And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel.
2 Chronicles 17:3-5
I. It is an unspeakable blessing to have been born in the line of a Christian parentage. Much more than godly instruction and example is involved in the blessing. By a mysterious law of God's government, tendencies in character spring from the line of natural descent. It is a great thing to have had that fountain of our moral being purified and vitalised by the grace of God.
II. The religion of our fathers, because it is such, has a strong presumptive claim upon our faith. The presumption may be balanced by opposing evidence, but till it is thus neutralised it exists in the case of every man.
III. It is one of the Divine laws of the increase of the Church that the children of Christian parents should themselves be Christians. There is a law of Christian nurture by which, through the grace of God, every Christian family becomes a nursery of the Church of God.
IV. The imitation of a godly ancestry is peculiarly pleasing to God. God is pleased with honour paid to His own laws. When He has given to a young man the inestimable blessing of a Christian parentage, He looks to see the blessing recognised.
V. It is an act of signal and relentless guilt to break the line of a pious heritage by a godless life. A tripled and quadrupled cordon of spiritual influences must be charged and broken through. Such forces are never overcome but by the aid of opposing forces from the powers of darkness.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 89.
Reference: 2 Chronicles 17:5.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 264.
2 Chronicles 17:7-9I. Organisation. This scheme was originated and directed by one man. Ornamental committees will ruin any cause. Oneness of heart is deeper and stronger than an alphabetical list of names. There is a great deal of disunion under apparent concentration. Union of heart will carry us through all dangers; union of names will but multiply our perils.
II. The commission organised by Jehoshaphat was aggressive. The princes, the Levites, and the priests "went about through all the cities of Judah." It was an itinerant ministry. The Gospel is nothing if not aggressive. It must challenge attention; it must lift up its voice amid all competitors. It does not wait for battle; it begins it.
III. The commission which Jehoshaphat sent into the cities of Judah was educational. Those who were sent took with them the book of the Law of the Lord, and taught the people. What was the consequence? "The fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat." Religious teachers are better than armies. To magnify God is to take care of the nation.
Parker, City Temple, 1873, p. 357.
Reference: 2 Chronicles 18:6, 2 Chronicles 18:7.—T. R. Evans, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 198.
And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim;
But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.
And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests.
And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valour three hundred thousand.
And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand.
And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour.
And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand.
And next him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for the war.
These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.