Thursday, June 28, 2012

celebrating saving love

No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 35:18

This was worship that was celebrated like no other kind of moment. It was the defining "return" to God of Josiah's reign. The text says that nothing in Jewish living memory was like this Passover under Josiah. The nation had to read about the days before the monarchy to have known such a large scale, unified commitment to celebrating God's love and deliverance.

The sad reality was that Passover was supposed to be a yearly celebration. And it was meant to be the kind of experience described in this text every time it was celebrated. Although it is exciting to see the zeal for God found in this passage, it is also quite sad to realize the people of God rarely worshiped with such joy in their hearts.

Passover is rooted in the delivering love of God. It was the center of the life of the average Hebrew in biblical times. It was meant to pull the people into a common remembrance and celebration of the deliverance that defined them. God has always wanted His people to celebrate His saving love.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

mercy mixed with justice

"Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book."
2 Chronicles 34:21

Josiah led the Jewish people back to God. He was motivated by his own personal worship of the Lord. He began by removing every vestige of idolatry from the land. From there he turned to restoring the temple that had once again fallen into disrepair.

Workers cleared the rubble and started refurbishing. In the midst of this work, a scroll of the Book of the Law of Moses (probably Deuteronomy) was found in the dusty neglected recesses of the temple complex. No one had read it in a long time. It was brought out and read to king Josiah. His immediate response upon understanding God's Word was to mourn for the sins of his nation. He knew that they had not followed the covenant of the Law and that its curses were destined for them because of their disobedience.

Eventually God both confirms Josiah's fears and calms his alarm. The remnant of Israel and the citizens of Judah would be judged harshly for generations of abandonment of their covenant with God (2 Chronicles 34:25). This would certainly come to pass. But Josiah's righteous return kept a generation from experiencing this. God assured the king that He was pleased with the repentance currently in Judah. Josiah would not live during the coming disaster. He would rule and die in peace.

It would be totally impossible to hold back the rising tide of judgment coming against the people of Israel. But God would faithfully reward their present obedience. Grace and mercy would mix with justice as only God can mix them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

a purpose in pain

And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
2 Chronicles 33:12-13

C.S. Lewis famously observed that pain is God's megaphone. And Manasseh seems to be one person whom God roused to repentance through the pain of judgment. Manasseh knew that God was to be worshiped, but when he took to Judah's throne after the death of his father Hezekiah, he quickly turned to all kinds of idolatry. He desecrated the temple with pagan altars and even sacrificed his own children in murderous worship of these idols (2 Chronicles 33:5-6).

God sent prophets with stern words of warning calling the nation to repentance, but the call went unheeded (2 Chronicles 33:10). When God brought the Assyrian army into Jerusalem to snatch away Manasseh and lead him away in chains to Babylon, all the idols in Manasseh's little world could not save him. But it was in Babylon, in chains, that God broke through to soften Manasseh's hardened heart. The king repented and turned to the God of his father. Miraculously the unheard of result was given by God. Manasseh was returned to the throne in Jerusalem... a changed man.

And he initiated a return to God by wiping out his former idolatry (2 Chronicles 33:15-16). He came back with a love for God that temporarily restored a generation. God definitely used pain to bring about holiness and commitments to change. It is a tool of spiritual work that God can choose to use with humanity.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Faithful leadership tested

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles." And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Hezekiah's leadership was tested when the Assyrians threatened Jerusalem. Hezekiah had the courage to make spiritual leadership his first priority. And now a physical threat emerged to the safety of the nations. Sennacharib was a proud pagan. The Assyrians were rampaging through the Middle East leaving a bloody trail of carnage and conquest in their wake. It was not a pretty picture. Judah faced the real possibility of annihilation. But God stopped the attack and delivered Judah from Assyrian cruelty.

Hezekiah was confident in God's ability to deliver His people. His encouragement was that God would protect Jerusalem. And his faith was rewarded. God sent a destroying angel of death throughout the Assyrian camp. The mightiest warriors and officers died, leaving Sennacharib with no command structure. The Assyrian army limped home. There Sennacharib, who had openly defied God (2 Chronicles 32:17-19) was assassinated while worshiping in his pagan temple. He thumbed his nose at God only to find his own idols impotent to protect him.

God protected Judah and rewarded the faithfulness of king Hezekiah. And real courage was fueled by faith. There is no doubt from this passage that God is good. Judah learned this by the trial that came. God was faithful in their faithfulness to Him.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Success Defined

And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.
2 Chronicles 31:21

Success is not measured with money
or means
or goods
or neighborhood
or clothes
or position
or acclaim.

Success in not defined by happiness
or stability
or easiness
or contentment
or friendships
or stature
or fame.

Success is measured and defined by God
on His terms
in obedience
by commitment
to His Word
for God's glory
doing His will.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

the joy of celebrating salvation

So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests and the Levites arose and blessed the people, and their voice was heard, and their prayer came to his holy habitation in heaven.
2 Chronicles 30:26-27

It is good to see a true renewal of spiritual life. That is what Hezekiah led Judah to experience. He had priests and Levites working with him to motivate this spiritual momentum. There was also a growing sense of purpose among the people of the nation. A kind of national movement was encouraged... a movement back to the worship of God. Out of it came a desire to celebrate Passover, the feast that remembered the salvation of God when He brought His people out of slavery in Egypt.

But there was a problem. Normally Passover would be celebrated during the first month of the Jewish calendar. But at that time there simply were not enough consecrated priests and Levites to perform the temple duties of the feast. There was a provision in the Law for "late passover" for those who were ceremonially unclean. They chose to interpret the "spirit of the Law" and set the date for the second month in allowance for this. Couriers were dispatched among the people inviting all who could come to be in Jerusalem for the feast.

And it was quite the worship celebration! It was scheduled for seven days. At the end of the week it was proclaimed to celebrate for an additional seven days. And so the Passover was celebrated for two weeks straight. And nothing like it stood in living memory. This was a watershed for a generation. it was a time of rejoicing, worship, and real blessing. And God was very pleased with the worship He received! Significant obedience led to restoration and substantive blessing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

leading by repentance

Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us.
2 Chronicles 29:10

Hezekiah's commitment to true reformation in Judah was breathtakingly fast. He realized that his father's rampant idolatry had led the nation in an out of control plunge to ruin and captivity. Hezekiah no longer wanted to shutter up the temple. He moved quickly from the first days of his reign to correct this.

The king assembled the priests and the Levites in the temple courts. He repented of the nation's unfaithfulness and encouraged them to cleanse themselves and the temple in order to initiate the worship of Yahweh in His house again. They went rapidly to work, cleansing the temple of the idolatrous images set up therein and preparing themselves to perform full levitical duties once again.

Once this was done, the priests reported back to Hezekiah. The king rose early the very next morning and offered many sacrifices, including a sin offering participated in by the government officials. This was the way it was supposed to be. And it is great to see Hezekiah waste no time in doing it. He meant what he said when he expressed his will to covenant with God again.

God blessed Hezekiah with a long reign. Judah had been in spiritual darkness for a generation. God used the spiritual leadership of a king broken by Judah's sin to bring them back. And the earnest nature of Hezekiah's leadership in repentance was a big part of that restoration. The most powerful leadership move Hezekiah ever made was public repentance and commitment to God.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

twisted logic

In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD-this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, "Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me." But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.
2 Chronicles 28:22-23

Ahaz had an idolatry-driven heart. One of his very first actions as king was to construct statues of the Baals (2 Chronicles 28:2). And his abandonment of the Lord went downhill from there. He seemed to have been on a personal campaign to worship every false god of the nations around Judah, sacrificing his own sons in pagan ritual (2 Chronicles 28:3-4). This quest for idolatry eventually led him to shutter up the temple of God (2 Chronicles 28:24) after he rid it of its treasure to appease foreign oppressors (2 Chronicles 28:20-21).

But the worst part of his unfaithfulness was the reasoning he gave for continuing after God disciplined him. He adopted the gods of his foes who defeated him in battle. His pagan gods did not help him, so he sought out even more pagan gods in his desperation. He assumed Syria's idols were superior since Judah was now subject to Syria. And he adopted the gods of Damascus as his own. It may have been fashionable, but it was a big mistake.

When we run from God, our logic twists in really weird ways. We don't even realize how stupid we are until it is too late. And by then, the damage is done. Ahaz was ruined (and all Israel with him) by his twisted religious thinking. Without God, our world will warp.

Monday, June 18, 2012

contrasting generations & the lies of success

So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God.
2 Chronicles 27:6

This is the contrast between a son and his father. Both of them became successful and were powerful leaders through obedience to God's commands. But the son ultimately succeeded where his father had failed. Jotham stayed true to God and finished well. When he grew strong with riches and political power, he ordered his ways in obedience to God. His father, Uzziah, grew proud in his success and ultimately sinned against God and endured judgment (2 Chronicles 26:16). When both men arrived at the same juncture they took different paths.

Sinful patterns can be broken. Jotham did not have to repeat his father's sinful actions. He seems to have learned from his dad's mistakes. Perhaps seeing his dad succumb to leprosy had a sobering effect on his view of success and how to handle it. When God blessed him with success he did not let it get the better of him. He stayed humble. And that led to a good end. He was blessed with a life that pleased God from start to finish.

The more I read the stories of kings and leaders in the Old Testament, the more impressed I am with the need to finish well. It is not a given that I will do so. The odds are against me. The difference between the shame of Uzziah and the fame of Jotham comes down to the issue of personal pride. Uzziah's own self-centered thinking caused him to end poorly. Jotham's God-centered commitments led to blessing.

As I grow older I see the crossroads loom before me in vivid detail. Following hard after God is clearer, but it is fraught with more hardships personally than I anticipated as an eager Bible College student in my teens! It would be easy to slip into selfish desires now, after a quarter century of ministry. And the American Dream fed by retirement planners is an alluring temptation. In a strange way, I am actually kind of glad that circumstances have turned out that my retirement nest egg tanked... I realize now I will work in ministry until I die. But I want to finish well and must do so. To go all self-centered in my thinking now is a waste of my life.

In a couple of weeks I am blessed with a month long sabbatical. It can't come quick enough! I am ready to slow down and seek God earnestly. I am asking God for clarity for that time so that I can see a very fruitful decade ahead of me. I want to see God give me direction for the next five years. I think the decade of my 50's could be my most productive years in life and ministry... especially if I don't let myself get in the way and ruin it!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Leadership can siphon character

He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.
2 Chronicles 26:5

Uzziah was a good king who faithfully sought God. His reign was long (52 years) and marked with prosperity. Threats to Judah were eliminated in Philistia and Arabia. It was looking well. Defenses were strong. The wall of Jerusalem were well defended with the newest technologies (catapults and arrow machines). It was a good time to be in Judah.

Uzziah worshiped God. His sin was never idolatry. But his reign still did not end well. For some reason toward the end of his reign he felt compelled to usurp a priestly role. The text says nothing about circumstantial motivation. It just says he was proud. And in his pride he challenged God and the priests by entering the temple to burn incense on the altar. That was a job solely for the priests. Uzziah crossed a line.

Azariah and the priests confronted Uzziah and immediately God struck the king with leprosy. He was rushed out of the temple and was excluded from temple worship by health law the rest of his days (2 Chronicles 26:19-21). He lived out his days an isolated leper with limited contact, his pride demolished as God turned the tables on him. He died like one of the lowest members of the social scale of his day.

So many of these leaders in Judah start well, but end so very poorly. Leadership puts a drain on character evidently. And that is a lesson I want to pay attention to as I probably have less ministry ahead of me as I do behind me now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

idolatry is a dumb idea

Therefore the LORD was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, "Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?"
2 Chronicles 15:15

Seeking anyone or anything other than God is where idolatry leads us. And the way in which our hearts will worship almost anything is very distressing. The story of Amaziah lets us in on just how crazy our idolatrous hearts can be.

Amaziah sought the Lord as he went to battle against the Edomites. God assured him the victory if he would dismiss 100,000 Israeli mercenaries from his assembled army. He did so, went to battle, and Judah handily defeated the Edomites as God had promised. You'd think that Amaziah would be filled with profound thankfulness to God. But instead he does a really, really stupid thing. He takes the idols of the Edomites that he captured in battle, sets them up in Jerusalem, and worships them.

God sent a prophet to confront the king and even God is seemingly baffled by Amaziah's motivation. He asked the question about the incredulous behavior: "Why are you worshiping the gods of a people I gave to you in battle? What possible reason would there be to worship impotent gods of a defeated nation?" And at this point God warns that Judah will suffer punishment for disobedience.

Israel still has a bone to pick with Amaziah in Jerusalem. They were angry about being dismissed from the battle with Edom. Eventually relations sour to the point that an army from Israel marches to Judah, attacks Jerusalem, tears down a large portion of the city wall, and ransacks the temple. Amaziah is eventually deposed and killed in a palace conspiracy after this humiliation. It's really a testament to the stupidity of idolatry. It's dumb to replace God.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

swift justice

And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs.
2 Chronicles 24:18

It is sad to watch a good man go bad. That is exactly what happened with Joash. As long as his mentor, Jehoida the priest was alive, king Joash faithfully followed the Lord. In fact, he was so concerned for the glory of God that he spent decades of time and oodles of cash to restore God's temple in Jerusalem.

But after Jehoida's death, Joash was easily influenced by the royal family and other idolatrous elements in Jerusalem. And the result was a very quick return of Judah to idolatry. It may have began with tolerance, but it ended with Joash himself killing the son of Jehoida when God gave the priest's son a prophecy against the king. The young king who had been so faithfully concerned about the Word of god and following it became a tyrant bent on wiping out the very message that God directly gave to him.

God's judgment on Judah was swift. A small force of Syrians came against Jerusalem. Judah should have easily wiped them out, but God let them prevail and ransack the city. Joash himself was wounded in the fight. By the time the Syrians return to Damascus with Judah's spoils, Joash is wounded and bed-ridden in the palace.

At that moment other elements of the royal line (probably his own sons) conspire against him and kill him in his weakness. God's judgment brought an end to Joash's own rebellion before it could worsen. The consequences of his cavalier disregard for God's Word were severe and serious. And they came swiftly!

Monday, June 11, 2012

a conspiracy of priests

Then they brought out the king's son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said, "Long live the king."
2 Chronicles 23:11

This was a coup d'etat led by a conspiracy of priests. But it was all proper and good. Joash was the only surviving member of the Davidic royal line. The wicked queen Athaliah had seized control of the throne in Judah. She quickly moved to wipe out all the Davidic line, but Joash was hidden in the temple as a baby, just yards from the palace where the pagan queen usurped the throne.

Really, the irony in this story is amazing. Athaliah lived in treachery and ruled with tyranny. Yet she was so pagan that she never set foot in the temple of God which stood adjacent to the royal palace in Jerusalem. She never attempted to destroy the temple (perhaps it stood as too strong a symbol of ethnic identity). So while she raged against God and abused Judah, God was quietly working his plans against her as Jehoida the high priests raised the infant prince in the secure secrecy of the temple. There young Joash was kept alive and instructed in the Law of God.

When the priests finally had enough political momentum to confront Athaliah, Joash was just a mere child of seven. But the day came where the priests armed themselves and the people assembled at a convocation to crown young Joash in coronation. With great dramatic irony, Athaliah runs to the scene only to cry out "Treason"! But she is met with the swords of the temple guard. She is executed and young Joash is placed back on the throne of David in Jerusalem. This combination of human bravery, planning, and sovereign divine providence led to poetic justice. I love it when God makes His plan come together!

Friday, June 8, 2012

while evil reigns

And he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
2 Chronicles 22:12

wicked queens, wicked kings
doing all their wicked things
what's a righteous soul to do
while evil reigns? evil reigns

they fill their hands with wicked things
those wicked queens and wicked kings
and the land is filled with iniquity
while evil reigns... evil reigns

O my God, save us all
restore your people from this fall
it is on You our hopes now call
change our hearts... save us now!

wickedness and greed it brings
fill lives with suffering
we bide our time, pray and sigh
while evil reigns... evil reigns

hidden away with secrecy
is salvation from this misery
God ends oppression with irony
when evil reigns... evil reigns

O dear Lord, bring forth the day
when You save us by Your grace
as in You we see the King
Who vanquished sin and death. We sing!

let our God reign! let our God reign!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

bad leadership... permanent spiritual disability

And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 21:6

Jehoram was a leader. He had tremendous influence. But he used his influence for evil. And in just eight years of his reign, Judah went from a faithful covenant nation to a pagan immoral nation. He led the nation to abandon the faithful worship of the Lord.

Jehoram's leadership was evil because he selfishly sought to hold his power. He had all his brothers killed so that they could not evoke memories of his father's faithfulness to God. The text says that they were better men than he was (2 Chronicles 20:13). And God was very displeased with Jehoram's casual disregard for their lives.

He was easily swayed to worship Baal and the false Canaanite gods that Israel had come to follow. He married Ahab's daughter and quickly adopted the idolatry of his wife's people. He aggressively instituted idolatry in Judah. But his unfaithfulness to God with the love of these new gods gained him nothing. Judah lost political power. Nations that Jehoram's father had subdued rose up and broke away from Judah's rule. Threats again emerged to the safety of Judah when the nation was uprooted from the spiritual security of their covenant with Yahweh.

Jehoram was warned by Elijah that these actions would lead to a painful tragic end of judgment (2 Chronicles 20:12-15). And he died slowly and painfully from an intestinal disease in which his bowels finally emerged from his body. He died unmourned by the nation that he had led. But his idolatry remained as a loathsome legacy. Tragic ungodly leadership leaves a painful and permanent stain on a culture.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.

"O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
2 Chronicles 20:12

I have always thought that Jehoshaphat's prayer in this chapter is one of the most realistic moments of insight into prayer. The king convenes a special day of prayer in the temple. Judah assembles to seek God in response to a massive coalition advancing on Judah from the shores of the Dead Sea. Four different ethnic forces have combined an army to invade Jerusalem. And it catches the king unprepared. The invading force is so massive that he knows Judah does not have any military advantage. But they have a spiritual one... and so they pray! And it is a prayer throwing the nation upon God in absolute trust.

Jehoshaphat recounts God's past protection of His people. The king rejoices in the good blessings that God has recently given. He puts his trust only in God and acknowledges the helpless condition of Judah. And that last phrase is one that often joins our hearts when we pray honestly: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

God answers immediately. In the convocation, God's Spirit delivers a message telling Judah to march to meet the force to see what God will do. They obey by marching down to the Dead See wilderness, singing of God's faithful covenant love as they go. There they see a victory only God can give. The mighty force arrayed against them was actually a fragile mixed ethnic coalition and it fell apart. A fight broke out among the armies and instead of attaching Judah they annihilated one another. Not a soldier was left alive to attack God's people. For three days Judah plundered the dead bodies of the warriors they never had to fight. They trusted in God. God fought for them. God rewarded faith when it was all that was left!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

the next generation of godly leaders

Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem. And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers.
2 Chronicles 19:4

King Jehoshaphat was serious about following the LORD and leading the nation to obedience to God's Law. He set up judges in Jerusalem and throughout the land with clear instruction on how to follow the Law and honor the lord in their decisions. He was serious about these reforms. He knew that if his leadership as king was going to successfully turn Judah to God, it would require godly leaders under him. So he spent considerable time and effort developing these judges. All of 2 Chronicles 19 shows the process that he took to raise up good leaders and instruct them in following the Lord as they led God's people.

This is the way to leave a spiritual legacy. Jehoshaphat was convinced of it. It changed his generation. It brought stability to Judah. It turned people to the Lord.

The need to do this is all the more vital in this day and age. It is one reason why in my current season of ministry I am convinced that any impact I will have will be in the discipling of leaders. I am also aware of my time fading... fast. I am almost 50 years old. At best I have a decade left for my most fruitful ministry. If it has gone as fast as the last ten years have... well, I just shudder thinking about life's brevity.

It is time for me to find the next generation of leaders and prepare them so that I can pass the baton to those who will faithfully continue to run the race. I am so glad Mill Creek has identified and developed a year long internship program to meet this challenge. I am fortunate to have helped develop it from its earliest inklings. And I have been blessed the last 3 years to have taught biblical counselors in training at Calvary Theological Seminary. Just this last month I saw the first graduates I have taught leave to start their ministries. I pray that God will bless these men and women that He is raising up to lead the next generation!

Monday, June 4, 2012

faithful to the message

But Micaiah said, "As the LORD lives, what my God says, that I will speak."
2 Chronicles 18:13

This is an interesting account of God's sovereign work. It is one of the significant moments when a king in Israel is detailed in 2 Chronicles. And the only reason is because this was also a significant event in the life of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. It came about because of a political expediency.

Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Ahab through marriage. And the king of Judah traveled to Samaria to celebrate this with Ahab. While there, Ahab tries to convince him to go into a military campaign against Syria. And we get insight into Ahab's spiritual condition at that time. Ahab has 400 prophets at his disposal. It is important to take note that they are referred to as "his" prophets. And they tell him victory against Syria is a sure thing. They are not the Lord's prophets. They are Ahab's prophets.

Jehoshaphat insists to hear from a prophet of Yahweh. Micaiah is summoned. He eventually warns Ahab that he will die in this battle. The cost of this prophecy for Micaiah was imprisonment. But Micaiah stayed true to the word that God had given him.

In the end, God is proven right. Ahab is killed in battle even though he tried to disguise himself and divert attention to Jehoshaphat as the king in command. Jehoshaphat is miraculously delivered by God in spite of his foolish compromises. And the words of Micaiah are proven true... faithful to the message of God.

Friday, June 1, 2012

seeking the Lord

The LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier 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 practices of Israel.
2 Chronicles 17:3-4

What led to the success of Jehoshaphat was his unwavering commitment to seek God and live by His commandments. This gave him the necessary personal fortitude of character to lead Judah. He kept the covenant and led the nation in the worship of Yahweh. And Judah was blessed as a result of this.

The text comments upon the obedience of the king. Jehoshaphat "walked" in the way that David did. He showed by his life that God was his God. And that visible commitment helped show the nation how to live according to the covenant. He refused to seek the idols that beset Israel. Instead, he sought after God by living by God's commands.

In Jehoshaphat I see three things that led to God's blessing on his life:
1) He walked according to his godly heritage. He honored the God that David worshiped.
2) He sought God personally. He made his relationship with God his very own.
3) He lived out his faith. He did not just pay lip-service to Yahweh. He practiced what the Law said.

These three things set Jehoshaphat apart to God and apart from idolatrous Israel to the north of Judah. These things led Judah to enjoy the blessings of the covenant. They show us how to seriously seek God.