Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 18, 1913

Jehoshaphat—No. 1

Mrs. E. G. White

“In the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel,” “Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah.” Until called to the throne at the age of thirty-five, Jehoshaphat had before him the example of his father Asa, who in nearly every crisis had done “that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Jehoshaphat profited by his early training. During his prosperous reign of twenty-five years he sought to walk “in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from, it doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.”

In his effort to rule wisely, Jehoshaphat was troubled over the attitude of some of his subjects toward idolatrous practises. As yet, many of the people “had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.” They “offered and burnt incense yet in the high places;” and the king did not at once destroy these heathen shrines.

Jehoshaphat himself was loyal to God. He “sought not unto Baalim; but sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” Because of his integrity, the Lord was with him, and “stablished the kingdom in his hand.”

“All Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord.” As time passed, and reformations were wrought, the king “took away the high places and groves out of Judah.” “And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.”

Throughout the kingdom of Judah, the people were in need of instruction in the law of God. In an understanding of this law lay their safeguard against evils that had hitherto wrought apostasy and rebellion; by conforming their lives to its requirements they would become loyal, law-abiding subjects. Knowing this, Jehoshaphat took steps to insure to his people thorough instruction in the oracles of God. The princes in charge of the different portions of his realm were directed to arrange for the faithful ministry of teaching priests. By royal appointment these instructors, working under the direct supervision of the princes, “went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.” And as the people endeavored to understand God's requirements and to put away transgression, a religious revival was brought about.

To this wise provision for the spiritual needs of his subjects, Jehoshaphat owed much of his prosperity as a ruler.

Righteousness does indeed exalt nations as well as individuals. In obedience to God's law there is life. In conformity to his requirements there is a transforming power that brings peace and good will among men. If the teachings of God's Word were made the controlling influence in the life of every man and woman, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in national and social life would find no place. From every home would go forth an influence that would make men and women a power on the side of truth and righteousness.

In the Bible the will of God is revealed. The truths of the Word of God are the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin has clouded the understanding, is removed. The words, “A new heart also will I give you,” mean, “A new mind will I give you.” A change of heart is always attended by a clear conviction of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher plane of intelligence.

The Bible contains the principles that lie at the foundation of all true greatness, all true prosperity, whether for the individual or for the nation. The nation that gives free room for the circulation of the Scriptures opens the way for the minds of the people to develop and expand. The reading of the Scriptures causes light to shine into the darkness. As the Word of God is searched, lifegiving truths are found. In the lives of those who heed its teachings there will be an undercurrent of happiness that will bless all with whom they are brought in contact.

For many years Jehoshaphat was allowed to live in peace, unmolested by the surrounding nations. “The fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the land that were round about Judah.” From Philistia he received tribute-money and presents; from Arabia, large flocks of sheep and goats. “Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.... Men of war, mighty men of valor, ... waited on the king, beside those whom the king put in the fenced cities throughout all Judah.” Blessed with “riches and honor in abundance,” he was enabled to wield a mighty influence for truth and righteousness.

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