One of the last great periods of spiritual revival in Judah’s history before Babylonian Captivity occurred during the reign of Jehoshaphat. This king is praised for seeking God, following His commandments, and not acting like Israel (2 Ch. 17:3-4). Jehoshaphat was greatly blessed by these decisions, he took pride in the Lord’s ways and sought to eradicate idolatry (5-6). In the third year of his reign, Jehoshaphat sent his officials, the priests, and the Levites throughout Judah. What we read in 2 Chronicles 17:9 is exemplary for us today.
- They “taught.” Men of varying backgrounds, abilities, personalities, and occupations united in the valuable enterprise of teaching. In all, 16 men are named as those who were tasked with this important job. Whatever we don’t know about them, we do know they were teachers. Their work was so important that God saw fit to include them by name in His Book! Certainly He still holds knowledgeable, diligent teachers in high regard today. What a thrill it must be for Him to see His children willing and able to teach (cf. 1 Pe. 3:14-15).
- They taught “in Judah…among the people.” What was Judah? It was the place where God’s people resided. Strong churches have good teachers teaching them. There is a resounding benefit when people get together and are subjected to healthy, beneficial teaching. As it was then, so it is now.
- They taught in Judah “having the book of the law of the Lord with them.” Jehoshaphat wanted to ensure the spiritual literacy of his subjects, knowing God wanted that, too. God still longs for His people to know, show, and grow (2 Pe. 3:18). Too often, our teaching can lack a biblical focus. We do not need more “what I thinks” and “what happened to me’s.” We need more rich teaching from “the book of the law of the Lord.”
Despite some later foolish and even sinful choices, Jehoshaphat was on target to send teachers for Judah’s benefit. In the end, he instituted needed, helpful reforms, and relied on God in prayer. He fell short, but perhaps it was his anchor in the law of God that kept him from drifting away from Him. Our hope and future is tied to how faithfully we follow God, but we must know what God wants to do that. And we can only know what God wants by knowing His Word. God bless the teachers that help us to do just that!