Lesson 7

The Good and the Bad Days of King Jehoshaphat

(2 Chronicles 17-20)
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Introduction: Remember King Asa? He cleaned out all the false gods and even deposed his own grandmother because of her improper worship of false gods! God gave him a glorious victory against an enemy force because he trusted in God. At the end of his life, however, he wandered from the faith of his youth. He seemed to be annoyed with God because God had rebuked him. The Bible suggests that King Asa died of a foot ailment -- an ailment for which he did not seek God's help. This week we turn our study to Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa.

  1. The New King

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 17:1-2. What is King Jehoshaphat worried about? (His brothers to the north, the ten tribes which compromise Israel.)

      1. If this were all the information you had available, would you conclude that Jehoshaphat trusted God?

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 17:3-4. What kind of King was Jehoshaphat? (It tells us that he was faithful - at least in his early years.)

      1. This idea of falling away in the later years is something we have seen over and over with these kings. Should the "over 40 crowd" be worried?

      2. Verse 3 has a new statement. It says Jehoshaphat does not "consult" the Baals. What does that suggest about the other kings who followed Baal? (That they were getting direction for their life from these false gods.)

        1. Since these gods did not exist, whose guidance were these kings following? (They were doing what they wanted to do.)

          1. Is that an indication of "idol worship" today - that when all is said and done you do what you want to do?

          2. Is that the real danger for the "over 40 crowd?" With experience comes the tendency to trust yourself?

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 17:5. What is the result of Jehoshaphat's faithfulness to God?

      1. Would you like this for your life?

  2. Jehoshaphat and the GoBible Project

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 17:7-9. What program is Jehoshaphat instituting in Judah? (This is a GoBible project! He is promoting Bible teaching and Bible study in the kingdom.)

      1. Verse 6, that we skipped, tells us that Jehoshaphat, like the good kings before him, destroyed the idols of the false gods. He also destroyed the high places. How is Jehoshaphat different than his good predecessors? (He is not content to destroy the evil in the nation, but he actively promotes a greater knowledge of the true God.)

      2. What can we learn from this for our own life? Is it enough to simply seek to eliminate sin in our lives? Should we also seek to fill the "sin void" with a greater knowledge of God?

        1. Read Matthew 12:43-45. What do you think this little story means? (This is an odd story. The point, however, seems to be that simply sweeping clean our minds (kicking the evil out) is not good enough. We need to fill our minds with good things. If we do not fill our minds with the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of God, evil will return.)

        2. Have you ever seen this with a new believer? At first they are almost fanatical about what they will not do. Then they seem to quickly fall back into sin. How can we help this kind of new believer?

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 17:10. We get back to an old theme for the Kings that followed God. What does Jehoshaphat experience in his life? (Peace. Friend, when you follow God you have peace.)

  3. The Ahab Adventure

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 18:1-3. What do you think about making Ahab your ally? What does Solomon teach us about this? (2 Chronicles 21:6 tells us that Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, married a daughter of Ahab. Jehoram followed in Ahab's ways. This sounds like a very bad idea to me. An idea that caused his son to be lost.)

      1. Is there a connection between wealth and honor in your old age and staying from God?

      2. Why do you think Ahab gave Jehoshaphat such a grand welcome? (He wanted something from him.)

        1. What did Ahab want? (He wanted Jehoshaphat to help him attack Ramoth-Gilead. The Syrians had taken this city away and Ahab wanted to win it back.)

      3. Our text tells us that Jehoshaphat was growing richer and more honored. Was he growing wiser?

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 18:4. Does this restore your confidence in King Jehoshaphat?

      1. Compare the attitude of the young Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17:1 with his attitude towards the north now. (The north turns from the enemy to his brothers.)

      2. What do you think about Jehoshaphat first promising to help Ahab and second suggesting they consult God? Is this the proper order of decision-making?

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 18:5-6. What is the problem with these 400 prophets? (They are not prophets of God.)

    3. Read 2 Chronicles 18:7-8. What is wrong with asking a true prophet, Micaiah, for this opinion? (He never gives Ahab the answer that he wants!)

      1. Is this how you are with God? Have you ever said "I really do not want to find the Bible answer to my question because I might not like it?"

      2. Do we reject prophets because we do not like their advice?

    4. Read 2 Chronicles 18:9-11. What does the guy with horns on his head say will be the future? Isn't this the obvious answer? Four hundred prophets and one guy wearing horns could not possibly be wrong, right?

      1. Why do these prophets (v.11) get to talk about what the "Lord" will be doing? These are not God's prophets!

        1. What is the lesson here for us? (Evil advice sometimes gets dressed up as something good. Just because a prophet says he is speaking for God does not make it so.)

    5. Read 2 Chronicles 18:12. What is the strategy that Micaiah the true prophet should follow? What is on the line for him?

      1. What parallel do you see for your work, your life? (Do your co-workers, your family, say, "Just do what everyone else is doing. Don't stick out like a sore thumb?")

      2. Read 2 Chronicles 18:13. What is the true prophet's answer to this suggestion? (No.)

    6. Read 2 Chronicles 18:14-15. What kind of answer did the prophet give? Did the true prophet do exactly the opposite of what he was supposed to do? Is this what God said? Or, is he being obviously sarcastic?

      1. Which "king" is speaking in verse 15? (Jehoshaphat doesn't know this prophet. He would not be able to recount past conversations with him. On the other hand, this does not sound like something Ahab would say. Ahab wanted him to lie to him like the other 400 prophets.)

    7. Read 2 Chronicles 18:16-17. Who is the "master" of Israel? What do the words of the prophet mean? (Ahab is King of Israel. This is a prophecy that Ahab will die in the battle. This is confirmed in vv. 18-19)

    8. We are going to skip some pretty interesting reading in the next few verses. After this warning, after consulting God's true prophet and getting a negative response, King Jehoshaphat decides to go into battle with Ahab anyway. Read 2 Chronicles 18:28-30.

      1. What do you think about the battle strategy of the "good guys?"(If you ever thought Jehoshaphat was a "rocket scientist," you can disabuse yourself of that notion right now. Ahab says, "Let's do this. We'll enter battle together. I'll look like a regular soldier, and you will have a big fat target painted on your outfit." Jehoshaphat responds, "Good idea.")

      2. What do you think about the battle strategy of the "bad guys?" (Sounds smart. Take out the brains of the opposition. (If only they knew.))

    9. Read 2 Chronicles 18:31-32. Friend, are you glad to read this? What is the lesson in this for us? (We do not have to be smart, but we need to be faithful. Jehoshaphat was not very faithful here, but God was kind and saved him anyway.)

    10. Read 2 Chronicles 18:33-34. When the Bible says, "Someone drew his bow at random," it sounds like bad luck. Was it bad luck for Ahab? (No. The background we read shows this was not luck.)

      1. Where do brains and courage get you if you are unfaithful to God? (Nowhere in the end.)

  1. The Lesson

    1. Read 2 Chronicles 19:1-2. What so you think is the answer to Hanani's question?

      1. How does your life answer this question? Do you vote for the unrighteous? Do you ally yourself with the unrighteous?

      2. How can God's wrath be on Jehoshaphat when God just saved his life?

      3. This issue about being allied with the unrighteous is something that constantly bothers me about our religious liberty work. Our "religious liberty men" are generally lined up with the "unrighteous" against the "righteous."

    2. Read 2 Chronicles 20:2-4. What lesson has Jehoshaphat learned from his last combat experience? (He consults the Lord first!)

    3. If you have time, read the wonderful prayer of Jehoshaphat found in verses 5-12. The Holy Spirit gives the people an answer, let's read it in 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. Compare God's strategy with King Ahab's strategy? (God says "Just trust Me, and I will take care of the problem." Ahab said, "Why don't you wear a big bull's eye on you so we can beat them?")

      1. We read in v.3 that Jehoshaphat was at first "alarmed." Why does God tell him in v.17 not to be afraid? (Because God cares about us and our well-being.)

      2. 2 Chronicles 20:22 tells us that God defeated the invaders.

    4. Friend, the important life lesson in our study this week is to "trust and obey" our entire life. If we obey God and trust in Him (as opposed to ourselves) He will be with us and lift us up. How would you like to enter this "no worry" zone?

  2. Next Week: Judah: From Jehoram to Joash.

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