to see the full promises of God because the people he led would not believe and act upon the Word of God. Whenever people act in faith, they worship God, and both Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah praised and worshipped God for the promises of God through Jahaziel for victory.
“19And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. 20And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 21And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Note: When Christians interceed and worship God there is a truth called high praise where God and His angels fight our battles. Read carefully!
“22And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. 23For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. 24And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.”
Verses 22-25 record how apparently the angelic hosts of God appeared suddenly and the children of Ammon and Moab became so troubled and confused that they began destroying the Edomities and then one another, just as Israel’s enemies had done during a time under Gideon’s leadership. Gideon led only 300 men who God had chosen, and after Gideon had received instructions from the Lord (which he obeyed explicitly), God defeated 135,000 soldiers of the enemy (Judges 7:1 - 8:13).
“25And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. 26And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day. 27Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.”
It was such a total, complete victory that Judah lost not one man and their enemies lost their entire army. After this tremendous victory, Judah again worships the Lord, giving all glory and honor to God for this victory. Another lesson that we need to make sure we understand to do if we want our victories to remain complete, is to give God all the glory and continue to give him our praise and worship.
“28And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. 29And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. 30So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.”
When a nation led by a righteous leader learns to go to the Lord for direction in times of trouble, that nation will see the miracles of God, as He fights their battles. Also, all nations will recognize that God is with that nation and they will be afraid to attack them. Here God performed such a miraculous victory in defeating the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, that all the surrounding nations heard of this divine intervention. This should encourage all of us of the power of the angelic hosts of God. Remember the plagues of God brought upon Egypt and the death angel that struck the firstborn? Remember also the defeat of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea? In Isaiah 37:36-38, we read how one angel defeated 185,000 men of war in one night of battle during the days of Hezekiah. Today we can look forward to the book of Revelation being fullfilled and the angelic hosts who will defeat the armies of this world at Armegeddon (Zech 14:12-15; 2 Th.1:7-10; Rev.19:11-21). If God is on our side, as a nation we will have peace with our enemies. This is the only hope for America!
“31And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 32And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD. 33Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel. 35And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: 36And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber. 37Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.”
King Jehoshaphat was one of the “good kings”, and yet he made some bad mistakes. Many people make the same mistake of trusting at times in people and letting people influence them instead of God. God did decree that he would judge Judah because Jehoshaphat had developed a friendship with a very ungodly king named Ahab. This should serve as an important lesson not to allow ourselves to form intimate relationships with evil people. God is not happy about this, for He had already commanded you and I to not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly.” I believe God would have changed his mind in judging Judah if the people of Judah were as righteous as their king, but they were not. Notice in verse 33, that the people had not carried out Jehoshaphat’s commandment in 17:6 to destroy the high places of idolatrous worship. This shows that many people in the nation were in sin and consequently they finally suffered the fate of the “cup of iniquity principle.” The people were chastised and disciplined and eventually ruled by many nations, even up to this current time.
In the conclusion of this chapter, we can see where king Jehoshaphat again sinned by being unequally yoked and joining in his third alliance with King Ahaziah, a very wicked king of Israel, in a business venture to make ships. Once again, a man whose name was Eliezer prophesies against Jehoshaphat. The business enterprise fails as God curses this partnership. We should all take note that you can be a righteous man and still make the same mistakes more than once due to apathy and pride. May God help us all! I will continue!
© 2005 World Ministries International