June 5 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Lord established the kingdom under [Jehoshaphat's] control . . .
His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.” ~2 Chronicles 17:5-6

The Chronicler continues recounting the days of the kings to the exiled community, encouraging them to hope in the Lord and to follow Him with all their heart. We see that the southern kingdom of Judah is described as the godly kingdom, while the northern kingdom of Israel is depicted as a land of apostasy (they have turned away from God). Jehoshaphat, king in Judah, walks in the ways of the Lord and sends out Levites to every city in order to teach the Word of God. Ahab, king of Israel, has four hundred preachers on the payroll who simply tell him what he wants to hear. (Micaiah’s good “prophecy” in 2 Chronicles 18:14 is sarcasm.) In fact, the only thing that blurs the line between good and evil seems to be that these two kings are friendly, a relationship that God frowns upon (2 Chron. 19:1-3). As we have witnessed again and again, there are no perfect kings, at least not until we get to Jesus!

So Jehoshaphat wasn’t perfect. But he is a role model for those considering how to live wisely and well. The king “strengthened himself against Israel” (2 Chron. 17:1). He built up the military, stationing troops throughout the land. The text also says, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years, he walked in the ways his father David had followed” (2 Chron. 17:3). And then, “The Lord established the kingdom under his control” (2 Chron. 17:5). So was Jehoshaphat a wise leader, a strong military strategist, and a savvy diplomat, or was he a man who loved the Lord and trusted Him for protection and blessing? The answer is clearly yes.

We too are to be people of wisdom and faith. We are to be as smart as we can be in the way we live our lives every single day, at work, at home, and in the community. I like what C. S. Lewis said, “[Christ] told us to be not only as ‘harmless as doves,’ but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head . . .The proper motto is not ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever,’ but ‘Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that this involves being as clever as you can.’” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity). The Scriptures nowhere extol naïveté as a virtue. We are to be wise while also being good. At the same time, we are to wholeheartedly put our trust in God. We may strengthen our own position, but only God can establish the work of our hands. So let us be as wise as we can, while praying that God will bless all that we do for our good and His glory.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.