My daily bible reading plan has had me reading through 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles for the last few weeks. I have to say: I'm tired of reading about those guys. The crazy kings of Israel and Judah get a little frustrating to read day after day after day! The last couple of days have been interesting though. I've been reading about Jehoshaphat.
Two key things jumped out at me as I read through Jehoshaphat's reign:
1. When Judah faced a threat so dire it could end the nation (2 Chronicles 20), he did not immediately jump into planning and preparing. He called for a time of fasting and prayer. He sought God and encouraged others to do the same. He did not discount the danger they faced, but he did seek God's counsel and intervention in his circumstances. This felt particularly relevant in light of our current circumstances. I was forced to ask myself difficult questions. Is my first instinct to seek the Lord when I face difficulty? Do I fill my eyes, mind, and spirit with the problem I face, or do I look into the face of Jesus through prayer, fasting, and worship?
2. Jehoshaphat ruled well and followed the Lord during his reign over Judah. He was a godly king, but something went wrong. When he died, his son Jehoram succeeded him to the throne (2 Chronicles 21). Then he went completely off the rails! Jehoram did evil in the eyes of the Lord and followed after other gods. He murdered his brothers and any officials who opposed him. He was - in essence - the anti-Jehoshaphat. This brought new questions to mind. For all the great things Jehoshaphat did, despite his own relationship with God, it did not get passed on to Jehoram. We don't know what went wrong, but I wonder if Jehoshaphat neglected to invite his son on the same journey toward God? The bible says Jehoram passed away "to no one's regret." That is a sad statement on his life.
These two things challenge me this week:
1. I need to seek God's plan in the face of any difficulty I face.
2. I need to invite my children to join me in my journey toward the King of Kings.