Suggested reading: II Chronicles 20:31-35
“The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does, not by what we are and what we do for him.” (Rom. 12:3 MSG)
It’s nice to know not everyone in the Bible was perfect (as we sometimes imagine). Even the greatest kings and prophets had their tragic short-comings.
One of my favorite examples is Jehoshaphat, son of King David. We’re told he was powerful (2 Chron. 17:12), wealthy (2 Chron. 18:1), a reformer (2 Chron. 19:4), a spiritual leader (2 Chron. 19:9, 11), a worshiper (2 Chron. 20:18), successful (2 Chron. 20:25), and he ruled at length (2 Chron. 20:31).
When faced with seemingly impossible odds, his first response was to request help from the Lord (2 Chron. 20:6-12) and encourage the people of Judah to do the same. His God-focus was deeply inspiring along with the victory he didn’t even have to fight for (2 Chron. 20:17). His response to deliverance was textbook “Bible-hero” as he fell on his face to thank the Lord. One could read his biography and quickly yearn to live up to the high standards of spirituality represented.
However, the story abruptly ends on a sour note: “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” (2 Chron. 20:37)
Even heroes can fall head-first off the peaks of spiritual triumph. It only took one slip of judgment and Jehoshaphat was flat on his face. His focus on God was distracted for just a moment, but that’s all it took for pride to take over. Jesus tells us, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
It’s only through His grace we are allowed to walk this earth another day; let’s keep our eyes focused on Him at every moment because we never know which one will be our last.
Thank you, Jesus, for your mercy that sings new every morning. Let me never think of myself in any other way then in sober judgment according to the faith you have generously given me. Keep my eyes continuously focused on You.
I’m thankful that God didn’t leave the bad stuff out of His Book. He allows us to see the good along with the bad to show us what can happen if we allow Him to work through us, but He also allows to see the bad in His servants to let us know that if we take our eyes of of Him for one second, we too can fall.
Thanks for the post!
Well written. I give it 5 stars!
Thanks Mike! I love these types of stories, it shows they were just as human as we are and God allowed them to experience consequences just like us. 3 chapters of fabulousness dedicated to Jehoshaphat and he blows it all in the last 3 verses of his story! Also goes to show even the most faithful servants are vulnerable to the pitfalls of pride!