2 Chronicles 19

2 Chronicles 19
by Pastor Mark Hudson

The account of King Jehoshaphat (God rules or judges) covers chapters 17-21:1.  His life is a good reflection of his father King Asa. Asa loved God yet, as we read, stumbled rather seriously in his alliance with Syria and his shameful treatment of his prophet and those who supported him.

We also discover an anomaly in his son in chapter 18 and 20.  Jehoshaphat twice forms an alliance with the northern king which seems to ignore or temporarily set aside the spiritual differences between the northern and southern kingdoms. Does Jehoshaphat find the divided kingdom so distasteful that he attempts to force unification?  We really do not know why Jehoshaphat did this, but he united, albeit temporarily, with the north in the chapters mentioned.  And both times, he was rebuked.

Yet, after Jehu’s rebuke in vs. 2-3, Jehoshaphat goes on a spiritual crusade for God.  We see in his instruction the word “judges or judge” repeated reminding us of the meaning of his name.  A caution for us.  The world has twisted judge to be only negative.  “Don’t judge me” the world cries out.  But judge is to discern, decide, and all from a worldview where God says that some actions or attitudes are bad, and some are good.  We should want to know what God says about good and evil.

I am writing in the month of April in 2023 in the United States of America.  Our country applauds what God says is evil: homosexuality.  We are utterly confused and afraid of saying the wrong thing that might upset those whose support we crave. We recently heard a supreme court justice respond to a question: What is a woman?  She responded by saying, “I’m not a biologist.”  Imagine a question 50 years ago to an elected or appointed official asking, “Can you tell us the difference between a man and a woman?”   Then can you imagine the answer Kentaji Brown Jackson gave 50 years ago.  But here we are.  We need to hear what God says about the issues our culture is debating.  While we hold fast to God’s truth and reject the world’s version of ‘truth’ that does not mean we are mean-spirited or lack compassion or understanding.  But we still hold fast to the truth.

I love Jehoshaphat’s instruction to these judges, “you judge not for man but for the Lord.  He is with you . . . there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes”  vs. 6-7.  Wouldn’t it be great if in our country, we could instruct our judges that way?  Wouldn’t it be great to see political, judicial, and executive branch officials working under those instructions?  While I recognize the U.S. is not a theocracy I pray daily for my county and my church to fear God and live under His Word.  While I do not equate the U.S. with the nation of Israel, I do pray for justice, righteousness in our country.  I certainly expect the leaders of our churches to be held to this standard.

Next, in verse 8ff,  he appoints  “certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel with a similar mandate.  His instructions are clear:  Amariah is over you and the king reminds them that these Levites and priests and heads of families are accountable to God.  These Levites and priests are to warn, which I take to mean that when they rule or decide a case, in their reasoning, they are to teach why a certain violation is against God’s law.  If I am stealing money from my boss, I need to be told why it is wrong, not just that it is wrong.

Some who are reading this may not have any relationship with this church or do not attend this church.  So, permit me a word of advice.  You want to be under people that are teaching you the entire Bible.  Be in a church where God is loved and respected enough that His Word is heard and obeyed.  There is no substitute for a constant diet of solid, God-exalting, human pride-condemning, reverent preaching of His Word and the teaching of His Word.  You need to hear the ‘why’ of God’s truth so you develop a Biblical world-view.

Jehoshaphat provides godly leadership and instruction on this passage. First, they were to carry out their responsibilities . . .

  1. In the fear of the Lord
  2. In faithfulness
  3. And with a whole heart.

Can we find 3 better or more clear instructions?  Then the king reminds them that all teaching requires warning.  For instance, “always have the lock on your gun.”  “Don’t drive over the yellow line.”  This is way the Chronicler puts it: “then you shall warn them, that they may not incur guilt before the LORD and wrath may not come upon you and your brothers.”  Warning people is a part of loving people.  On the one hand, of course, we should be accepting, loving, and encouraging.  On the other hand, our teaching and leading should be sprinkled in with earnest, heart-felt warnings.

Don’t you love the king’s last encouraging words, “Deal courageously, and may the Lord be with the upright!”  It has always taken courage to follow the Lord.  Our age is no different.  As wicked as our country is, is it worse than the first century?  So, be courageous and live for the Lord.  And the second part of King Jehoshaphat’s words will be fulfilled; the Lord will be with the upright.  After all is said and done, what more can we ask for than God’s presence is with us?

Dear loving, kind, and heavenly Father.  You dwell in unapproachable glory surrounded by heavenly hosts that praise your eternal worth.  How glorious is Your splendor.  Lord, we are not in the position of ordering Levites and priests.  Yet, we have a role to play in Your kingdom.  May we live every moment 1) in the fear of the Lord, 2) in faithfulness to You, 3) and serve You with a whole heart.  You are worthy of our meager service.  To be called a servant of the eternal, infinite, glorious King far outweighs any honor we could receive on earth.  May Jesus Christ be praised!