2 Chronicles 17:2
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…
It is concerning Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, this is said. He was a good king (see vers. 1-6). The one kingdom of Solomon was now disrupted into two. The northern kingdom, known as the kingdom of Israel, was specially given to idolatry, to Baal-worshipping. Along the somewhat irregular line separating the two kingdoms, Asa, the father of Jehoshaphat, had set fortified cities to resist the perpetual incursions of the Baal-worshipping northern kingdom. On coming to the throne, Jehoshaphat immediately saw that these fenced, fortified cities were in good repair, that their garrisons were strong. A young man I knew had charge of the woollen-room in a great wholesale house. His companion clerks were wild, roistering, dissipated, profane fellows. He was of necessity in the perpetual atmosphere of bad speech and profanity. It seemed to him sometimes very hard to withstand it all. What did he do? He did spiritually precisely what Jehoshaphat did physically: he stood his ground. He fortified and kept garrisoned his defences. Years afterward I saw that same man in high and prosperous place. He had won the confidence of his employers. Take you example of Jehoshaphat: place your fenced cities, set your garrisons. What sort of fortified and garrisoned cities ought we to set along the frontiers of our lives, that we may maintain them against encroaching evil?
I. I think the fortified and garrisoned city of A DISTINCT PLAN FOR LIFE. What do I propose to do with my life? That ought to be a question clearly conceived, and distinctly answered by every one of us. I have certain resources — time, talent, education, moral consciousness, etc. All sorts of sudden contingencies spring up in experience. All sorts of moral questions constantly occur. Shall I do this or that? Shall I enter into this or that business? Shall I allow myself in this or that pleasure, indulgence? They are at once met and, decided by the simple presence of the plan. This is Christ's suggestion of moral plan: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."
II. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of AN ENNOBLING LOVE. Jehoshaphat loved Jehovah better than the Baalim, therefore he could stand out against the Baalim. A high, pure love can always hold out against lower ones. The highest, holiest love is that for Christ.
III. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of QUICK VOLITION. Temporising, to save oneself from brave and instant choice of the right, is useless. It breaks down defences, scatters garrisons. In Thomas Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus" there is a very wonderful chapter on the "Everlasting No." There is a place where this "everlasting no" ought, even thunderously, to be uttered. That place is precisely where the tempting, urgent wrong begins to solicit.
IV. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of THE DAILY PRAYER.
(W. Hoyt, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.