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In the history of God’s people, the children of Israel, there was a man named Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was a king in Judah. The Lord was with him, because he walked in the ways of his father David. He had a good heart before God and sought to love Him and to worship Him.
2 Chronicles 17:3 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, 4 but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.
Although Jehoshaphat had a heart after God, he made a strategic error by allying himself with Ahab, the king of Israel. By marriage, Jehoshaphat had made an alignment with Ahab – the name Ahab meaning, my father’s brother. Perhaps this is a significance to a relationship by human will or human circumstance. By implication, he got in trouble by coming into agreement with something not mandated to him by God. Human relationships had caused him to compromise in his own covenant relationship with God. Ahab persuaded him to go to battle against Ramoth Gilead. Ramoth Gilead was a city formerly established in the days of Moses as a city of refuge for unintentional killers. This city had exchanged hands from Israel to Syria several times and in the days of Ahab, king of Israel, it was in the possession of Syria. Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to partner with him in going up against the Syrian stronghold to retake the city with the encouragement of several false prophets of Israel. Micaiah, a true prophet, warned Ahab not to go, but Ahab ignored his word and Jehoshaphat joined Ahab in going against the city. A battle ensued and it looked to end Jehoshaphat’s life, but God rescued him and allowed him to return safely to Jerusalem. In the battle Ahab received wounds that resulted in his demise. Jehoshaphat was both sorry and repentant for his error of judgment when God confronted him through the prophet Jehu. He made himself vulnerable to the people and he brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers. He gave the rest of his life to reestablish the judgments of God, the worship of God, and the testimony of God in the nation of Judah.
2 Chronicles 18:31 So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “It is the king of Israel!” Therefore, they surrounded him to attack; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him. 32 For so it was, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
2 Chronicles 19:1 Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned safely to his house in Jerusalem. 2 And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore, the wrath of the Lord is upon you. 3 Nevertheless good things are found in you, in that you have removed the wooden images from the land, and have prepared your heart to seek God.” 4 So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers. 5 Then he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 and said to the judges, “Take heed to what you are doing, for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. 7 Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
Sometimes we make alliances based upon human relationships. Our heart’s intention is good, but sometimes our human will overrides the will of God. The will of God cannot be the will of self nor can it be the will of people. The will of God only comes when human beings are willing to yield their lives to the purpose and plan of God. When Jehoshaphat was confronted with his error, he repented. He didn’t just say he was sorry, he got down among the people and brought about change. He was willing to make himself vulnerable and to seek to embrace the will of God for the sake of others in his life. We must acknowledge our errors even when those errors involve relationships based upon human desires and human will. We must acknowledge our errors and we must be willing to change according to God’s purpose and God’s plan. When we do this, we can see the judgments of God restored in our lives. We can know the will of God being fulfilled in our lives. We are in a time of God’s plan when He is calling us to change our ways and to embrace His. Like Jehoshaphat, we must be willing to make ourselves vulnerable and transparent to others to see God’s ways restored in our lives. This is the mark of true leadership for the sake of those we lead. Sometimes we make decisions that are based upon our own compassion or our own definition of love. God is love and even in the hardest of actions that He would take, His actions are actions of redemptive love. We must trust Him and we must lead those we lead to follow Him in into His ways. We cannot allow deception to come even when it is masked in the disguise of human empathy
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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Thanks Again – Ted J. Hanson
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