By Mike Kemper
Retired Baptist Pastor & Director of Missions
Living life that sets a good example for others, especially for your own children and family is a worthy effort. King Asa, though he had his failures, had sought to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
He had acted with courage strengthening himself and his people commanding religious reform, destroying idols and renovating the temple. The result was blessings from God, giving victory over enemies and a time of peace and prosperity.
No doubt as a child, Jehoshaphat had seen the good example of his father and he followed Asa’s lead to honor and seek the Lord throughout his reign as king of Judah. The result of following his father’s legacy resulted in more blessings from God.
Jehoshaphat and the southern kingdom had determined to follow the Lord. Jehoshaphat did not seek Baals (the false gods of nature), advocated by Israel’s King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.
This idolatrous practice of the northern tribe had resulted in Asa’s hostility to his kinsmen and continued under Jehoshaphat, at least early on in his reign.
Not only does Jehoshaphat continue to remove idolatry from the land, he wisely realizes it is not enough to simply condemn what is wrong and seek to remove bad influences. You must lead the people to fill their lives with the genuine and fulfilling worship of the one true God.
Condemning evil practices is less than half of the battle. We must do that, but we must go full speed ahead to quickly replace what we condemn with what is good. What is good and best is to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.”
Asa had taken steps to reform and Jehoshaphat continued that reform. But he took the next important step to establish teaching and training centers to educate and inform the people as to the Word of the Lord. The teachers were five government people, and church people consisting of nine Levites and two priests.
Jehoshaphat evidently recognized the importance that leaders of the people teach them from the books of the Law, the Pentateuch — the first five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
The need today, as then, is not only to stand against evil and wrong, to make reforms, but even more so, to make disciples, true followers who are being taught, learning, and applying the Word of God to their lives.
People must know the Word of God in order to keep it. We, too, must set the example carrying the task all the way to spiritual growth and maturity.
As a result of Jehoshaphat’s initiatives, the “terror of the Lord was on all the kingdoms of the lands that surrounded Judah, so they didn’t fight against Jehoshaphat.”
The influence of godly leaders and people affect those around us in a positive way. Genuine followers of the Lord who obey and practice God’s Word will gain attention from those in our family and others around us. How needful is that kind of influence in our day?
What will be our legacy, to our children, neighbors, community and even our nation? Are we concerned about leaving wealth and possessions, or better, are we concerning ourselves about setting good examples of faith, a life of love and obedience to our God.
Make every effort to invest in others, establishing and teaching others the way and Word of the Lord God. Wealth and possessions are temporary, but spiritual possessions and a godly legacy will deliver current and eternal blessing.