An Imperfect Reformer

Jehoshaphat was an imperfect reformer.

He did not seek the Baals as other kings before him had (1 Chronicles 17:3). Instead, he sought God. As a result, all kinds of good things come:
- he fortifies cities
- he sends out teachers and judges of the law to the cities of Judah
- he calls Israel to faith when they are threatened by war
- he sends a choir ahead of the army to praise God
- he brought Israel back to Yahweh, from idols (19:4)
And yet, Jehoshaphat allies with wicked Ahab. He goes into battle with him, and puts himself in danger for Ahab’s selfish scheme. God protects Jehoshaphat in spite of his foolishness, kills Ahab), but rebukes him through a prophet: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate Yahweh?... Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God” (19:2-3).

In the next chapter, Jehoshaphat does great things, but then afterward, he allies with Ahab’s wicked son Ahaziah (20:35-37). He did the same thing with Ahab, and doesn’t seem to learn this lesson. God rebukes him again, and he loses the fleet he built.

Scripture shows the lives of saints as a mixture of faithfulness and sin. It isn’t always a simplistic bad to good, or good to bad. Solomon starts out faithful, falls into sin with his many wives, then at the end of his life writes the greatest wisdom literature ever. David is faithful in his dealings with Saul, but once he is king he is unfaithful in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba.

If God were to write your spiritual biography in a paragraph or two, like He did with the kings of Israel, what would it look like?

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