Jehoshaphat is one of my favorite Old Testament characters. He was the King of Judah, which was the southern part of the Promised Land, with Israel being a separate country to the north. Though they were originally one nation, they split in two in 930 B.C. because the people wouldn’t accept Solomon’s son Rehoboam as king. After they were divided, their relationship was unpredictable — sometimes they were at peace and sometimes they were fighting. They were also in different places where it came to ridding their land of pagan practices. The Caananites in the region lived as enemies of the Lord, and they worshipped relics known as Baal statues and Asherah poles. Though such objects seem harmless enough when we read about them today, to a first-century Jew, they represented something very different. When passing by them, God-fearing people would have seen the ashes and blood of women, children, and babies who had been sacrificed to satanic spirits, and it was undoubtedly a chilling sight. Especially in a land that was set apart to represent the love of Yahweh God, the prevalence of such ritualistic violence was abhorrent. In fact, its elimination is what set King Jehoshaphat apart — he used his authority to remove every last pagan remnant from his territory. He set his heart on seeking the Lord, and for this, he was honored. As he turned his attention to Jehovah, he and the people of Judah enjoyed a level of prosperity and blessing that was nearly unprecedented.
My friend, there’s always a reward in righteousness. While it’s easy to keep a “toe in the water” when it comes to doing it the world’s way, the blessing you inherit when you surrender every earthly idol to Jesus far surpasses the pain of giving them up. You are made to be a living and moving manifestation of your Savior’s goodness, and He wants to use you to demonstrate the beauty of His heart to others. As you model His values in a culture where “anything goes,” you’ll shine so brightly that people won’t be able to help but notice!