By the time Jehoshaphat replaced his father Asa as king of Judah, the kingdom of Israel had already been in existence for more than 150 years. Much of what David had established in the way of worship had deteriorated into false religion and idolatry. Like his father Asa, Jehoshaphat focused on reform and he appeared determined to keep Israel’s faith alive.
It says in 2 Chronicles 17:3-4 “the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and 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.” Like David, Jehoshaphat led by example. Before he did anything to change the people, Jehoshaphat made sure his own house was in order.
Jehoshaphat understood that the key to his success was living consistently with God’s word, obeying his commandments. Jehoshaphat did not try to fake it. He actually read God’s word and then he sent the Levites out “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” (2 Chronicles 17:9).
As a result of Jehoshaphat’s effort, the nations surrounding Judah saw a change taking place “and the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chronicles 17:10). Jehoshaphat managed to revive his kingdom to the point where no one dared to take him on because they knew God was on his side.