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him and said to him, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord ? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.” Thus we are taught to avoid evil alli
God is angry with those who join the ungodly, love them, and help them, that is, help them by countenancing them in their evil doings. We see too that no good, but only evil
, ever comes from such alliances. Jehoshaphat did not gain the end for which he joined this king. In many ways he hurt himself. They were both beaten in the battle against Ramoth-gilead. He had to countenance Ahab while consulting the false prophets of Baal. And in the battle he himself was all but slain.
This was the king of Judah's first offence in this way. But he was guilty of a similar offence later in life. So we read, “And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly. And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish.” Here also he was unsuccessful. God would not bless his work. Another prophet reproved him.
Eliezer prophecied against Jehoshaphat, “saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath
broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.."
This seems to have been Jehoshaphat's greatest temptation : to join the ungodly.
It is still a strong temptation to the people of God. They often have a difficult path to pursue in their dealings with the ungodly. The men of this world and the sons of God are so mixed up in this world, it is impossible to avoid at times being brought much together. Yet there is undoubtedly a line of separation which ought to be carefully observed by the people of God. Men of the world are not desirous that that difference should exist, for it often reflects on their ungodliness, and is a silent reproof of their evil doings. They will therefore often try to make the godly to slur over that difference, and act together with themselves, making their difference of religious views a light matter. Thus are the people of God tempted to make sinful friendships and love them that hate the Lord, and sinful alliances, countenancing the ungodly and uniting themselves with them. They bring reproach upon the cause of truth. They entangle themselves in evil and worldly courses. They lose their savour
as salt. They dim their light of grace. They wound their own and their brethren's consciences. And they are corrected of the Lord.
But Jehoşhaphat is also famous for his good points. The prophet, who reproved him said, “Nevertheless, there are good things found in thee." Let us now notice some of these.
Jehoshaphat was in many respects the pattern of what a king ought to be.' One of “the good things found in him” was this. He took care that his people had good judges among them, who would see that they had justice done them. He not only gave them judges which they had not, but did his best to give them good judges. “He set judges in the land, throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, take heed what ye do, for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you ; take heed and do it; for there is no iniquity in the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts."
Another good thing found in this king was that he made provision not only for the bodies, but also for the souls of his people.
He not only gave them judges to decide their temporal affairs, but he gave them Priests and Levites, to teach them concerning spiritual things, and “the law and commandments and statutes and judgments of the Lord.” xix. 8-11.
See too the good consequences of this righteous proceeding on his kingdom at large. His reign was prosperous, and free from all inward disturbances. He ruled a united people, who all acted together as one man in the common cause of the good of the kingdom, and in defence against enemies. “So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet : for his God gave him rest round about.”
Thus does God ever keep His promises, whether to a nation or a person, a king or a poor man.
“ Them that honor Him He honors."
But another good thing found in this king was that he was a man of prayer. A A time of trouble came upon him and found him not wanting in confidence in his God to whom he sought in the time of difficulty. As it is said of him, “He prepared his heart to seek God."
This trouble came from an enemy that rose up against him. And his conduct on this occasion forms a chief part of his history
as given us here. Such instances of faith and prayer are mentioned not only as best describing the character of the person, but also as being suited for our imitation. We cannot copy many things which as a king Jehoshaphat did, but what as a godly man he did we can.
There came tidings to the king, one day, that a great multitude was come up against him. We read at once after that, that Jehoshaphat “Set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah : and Judah gathered themselves to ask help of the Lord : even out of all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord.” We then have the prayer that the king offered up at that time. (ver. 6—12.) The character of the prayer showed his faith. It was a written form of prayer ; but it was by no means a formal prayer. There was the life of faith and a fervency in it. He appealed to God, as the author of all power and might. As “Him who ruled over all kingdoms, and in whose hand was all power and might.” He appealed to God as a God of faithfulness to keep the promise He had made to “Abraham His friend," of the land of Israel. He also put God, as it were, in remembrance of Solomon's dedication of