Day 30

King Jehoshaphat’s Reforms

2 Chronicles 19:1-11, 2 Chronicles 20:1-37, 2 Chronicles 21:1; Ezra 8:21-23

BY Ginny Owens

I think Jehoshaphat has a kind of eye-opening experience in 2 Chronicles 19. Prior to this chapter, he initiated a few reforms—tearing down the high places and Asherah poles (v.3)—but since then, he had witnessed the death of Israel’s king, who mocked and disobeyed God (2Chronicles 18) and heard God’s voice through Jehu, the seer’s son (2 Chronicles 19:2–3). Jehoshaphat had seen God’s mighty hand at work among those who were against Him, and he had received a personal wake-up call from this same God. For Jehoshaphat, God and His greatness were no longer nice ideas he could toy around with but realities he had experienced and must surrender to. It was not enough to make concessions to God; Jehoshaphat and Judah had to put Him at the center. His path had to be their only way forward. Jehoshaphat’s word to all of Judah was essentially, “Stop! Open your eyes and hearts to the reality of our God!”

Jehoshaphat appointed judges and leaders who discerned the Lord’s will and settled disputes according to it. He reinstated the high priest’s role as the ultimate spiritual leader. He warned all the leaders that God had a right path and that guilt and wrath were incurred for not following it (vv.5–11).

Second Chronicles 20 shows us that seeking the Lord in life’s ordinary matters prepares us for seeking Him amidst our greatest fears. When Jehoshaphat learned of a multi-enemy army coming for Judah, his firsthand experience of God’s greatness and power led him to fight his fear on his knees and to lead his people to do the same (2Chronicles 20:1–5). In his public prayer, Jehoshaphat brought to mind God’s greatness and power over all the world and His history of faithfulness to Israel—God provided this land and brought them to it, after all (vv.6–7). Jehoshaphat also remembered God’s promise to be faithful, and pleaded for this to continue, ending with a confession we all can appreciate: “We do not know what to do but we look to you” (v.12). Through Jahaziel, the Lord told Judah that it was indeed His battle and their task was to “stand still” and watch Him rescue them (v.17).

Seeking the Lord always and ultimately ends in praise! In this section of reading, nothing else is said about fear, only worship. Judah sang and praised its way to battle the next day, where singers on the front lines sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever” (v.21). And the Lord rescued His people as He promised. 

We know the best part of God’s rescue: The One Judah could only imagine, the One who would bring ultimate salvation and rest. He won the final battle for our lives! Our change comes as we recognize how deeply loved and forgiven we are in Him. Only by His power can we stop living half-heartedly and turn wholly to Him, praising and watching as He changes our hearts and wins our battles.

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "King Jehoshaphat’s Reforms"

  1. Taylor says:

    Coming back to add my comment as I think I was rushing off to work and never had time to comment. I LOVED this devotion! Lots of great comments as well :) Such a good reminder that the battle is the Lords and that even in our battles, our greatest weapon is praise. Seek the Lord always. I am trying to be obedient to His calling in my life and not rush ahead because I am impatient.

  2. Seeking Understanding says:

    @Mercy’s comments and where I am struggling to understand.

    1. Does anyone know what definition of love is used here and in the love your enemies verse found in Matthew 5:44? Was thinking that with the current reading it meant you could ‘love’ them just not marry them. Or take on their evil thoughts towards God.

    2. Not sure I would classify singing as confronting them. 2 Chronicles 20:24 says they only saw dead men. Sing and pray. Let God be God and do His work. Too many people have been turned away from Christianity because of people judging and confronting instead of showing concern and love. God wants us to choose Him. Our actions should help, not hinder that goal.

  3. Cheryl Blow says:

    Loving everyone’s comments! The battle is the Lord’s- our job obedience to do what He tells us to do.

  4. Carly Lewis says:

    I woke up in the middle of the night tossing and turning, trying to figure out a solution to a seemingly impossible problem we’re facing on the ranch. All of the solutions I can come up with are either way too expensive, or won’t accomplish our goals, or won’t satisfy the landowners we lease from… actually all of the above. I was getting agitated and frustrated that I couldn’t sleep. I can only imagine how much more in-over-his-head Jehoshaphat must’ve felt when he heard of the impending attack. None of the solutions he could come up with would suffice. But he gave it to God.
    So I prayed last night that He would give me wisdom to address this problem, and peace to know that He’s got it figured out. I fell back asleep, thankfully, knowing that the Lord can fight even the seemingly small battles for me. This morning I am praising Him for all the ways He has provided for us in the past, and trusting that He will do so again. My heart and my ears are open to hear His voice, and I will wait on the Lord to solve this problem for me, rather than worrying and scurrying to find a solution myself.

  5. Terri Marshall says:

    Praying for your parents @mercy

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