WALK, SEEK & DELIGHT in GOD for LASTING REWARDS: "Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah." (2 Chron. 17:3-6)
Jehoshaphat took over the reign of the southern kingdom of Judah from a father like Asa who did not leave a godly legacy for him before he died. There were two prominent transgressions committed by Asa towards the end of his life, which are pointed out clearly by the writer of Chronicles. First, Asa relied on Syria for help against the attack from the northern kingdom of Israel instead of Jehovah God (16:1-9). Second, Asa did not seek God but only the physicians for a healing from the disease in his feet before his death (16:12).
However, when Jehoshaphat became the fourth king of Judah, he strengthened his kingdom against Israel. He fortified his kingdom, but the secret of his successful reign was that he wholly followed the ways of God. In fact, Jehoshaphat was the first king (since David) who walked in the righteous ways of his great grandfather David as well as walked in (literally, obeyed) God’s commandments and God’s ways. Not only that, Jehoshaphat took delight and his heart’s desire was to follow the ways of God (17:3–5). His desire was so pronounced that he recognized the need for constant vigil against idolatry. In order to accomplish his spiritual warfare against idolatry, Jehoshaphat removed high places and idols, and sent out his leaders and Levites to teach the people in the cities of Judah “the Law of the Lord” (17:7–9).
Actually, Jehoshaphat emulated the heart for God that Asa had shown in his earlier years, and for this God granted Jehoshaphat seven lasting rewards that would last him throughout his lifetime, which are as follows:
- God established the kingdom in the hand of Jehoshaphat (17:5a)
- All the people in the kingdom of Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, as a result of which he had riches and honor in abundance (17:5b).
- The nations surrounding Judah started having a healthy respect for Jehoshaphat, and they lost their appetite for aggression against Judah (17:10).
- Some of the other nations like the Philistines and Arabians even sent gifts with the obvious intent of cultivating good relations with Jehoshaphat (17:11).
- Jehoshaphat became increasingly powerful and a force to be reckoned with because of his fortresses, storage cities and vast property holdings in the cities if Judah (17:12-13a).
- To add to the above, Jehoshaphat had a powerful army to defend his kingdom that included mighty men of valor (17:13b-19).
- Finally, God protected Jehoshaphat from certain death during the next war with Syria even though he was wearing the king’s costume. In fact, God diverted the attention of the Syrian soldiers, and they gave up chasing after him (18:28-32).
In fact, Jehoshaphat walked in the right counsel (17:3), delighted in the ways of God (17:6), and was fruitful in his service by sharing God’s Word with the people of Judah (17:7–9). All the above lasting rewards happened to Jehoshaphat because he walked, sought, and delighted in Jehovah God!