May 27th 2 Chronicles, 19
19v1-3 Jehu speaks to Jehoshaphat
1: And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. 2: And 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. 3: Nevertheless 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.
19v4-11 Jehoshaphat appoints judges
4: And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. 5: And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, 6: And 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. 7: Wherefore 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. 8: Moreover 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. 9: And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. 10: And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their 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. 11: And, 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.
2 Chronicles, 20
20v1-30 Moab & Ammon defeated
1: It 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. 2: Then 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 Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. 3: And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4: And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. 5: And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6: And 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? 7: Art 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? 8: And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, 9: If, 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. 10: And 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; 11: Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. 12: O 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. 13: And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14: Then 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; 15: And 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. 16: To 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. 17: Ye 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. 18: And 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. 19: And 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. 20: And 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. 21: And 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. 22: And 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. 23: For 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. 24: And 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. 25: And 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. 26: And 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. 27: Then 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. 28: And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. 29: And 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. 30: So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.
20v31-21v1 Jehoshaphat’s reign and death
31: And 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. 32: And 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. 33: Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers. 34: Now 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. 35: And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: 36: And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37: Then 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.
2 Chronicles, 21
1: Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
21v2-20 Ahaziah rules Judah
2: And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 3: And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn. 4: Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel. 5: Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6: And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD. 7: Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever. 8: In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. 9: Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots. 10: So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. 11: Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto. 12: And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13: But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself: 14: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: 15: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. 16: Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: 17: And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. 18: And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. 19: And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. 20: Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
Today we have read of Jehu the Prophet who brings the Word of the Lord to Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat is encouraged and establishes further reforms by appointing judges. We read of the defeat of Moab and Ammon and of the rest of the reign of Jehoshaphat and his death. Then we are introduced to his successor Ahaziah king of Judah. After the death of Ahab and of the deliverance of Jehoshaphat when he cried to the Lord in the heat of battle, Jehoshaphat returns to his home in peace and there he is visited by a prophet of the Lord. Jehu confronts him saying should you help those who are the ungodly? And should you love those that hate the LORD? This is why the judgment of the Lord has come on you. However the Lord has found good things in you because you destroyed the groves dedicated to the idolatrous cults and you deliberately set your mind on seeking to know the Lord. Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem but he went out into the nation from top to bottom seeking to turn the people back to the Lord their God. (He was the first missionary - in this sense) He also appointed judges in all of the fenced cities of Judah from city to city. And he gave then clear instructions on how to go about their important work. He told them to be very careful to judge for the Lord and not just for man. They were not to be men-pleasers. They were not to take bribes or even receive gifts. He also established the priests in their work. They also were to serve in the fear of the Lord with a perfect heart, i.e. a clear mind on the Lord alone. They were to warn Israel to keep the law to prevent the judgment of the Lord coming on them. He appointed Amaiah as high priest – over them in all matters of the LORD. Zebadaiah was the steward of the house of Judah in respect to all the issues regarding the king and the Levites reported to him. He told them to deal courageously and the Lord shall be with the good. A great motto. After a while the tribe of Moab and Ammon gathered together to fight against Judah. Jehoshaphat was afraid and set himself to seek the LORD and he called for a fast in Judah. All the people of Judah sought the Lord, they came to Jerusalem and stood before the Lord. Jehoshaphat prayed and his prayer is magnificent…
O LORD God of our fathers, aren’t you the God in heaven?
and don’t you rule over all the kingdoms of the heathen?
and is there not power and might in your hand, so that no-one is able to resist you?
Are you not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel,
and gave it to the seed of Abraham your friend for ever?
And they they lived in the land,
and they have built for you a sanctuary in the land for your name,
saying, If a day comes when evil comes on us,
the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine,
we will stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for your name is in this house,)
and we will cry unto you in our affliction, then you wilt hear us and help us.
And now, see look on us, because the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir,
who you would not allow Israel to invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt,
but they turned from them, and did not destroy them;
Look now on us and see how they have paid us back,
to come to kick us out of your land,
which you have given to us as an inheritence.
O our God, will you not judge them?
because we have no defence against a great company like this that comes against us;
nore do we know what to do: but we are looking to you.
Then we have a most touching phrase - all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on a man and the LORD spoke through him as he stood in the middle of the congregation saying, Do not be afraid or even overcome by the size of the great army that has gathered against you because the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow you will go down against them but you will not need to fight against them. You will stand still and watch the salvation of the Lord. Do not be afraid but go out to meet them because the LORD will be with you. Jehoshaphat bowed his head to the ground and all Judah followed his example and worshipped the Lord. The Levites stood up to praise the Lord and they sang the Lords praises with a loud voice. In the morning they all awoke and Jehoshaphat spoke to the people telling them to believe in the LORD their God and he will establish you. Believe his prophets and you will prosper. He appointed the singers to go ahead of the army to praise the Lord in the beauty of holiness. They sang Praise the Lord for his mercy endureth for ever. When they began to sing the LORD sent Judah a great victory and the enemy perished at the hand of the LORD. The joint armies destroyed each other. When Judah eventually came on their enemies they found them all destroyed in heaps of bodies, none had escaped. When Judah came they found them dead with great riches and they took their riches including jewels. It took them three days to spoil the dead. On the forth day they gathered to bless the LORD and then they returned to Judah with Jehoshaphat at their head leading them. They returned to Jerusalem in great joy. Then the fear of the LORD fell on all the nations round about when they heard what the Lord had done to their enemies. God gave to Jehoshaphat rest from all his enemies. Jehoshaphat was 35 when he began to reign and he was king for 25 years. He was faithful to the Lord all his days like his father Asa. Yet even in his day the people did not fully follow his example in destroying all the idolatrous groves and the people did not fully seek the Lord. All the rest of the deeds of Jehoshaphat are written in the book of Jehu. In his later years to allied himself to Ahaziah king of the northern kingdom who was a wicked man. This displeased the Lord and the LORD sent a prophet to him telling him that the Lord would destroy his works and all his plans to make ships were broken. He died and was buried in Jerusalem and his son Jehoram took his place. His son was a wicked man like the kings of the north. He murdered all his brothers after he came to the throne and he reigned for only eight years. He married the daughter of Jezebel and Ahab. In his days the Edomites revolted against him and anointed their own king. He fought a number of engagements with his enemies but he led Judah into great sin – spiritual fornication. Elijah the prophet sent him a letter telling him of the judgment of God that was going to come on him. The country would be invaded and even his family would be stolen away and he would die of horrible sicknesses. All of these things came to pass within two years. When he died nobody mourned for him. They buried him in Jerusalem but not with the kings.