Sharon W. Betters
You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you (2 Chronicles 20:17, ESV).
Over the next few weeks, I will wrap up our Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope series with a look into the life of King Jehoshaphat. Scriptures track the life of Jehoshaphat from the age of thirty-five until his death at the age of sixty. We can get a sense of his childhood when we study the reign of his father, King Asa.
I hope you were encouraged as we took time to Journey to Easter together these past 4 weeks. Now it’s time to wrap up our Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope series with a look into the life of King Jehoshaphat.
We had peeked into the lives of Anna, Hannah, and Mary. Although we only got a glimpse into one period of their lives, we learned that their practices of worship and trusting God prepared them for unexpected life crises. Their auto-responses to shattering news and unexpected twists and turns in their pilgrimage challenge us to consider how we, too, can build systems into our lives that become our auto-responses to dark and despairing days. These women mentor us. They are spiritual mothers and still speak, even though they are physically dead. I look forward to sitting at their feet in heaven.
Scriptures track the life of Jehoshaphat from the age of thirty-five until his death at the age of sixty. We can get a sense of his childhood when we study the reign of his father, King Asa.
I chose to end our Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope devotional series with the story of Jehoshaphat because his life mirrors so many of our own. Like us, he is on a pilgrimage through life. We meet him as he displays his love for God’s Word in the way he begins his reign. The king not only leads with spiritual strength and commitment to walk in obedience and worship of the one true God, but he also calls on the people of Judah to do the same. Yet along the way, we will watch him stumble, make unwise choices, and sin by depending on his own wisdom rather than God’s. There are many teaching moments in his pilgrimage that will help fuel our own pilgrimage with hope. We will view his life through the grid of the promise of 2 Timothy 4:16-17:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The first time I remember hearing about this man still burns in my heart. Since then his story has been one of my favorites because his pilgrimage offers such practical help and hope for my own journey. I sat on the edge of my seat as Chuck took the congregation on a journey through Jehoshaphat’s life, especially as we arrived at that tender yet life-giving moment when Jehoshaphat whispers – or did he cry out:
We are powerless to fight this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You (2 Chronicles 20:12, ESV).
Tears well up in my eyes when I remember how helpless I felt in my own journey. Hoards of grief followed me everywhere, every minute. No matter what I tried to alleviate the sorrow and get out of the bottomless abyss, I felt no relief or break in the ache in my chest. Jehoshaphat’s prayer flew like an arrow into my shattered heart and from that moment, his words became my whispered and often loud lament: “Lord, Oh Lord, please Lord, this massive hoard of grief and despair unrelentingly covers me. I don’t know what to do. My eyes are fixed on You.”
The beauty of Jehoshaphat is that we see him in this place of total weakness after observing him live a life that pleased God but also made decisions against God’s wishes. He suffered the consequences of depending on his own wisdom. In this chapter of his life, he demonstrates how humbling himself before God taught him life-giving lessons that helped prepare him for the battle of his life. In this vignette, we observe a man who learned that he was not wise enough or strong enough to lead God’s people. We watch grace cover him when he repents and we learn that God’s grace is available to us in the middle of our sinfulness as well.
Join me as Jehoshaphat‘s life unfolds and we observe a pilgrimage fueled by hope.
Treasured by Him,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.
Originally published Sunday, 06 March 2022.