2 Chronicles 21 (Vs 3-4) "And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat … But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments... (Vs 9-10) And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands...
2 Chronicles 20 (Vs 2-4) "... There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea … And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD."
It's been an awesome experience and privilege to be a father these past seven weeks! Though he is just a newborn, I look forward to my son's future and to the role he will be taking in service to God. Considering that goal, I was reminded of a very important parenting principle that I read a couple of weeks ago in my personal devotions.
There was a king whose name was Jehoram whose reign of Judah could be summed up in these verses, "...so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers....and departed without being desired." Now this may seem like a typical king's reign who was wicked from the start and got the judgment that was coming to him - BUT what is interesting here is that he came out of a godly home! His father's name was Jehoshaphat, a king who had a godly reign. The Bible gives a glimpse of his reign:
You see, King Jehoshaphat was a man who feared the Lord, he made it a priority that his kingdom knew God's Word, and he caused them to seek after God in times of tribulation! How is it that Jehoram turned out to be one of the worst and most wicked kings to have ever ruled God's people when his father had this type of testimony? The answer can be found in 2 Chronicles 21:4, "And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD." Why is this relevant? Well, back in chapter 18, King Jehoshaphat befriended wicked king Ahab and went to war together. It was perhaps here where his son, Jehoram, assumed that if it was okay for his daddy to strive with unbelievers, maybe he could as well! It might have been here where he saw Ahab's pretty daughter and thought, "If my dad is okay with her dad, I might have a chance with her!". Though we don't know for sure what specifically tripped up Jehoram, we do know that the common denominator between King Jehoshaphat's shortcomings and his son's downfall was wicked Ahab and his daughter! King Jehoram abandoned what his father had taught him all those years and was swayed by the wicked lifestyle of Ahab's daughter! His father's alliance with Ahab had a serious unintended consequence!
How does this relate to parenting (and even our working with others)? Jehoshaphat probably didn't think anything of his ungodly friendship because he was a mature believer. In his mind, he probably shrugged off the bad experience. However, his son who was younger at that time, didn't have as much spiritual discernment! He saw his father's example and took it a step further! Pastor Esposito would often say, "What we do in moderation, our followers will do in excess". This makes me wonder what might exist in my life today that can have unintended consequences for my son in the future. Is it a bad habit, a besetting sin, or a fleshly spirit at times? Might it be a worldly appetite that steals my son's appetite for God? I'm sure Jehoshaphat never intended his son to turn out the way he did, but because he was careless in front of him - despite being a godly king, he lost his son's godly future.
May we as Christians walk circumspectly in this world before our families and those we serve, because we can't pick and choose how they choose to be influenced by our examples!
Pride distances us from God’s blessings because pride removes God from our minds.
When we prioritize God as Jehoshaphat did, we unlock blessings that have a profound impact on our lives.