Faithful, cunning or both?

2 Chronicles 17

Sadly, in the promised land, Judah, the southern kingdom is at war with Israel, the northern kingdom. Jehoshaphat takes over the royal reins from his father Asa, but makes a few changes.

(Incidentally, the Bible refers to David as the father of Jehosaphat whereas we understand that his father was Asa and David was one of his forefathers before him.)

The point is made that Jehosaphat was godly like David, unlike his ungodly father Asa.

Jehosaphat came up with the bright idea of sending out special teachers of the law to the countryside – a sort of mobile Sunday- school. This had several ramifications:

  1. Some of the surrounding tribes were so over-awed by the stories of the military successes attribute to Yahweh, the God of the Jews, they decided not to risk war.
  2. Others decided a treaty might be better so they showered Jehosaphat with gifts such that he became rich and even more powerful.
  3. He used his new wealth to fortify his cities and pay an army to protect Jerusalem bringing peace to his kingdom.

Was Jehosaphat just being faithful to God or did he plan these extremely beneficial outcomes? Read on!

Matt 6: 25 – 34

This is not so much medical advice for a person suffering anxiety attacks but more de-stressing for the average Christian just trying to live in what can be a very difficult world. But, caution! It may conceal a very serious sin. The crime of Asa, Jehosaphat’s father, for which Yahweh held him liable, was that he did not trust his God (2 Chronicles 16). He bribed the King of Syria with treasure from God’s temple to become his ally and help him win all of his battles. He did not call upon God. Yes, he was successful in battle but not in God’s eyes! He died from a mysterious disease and the throne passed to his son Jehosaphat. It appears that Jehosaphat did exactly what Mathew is advising. Rather than use his wealth and power to shore up treaties around him like his father Asa had done, he used his resources to promote the law of God across his entire kingdom. He put his faith in God. Very cunning! The end result was the same but it was achieved through blessings that flowed from his godliness.

It’s easy to be like Asa, isn’t it? Identify the problem; come up with a plan; throw all your resources at it; achieve the desired outcome. Reads like a manifesto from an MBA. But it is much more faithful, and sometimes even very cunning to trust God and rely on him. Don’t be anxious, just walk the path that God has laid out before you and wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

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3 thoughts on “Faithful, cunning or both?

  1. Thanks Jim. Asa is something of worrying character with respect to his following the Lord. He starts of very well but does not finish well. – a bit like Solomon too. Probably like you, in my younger years I saw many burn brightly for the lord but they did not burn long. We all need to finish the race well – burn bright and long even.

  2. Thanks Jim for this insightful comment. Going our own way is like ‘second nature to me now’. mercifully God has made His ways available to us.

  3. Thanks Jim. It is so easy to sit here and read the follies of the OT characters, feeling superior and tsk-tsking. Your parallel reminds me to be watching my own motives.

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