What does it say?
Returning from the joint military excursion into Syria with Ahab, Jehoshaphat concentrates on legal reforms in Judah (2Chr 19). He sets up a system of civil judges in the cities of Judah and a court of appeals in Jerusalem.
The Moabites, Ammonites and a few Meunites come against Judah from beyond the (Dead) sea (2Chr 20). Jehoshaphat responds by declaring nationwide fasting and prayer. God promises victory and states that the battle is his, not Jehoshaphat’s. Despite his great faith, Jehoshaphat fails to deal with the high places that had been set up and once again enters into an alliance with evil king Ahaziah of Israel.
Jehoram follows his father Jehoshaphat but is more influenced by his wife, the daughter of Ahab, than by his godly father (2Chr 21). The Edomites and Philistines rise up against him and Elijah sends him a letter of rebuke and warning. According to Elijah’s prophecy, Jehoram dies of an internal disease. Jehoahaz (21:17) is an alternate spelling of Ahaziah (22:1).
Ahaziah follows the evil ways of his father and mother, joins Joram of Israel against the Syrians and both are killed in a purging by Jehu (2Chr 22). The queen mother Athaliah seizes the opportunity to take the throne by killing the other royal heirs, except for the infant Joash, taken by the wife of the high priest and hidden in the temple for six years. In the seventh year the high priest Jehoiada reveals that Joash was alive as the Levites and priests lead an uprising to remove and kill the usurper Athaliah to restore the rightful monarch to the throne (2Chr 23).
What does it mean?
A key feature of this passage is the contrast between the godly Jehoshaphat and the other kings of both Israel and Judah in this section of Chronicles. 2 Chronicles 20 is the best glimpse into Jehoshaphat’s heart. In 2Chr 22:17 God speaks through Jahaziel who tells the people that the battle is the Lord’s and that they should fear not. Some form of this command to fear not or do not fear appears 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year. Jehoshaphat makes the right decision and obeys God.
How will I respond?
What am I afraid of right now? Is there a big decision coming up, an issue at work or with a friend? Because Jehoshaphat feared God, he needed not to fear anything or anyone else. What is it that I can turn over to God today to be his battle and not mine? What is it that I will choose not to fear today?