“And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel” (I Kings 22:41).
During the period when the Jewish nation was split into two kingdoms, some remarkable contrasts were apparent. Jehoshaphat had a godly father: “Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (II Chronicles 14:2). Ahab had a despicable father: “But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him” (I Kings 16:25). Perhaps a better example of the truth of Proverbs 22:6 could not be cited. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
A second difference was in their works. “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him” (I Kings 16:30). He started by marrying the unthinkably wicked and idolatrous Jezebel, the daughter of a foreign king, and then became a coward. Because of his wife’s pressure, “he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria” (v.32). Instead of peace, Israel had many conflicts with surrounding nations. Finally, because he disobeyed the lord, Ahab was slain in battle (I Kings 20:42; 22:35).
Jehoshaphat had the great wisdom to know what to do with the word of God. “He turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD” (I Kings 22:43). He set up schools and enlisted capable teachers to train the people in Scripture. “And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people” (II Chronicles 17:9). The result was that “the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah” (v.10).
A right start can bring great blessing. KBC