Here is a king who gets a rare write-up… “followed after David …didn’t worship Baal …removed the high places”. Yes we’ve read this of a few kings in Chronicles, and even over a few who’s epitaph ended badly. However, I’m not sure we’ve read,
“he sent his officials Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah”…”They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the LORD; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people”
Like the famous Josiah, Jehoshaphat was a reformer. Like his father David, he loved God’s word. He made sure the people heard God’s word. Given that these were the days before the synagogue, worship in the temple probably saw more emphasis on ritual and sacrifice than the preaching and teaching of God’s word. And yet Jehoshaphat put God’s word in the hands, ears, and hearts of the people. He organised a school of itinerant preachers! Dare I say it, this was the first ‘Conversations Key Mission Community’!
In the middle ages the Bible remained in Latin. However, by AD1400 John Wycliffe had brought the Bible into English language. For his trouble (although by then already dead) he was declared a heretic, exhumed, burnt, and ashes thrown away.
In our ‘reformed, protestant, evangelical, Anglican’ tradition (now there’s a mouthful) we treasure God’s word and give it a central place in our Sunday gatherings; have daily quiet times like FDR with God’s word open; and meet together around God’s word in midweek LifeGroups. Some of our critics say we have a paper pope and are slaves to the book. David would say, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” Ps 119:18.
The followers of Wycliffe in ye old merry England were called the ‘Bible Men’. But before we consider taking on that retro tag, perhaps we should be called the ‘Jehoshaphat Society’. Nope, can’t see that catching on. Even so, we should take a lesson from Jehoshaphat—God’s word is for the people everyday!
Meanwhile in Matthew, Jesus, the very Word of God is revealing himself as just that—he speaks and nature obeys his words; he speaks and demons obey his words; now notice he speaks forgiveness and a man is restored. This is the greatest messianic evidence of the three events. But notice too that back in ch 8:3, after Jesus heals the man with leprosy he sends him to the priests for final blessing and restoration into the community. However, this time in ch 9 Jesus doesn’t bother with priests. Jesus is putting the priesthood on notice that He is the final word of forgiveness and restoration.
Jesus is God’s final word for us, which makes us all the more eager to hang on his every true word to us from Scripture.
I hope your day has been richer for allowing God’s word to be central.