2 Chronicles 17-20 focuses exclusively on King Jehoshaphat of Judah and tells us far more about his reign than the single chapter in 1 Kings 22. It is interesting to me how it has been said of a number of kings that they “removed the high places and the sacred poles” from their country. (See 2 Chronicles 17:6.) This suggests that worship of other gods kept cropping up in Israel.
Yet here we read of Jehoshaphat doing something that none of the other kings had done before him. He appointed officials to teach in the cities of Judah and sent Levites along with them. “They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.” (2 Chronicles 17:9) This sounds very similar to the ministry of Ezra after the exile, so we can understand why Ezra, or whoever wrote Chronicles in the post-exilic period, would tell this story about Jehoshaphat’s reign.
Chapter 18 relates the story of Jehoshaphat joining forces with King Ahab of Israel. (Notice how we hear nothing else about wicked King Ahab, or his wife Jezebel, or the ministry of Elijah the prophet.) Unlike the Book of Kings, the Chronicler finds fault with Jehoshaphat for uniting with Ahab. (See 2 Chronicles 19:1-3.)
Chapter 19 records how Jehoshaphat did yet another good thing that no other king had done before him. He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, including certain Levites and priests to serve in this capacity in Jerusalem. Again, this would have been of special interest to Ezra since he wished to highlight the role of the priests and Levites.
Chapter 20 gives us a detailed analysis of how Jehoshaphat responded when the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came against him. Rather than simply rallying his troops, Jehoshaphat set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
Many years ago I preached a sermon on this chapter all about spiritual warfare and the lessons we can learn from Jehoshaphat. Here is an outline of 2 Chronicles 20….
I. We are in a spiritual battle (verses 1-2).
II. We need to turn our attention to seek the Lord (verse 3).
A. Fast (verse 3).
B. Pray (verses 4-5).
C. Everyone stand before the Lord (verse 13).
III. Expect the Lord to respond (verses 14-15).
IV. Don’t fear; the battle is the Lord’s (verse 15).
V. Position yourself where God wants you (verse 16).
A. Discover your gifts.
B. Use your gifts.
VI. Don’t fight; stand and see God act (verse 17).
VII. Worship and trust the Lord (verses 18-20, 35-37).
VIII. The battle will be won in prayer and praise (21-25).
IX. Give God the glory when the battle is done (verse 26).
X. The results of God’s victory will be:
A. Joy (verses 27-28).
B. Awe toward God (verse 29).
C. Peace for God’s people (verse 30).