Read verses 1-6
Q: Although v.1-2 serve as an overview with the rest of the chapter to provide the details of how it was accomplished, primarily against whom were these preparations made? Why do you suppose that was?
A: It states no one other than the northern kingdom of “Israel”. This was not only practical in that Israel and Judah never got along, but since under Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father, some of Israel had been captured and occupied by Judah (“the cities of Ephraim”), retaliation was probably expected. Lastly, Israel was a spiritual enemy in its embrace and worship of false gods, so it might also be seen as a step towards protecting those in Judah who were still faithful from those in Israel who were not.
Q: What seems to be the overall issue first addressed in v.3-6?
A: The quality of Jehoshaphat’s spiritual walk or faithfulness. It is likened to “David’s earlier days” before his sins of unfaithfulness with Bathsheba and so forth, and stands as a stark contrast to King Ahab of Israel who embraced Baal worship.
Q: What are the 3 specific actions listed in v.4 which resulted in Jehoshaphat’s personal faithfulness?
- “...sought the God of his father...” This is an Old Testament expression of someone earnestly praying, worshiping, and serving God. It expresses the most extreme commitment to seeking and serving God.
- “...followed His commandments...” He wasn’t just knowledgeable in or ware, but he put God’s Word into practice.
- “...did not act as Israel did.” He did not pursue false doctrine or false religion, but stayed on the right path. He was content with the scope of God’s Word, never seeking to supplement or supplant it with anything else.
Point: It combines to show someone committed to God’s Word and will sincerely from the heart.
Q: According to v.5, what was the result of this personal commitment detailed in v.4?
A: As a result of his personal commitment, “the Lord established the kingdom in his control”. Jehoshaphat’s personal strength or will did not elevate him or make him successful, but God did so as a result of his personal commitment to God. He focused on honoring God, and in turn God honored him.
Application: Why is it that spiritual leaders are not to operate as corporate or worldly leaders? What is their biblical model? (Hint: Both the Hebrew and Greek words are “shepherd”.)
And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
— Luke 22:24-27
Q: What is the thing which is intimated as being most dear to Jehoshaphat in what it says about him in v.6? What does “pride in the ways of God” and his removal of false spiritual influences have in common?
A: Jehoshaphat is someone wholly committed to the truth.
Application: Have you ever considered that something of God needs to first be established, affirmed, and even cleansed in the truth? If one person begins a work for God, how effective will it be if either that person or others joining them do not share the same truth? How difficult will it be if they fail to remove all the spiritual influences working against them? Or the false notions opposed to the biblical basis for the work?