The Legacy of Jehoshaphat: A Blueprint for Spiritual Growth and Leadership

Gary Bird

In a time when the kingdoms of Israel were plagued by internal strife and external threats, King Jehoshaphat ascended the throne of Judah with a heavy mantle of responsibility. 
Yet, he chose a path unlike many of his contemporaries. He didn't seek alliances through political marriages or military conquests. Instead, Jehoshaphat looked to the laws of God to guide him. 
It was a choice that not only fortified his personal life but poured out blessings into his public reign, offering timeless lessons for spiritual growth and effective leadership.

II Chronicles 17:4 “but sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.”

Jehoshaphat’s story starts on an intimate note. II Chronicles 17:4 reveals that he sought the God of his Father and walked in His commandments. Blessings, as we often forget, begin in our personal life. The relationship we have with God in our private lives lays the foundation for all that we do. 

II Chronicles 17:5 “Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.”

In verse 5, the private blessings Jehoshaphat received began to spill over into his public life. His kingdom prospered because his personal life was aligned with God’s will. When our hearts and minds are in the right place, it's only natural that our outward actions follow suit.


Step 1: Removing the High Places

Jehoshaphat understood that any positive change starts with removing the negatives. He took away the "high places" and idols, emphasizing that spiritual growth often requires us to shrink first. Before we can add, we must subtract — shedding worldly distractions and personal idols. This is often where Christians get stuck; they aim for growth without recognizing the need for pruning.

Step 2: The Importance of Teaching 

After purging the nation of its spiritual hindrances, Jehoshaphat took on the role of a teacher. He educated his leaders and princes, who in turn, would guide the people. Leadership is not about dictating; it's about educating. It's a chain of knowledge and responsibility that starts with the individual. A leader's actions must echo their words; otherwise, their leadership is compromised.

When Jehoshaphat placed God at the forefront of his life and leadership, three significant blessings manifested:

II Chronicles 17:10 “And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.”

In the life of Jehoshaphat, we see that his commitment to God led to peace throughout his lands. Today, the concept of peace is perhaps even more relevant for Christians who navigate through life's challenges. This is not merely peace in the worldly sense, but it is the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). 

By putting God first, Jehoshaphat enjoyed peace in his reign, and we too can experience an inner tranquility that defies earthly trials. In a world marked by stress and strife, the peace offered through a relationship with Christ is invaluable.

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27). This peace, once internalized, also affects our external world, bringing harmony to our families, workplaces, and churches.


II Chronicles 17:11-12 “Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats. And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.”

Jehoshaphat's reign was marked not just by survival but by thriving prosperity. Similarly, the Christian life is not meant to be one of mere subsistence; it's designed to be abundant. "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). 

Prosperity, in this biblical sense, is not limited to material wealth. It extends to spiritual richness, healthy relationships, contentment and fulfilling purpose. While God does provide for our material needs—"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19)—true prosperity manifests in a life well-lived for God, impacting others positively and leaving a lasting legacy.


II Chronicles 17:13 “And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.”

Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was fortified with divine power, making it resilient against adversaries. The New Testament tells us that Christians can tap into this same power. Jesus declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This power isn't just for extraordinary feats but for daily living—overcoming temptations, enduring hardships, and influencing others for Christ. Paul emphasized this when he said, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

In essence, when we prioritize God as Jehoshaphat did, we unlock blessings that have a profound impact on our lives. These aren't just ancient promises but current realities, accessible through a life committed to Christ. By internalizing the lessons from Jehoshaphat’s life, we can experience peace that calms our storms, prosperity that transcends material wealth, and power that equips us for spiritual warfare. 

In conclusion, the life of King Jehoshaphat serves as an enduring model for any Christian seeking spiritual growth and effective leadership. By focusing first on his relationship with God, removing distractions, and embracing the role of a teacher, he set his kingdom on a path to peace, prosperity,
and power.

The same blessings await us when we align our lives with God's word and seek to influence others for the sake of Christ.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He teaches an Adult Sunday School, directs the Bus Ministry, and oversees the Earning for Learning and Rest Home Ministry programs. He and his wife are blessed with five children.

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