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We have related in this Chapter a further account of the reign of Jehoshaphat. He returns to his kingdom after the battle of Ramoth-gilead. He sets judges over the land.
2 Chronicles 19:1
No doubt the peace which is here spoken of, means the sense he had of the Lord's goodness in preserving his life in so critical a moment of danger at the battle. It is probable that by this time the mind of the king had been led to consider that he had been out of the path of duty, and therefore the mercy he had received was a double mercy, and being so widely distinguished from the fate of Ahab, he could not but return to his house and family in peace.
This Jehu was the son of that faithful prophet whom Asa his father put into prison for his faithfulness. A worthy son of so worthy a father. But let us remark rather the grace and mercy of the Lord towards Jehoshaphat. The Lord saved him in the day of battle, though the wrath of the Lord was upon him, as it is said. Reader! it is precious to behold how the Lord in the midst of judgment remembers mercy. Sweetly the Psalmist views this in his penitential supplication. If thou Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord who shall stand! But there is mercy, there is Jesus with thee. His blood and righteousness plead when iniquities testify against his children: Psalms 130:3-4 .
We hear of no complaint nor anger in Jehoshaphat, like that of Asa at the reproof of the prophet. But we find on the contrary, his heart setting about a greater reform in his kingdom. He abides at home at Jerusalem his capital, and goes no more to foreign wars. His going forth is only through his own kingdom, to look over the magistrates whom he had appointed to preside over the people. And what a pious charge is recorded here concerning his address to the judges. Nothing, surely, can afford a more lovely view than what is here held forth of Jehoshaphat. In every point, as a king, as a servant of the Lord, and as a friend of the people, Jehoshaphat appears illustrious indeed; and the Holy Ghost hath handed down his memory with great honor to all succeeding generations in the church.
Reader! let us pause over the history here presented to us, and gather from the perusal some of those sweet and interesting instructions which are presented to our meditation.
In the peaceable and happy return of Jehoshaphat to his house after so merciful a deliverance, let us learn to estimate divine mercies, and rightly to receive them. Is not every return to our house, to our families, to our home, a token of divine favour? And are not those mercies heightened if, at any time, like Jehoshaphat, we have gone out without prayer, without seeking the divine blessing, without divine direction; nay, perhaps, like Jehoshaphat, in opposition to the divine will and pleasure. Nay, more than these; when, as in the instance before us, our return to our house in peace hath been distinguished from others who, like Ahab, went out in health as Jehoshaphat, but returned no more. What numberless examples of a similar kind are going on in the present hour in the world, in which we are called upon to mark the distinguishing mercy? And shall not our unthinking hearts sometimes pause, and behold the Lord's hand in conducting out, and bringing home in peace and safety.
And if a real follower of the Lord Jesus be brought to such views of divine favor, will he not eye the tokens as tenfold brighter, and enjoy them with tenfold sweetness, when viewing them as covenant blessings, and accepting them as such from his interest in Jesus! Hath a God in Christ entailed blessings both on soul and body; hath he promised, by virtue of covenant redemption in the blood and righteousness of his dear Son, to bless his people both in their basket and in their store; in their going out and their coming in; blessings in the city, and blessings in the field; blessings in time, and blessings to all eternity? and shall not every follower of the Lord Jesus find a relish and a sweetness of the richest kind from perceiving the covenant love with which everyone of them is brought home to the heart, marked in the plainest characters of the Father's love, the Saviour's grace, and the Spirit's fellowship. Yes! thou dearest Jesus! when I see thy love in the mercy, and the precious fruits, of thy redemption in the favor, be it what it may; whether at going out, or returning home in peace, then will my joy be full. It is Jesus in the blessing, and the love of Jesus with the blessing, which gives the finishing relish to all, and furnishes a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
In the faithfulness of the prophet let us not only behold the loveliness of being always firm in the cause of the Lord, but pray for grace to follow so bright an example. An openness and integrity of conduct in speaking truths, however unpleasant, is not limited to the ministry; there are few characters in life but may find occasion for the exercise of it in numberless situations: a father to his child, or a servant to his master. And when God and our conscience demands such services there should be no hesitation.
Lastly. In the reformation set up by Jehoshaphat, we may gather a sweet and precious instruction, how grace operates, when the Lord awakens it in the mind. We hear no reproof, no expostulation, no anger, no excuse on the part of Jehoshaphat, towards the prophet. Grace was in the heart of Jehoshaphat, while the prophet was delivering his message from the Lord. And the blessed effects of both, in the word of the Lord from without, and the grace of the Lord within, wrought those sweet consequences in the mind of Jehoshaphat. Let us learn from hence how to estimate the work of grace. It is not he which merely confesseth sin, but the promise is, he that confesseth and forsaketh it, shall, through Jesus and his complete salvation, find mercy.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 19". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27