Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat.
Four kings of Judah following Solomon whose combined reigns total eighty-six years. Asa reigned the longest. Abijah the shortest. But Jehoshaphat gets more space – almost as much as the other three put together.
Jehoshaphat was an ideal king. Many years later, Josiah will attempt a tremendous spiritual revival among God’s people, but Jehoshaphat’s is more significant.
Jehoshaphat is more significant because of his character. He “walked in the ways of his father David,” and he “did not consult” idols. Jehoshaphat “sought the God of his father and followed His commands” and his “heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord.”
But Jehoshaphat is also significant because of the way in which he tried to effect spiritual renewal in Judah. Rather than just oppose idolatry or issue calls to faithfulness and gathering at the temple, Jehoshaphat sent missionaries through the land. These were not just prophets, but “officials” (princes) accompanied by Levites. Thus spiritual development was not just taught, but modeled by leadership.
Spiritual development takes place best when respected members of the community not only model that development, but also teach it to people in the pew, showing by their lives and their words that the way of the Lord is important.