Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord. Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.” 2 Chronicles 19.1-3
I find an element of peace in this passage. Jehoshaphat had allied himself with God’s enemies and is here rebuked for that. May we always see in scripture the activities that are condemned so they may be avoided (i.e., Rom. 1.24-31; Eph. 4.25-31; Col. 3.5-8) I never want to find myself on the side of God’s enemies, however we all know that there are times when we look around and know we are standing in the wrong. But God’s Word (through the prophet Jehu) offers more to Jehoshaphat.
Think of the benefit that could be derived from a house call by the Word of God; evaluating whether we are good or bad. But this is not some great mystery. Jehu not only says ‘bad’ and ‘good’ but gives the criteria for why. Jehoshaphat’s bad actions are condemned, and the positive traits identified are that he has a heart that seeks God and has removed idols from the land (actions that have issued forth from that heart).
Although I don’t read it in scripture, I wonder if Jehoshaphat sat down and meditated on this information. It seems that Jehu is presenting the king with a choice. Jehoshaphat can continue to be an ally of those who are God’s enemies, or he can pursue righteousness. The next verse tells us that he went out preaching; “[bringing the people] back to the LORD, the God of their fathers”. He continues to act in righteousness for the remainder of chapter 19, but another battle looms.
In the next chapter, facing insurmountable foes, Jehu proclaims a national fast (3) and prays for help. His prayer ends admirably; telling God “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”. Can we pray this way? I want to be a follower of God, and at times I do not know what the right thing is to do. But may my heart always be looking to see what God will do, so I can follow His lead.