II Chronicles 17:1-2 – “And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.”
Jehoshaphat was one of the outstanding kings to lead the nation of Judah. His father, Asa, was also a king of Judah that “did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (II Chronicles 14:2). Jehoshaphat’s priorities and leadership continue to serve as good examples for each of us. Our text reveals that Jehoshaphat, after assuming the leadership of the kingdom, sought to strengthen his defenses against the enemy.
There are those in political office who consistently downplay the importance of a strong national defense. They seem to be so naive that they think all our enemies are friendly, and there is really no need to concern ourselves with the possibility of future attacks. Those same people want us to believe that if all the private citizens would surrender their personal weapons, it would help solve the crime problem. This logic is foolish and dangerous. A strong defense was Jehoshaphat’s first order of business. There are many groups that would seize the opportunity to attack our nation at the slightest sign of military vulnerability. Our greatest national defense is the hope that God would defend us. He has promised to defend and bless nations who honor Him and obey His Word.
This action on the part of Jehoshaphat illustrates something in our spiritual lives as well. All of us are subject to spiritual attack–individually, in our homes, or in our Church family. Because we know that attacks will come, we should make certain that we are prepared. The Bible encourages us to put on God’s armor and prepare for the enemy’s assault. We are to walk in the Word of God, live by faith, arm ourselves with truth, keep our sins confessed, and stay in a prayerful attitude at all times. We are to be careful that we do not give a foothold to the enemy. Our spiritual adversaries are always trying to capitalize on any opportunities to hurt us spiritually, to attack our families, etc. We must be vigilant and realize the value of a strong spiritual defense.