This morning, in reading 2 Chronicles 17, I found another hero. The inspired testimony of Jehoshaphat thrilled me. Allow me to summarize his spiritual resume:
- He abandoned the spiritual duplicity practiced by his father.
- He sought God.
- He walked faithfully after God.
- He had a courageous heart in the ways of the Lord.
- He took out the pagan high places left which had been left standing in Judah.
- He protected his people.
- He taught his people by sending priests to teach the Law throughout the kingdom.
- Therefore, the Lord was with him.
- Therefore, the Lord established the kingdom in his hand.
- Therefore, the Lord caused fear to fall on all his neighbors.
Friends, both internally and externally, Jehoshaphat worshiped the Lord. He was a hearer and a doer of the Word. He was careful to avoid both sins of commission and omission. He was considerate of God and his neighbor, and he was diligent to protect and teach all placed within his realm of authority. Would not such a man make a great husband, father, employer, elder, and governmental representative? Jehoshaphat is worthy of respect and honor. In many ways, after reading this one chapter, Jehoshaphat is a new hero of mine; and more of his godly legacy is yet to come in the following chapters. Perhaps Christ will grow me to be such a faithful husband, father, and elder as was Saint Jehoshaphat.
And for some my more critical friends, I am very aware that Jesus Christ was the only fully good man. He alone walked the earth in perfect holiness and obedience. He alone served the Heavenly Father with all his heart and strength. Christ alone loved his neighbor properly. Therefore, Jesus Christ stands head and shoulders above all men. However, Christ’s work is not limited to substitutionary atonement. He has great ability to make holy worshipers out of totally deprave sinners, and Scripture is full of men who walked after the model and instruction of Christ and became exemplary in some area of their life. Therefore, while Christ is my highest and ultimate hero, he is not my only hero. I might suggest that ministers and believers can have a Christocentric view of the Old Testament, and yet preach sermons which highlight heroes, heroines and their habits, without being guilty of preaching Moralistic Sermons. Jehoshaphat is not without sin. Jehoshaphat is not my ultimate model. Jehoshaphat is not my Savior. Jehoshaphat cannot help me. Jehoshaphat is someone born with original sin, transformed by the Holy Spirit, and ultimately lived a fairly “saintly life” during his days on earth. Therefore, as I worship Christ alone, and trust in Christ alone, I focus not on Christ alone, but also on the examples of grace Christ has given us in sacred Scripture.
Therefore, rest in Christ … talk with Christ … hope in Christ … be transformed by Christ … and in doing so you will look more like Christ and Saint Jehoshaphat.