King Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah under the divided kingdom of Israel. He is first introduced in 1 Kings 15:24. He was 35 years old when he began his reign (1 Kings 22:42). He reigned 25 years (from approximately 873 to 848 BC). He was the son of Asa (1 Kings 15:24). Jehoshaphat did right in the sight of the Lord like his father (1 Kings 22:43; 1 Kings 15:8-14). However, Jehoshaphat got misdirected along the way (2 Chronicles 19:1-2).
This misdirection came from being carried away in the moment. Jehoshaphat allied himself with someone who did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not seek wise counsel (2 Chronicles 18:1-7). When Jehoshaphat gave his allegiance to Ahab, King of Israel, he aligned himself with helping those who were wicked and loved those who hated the Lord (2 Chronicles 18:7-27).
Why this blast from the past? It serves as an illustration. Misdirection can happen to Kings and prophets, so why not you? In Galatians Paul talks about “agitators” (Galatians 5:12). They have misled people. Peter did this intentionally out of fear (Galatians 2:11-13). Others did it for self-exaltation and to promote division (Galatians 4:17-18). Regardless of the motive, those who were being seduced or misled were aliening themselves with a message contrary to truth (Galatians 1:6-9).
When one is caught up in misdirection and it leads them down the path of sin, it can often be hard to “face the music”. Sometimes we need a healthy rebuking. That is, we need someone who loves us and loves God to express their disapproval of our actions and make it known to us.
As brothers and sisters in Christ we need one another in order to grow. Often it is easy to love someone so much that we hate them. By that I mean, we turn a blind eye to their sin in order to maintain their friendship. This is not the example that Scripture shows us. In fact, if we stand up for truth in the face of “agitators” a great deal of transformation is possible. Just look at what happened to Jehoshaphat:
“Jephoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.”
Sometimes, we need to check one another before we wreck one another. The result can lead to repentance of sins and produce powerful agents for God and his word. Jehoshaphat set his heart to seek God (v.3) and in doing so evangelized the Northern most part of the Kingdom to the Southern most part. Basically, Jehoshaphat was set on fire due to the grace that he understood he had received and set about spreading the good news. This came through the rebuking that he had received. Jehoshaphat reformed himself, reformed the body, and brought people to the Lord. Are we showing the love of God by being the voice of reason and truth for our friends (Galatians 5:13-14)? Are we allowing the wise council of friends and mentors to penetrate our hearts in order that we might come back to the truth of the gospel? Or, are we possibly hitching our wagon to the voice of misdirection?