War approached. Fear arose. Jehoshaphat responded in faith. God answered with victory. Jehoshaphat led the people into the wilderness. He encouraged belief among them and appointed some to sing songs of praise. Then they watched as God battled their enemies to absolute destruction. And "the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around." (20:30)
The Lord prospered this man of faith on many levels. But there was one weakness--one place that proved detrimental to his descendants.
The text describes Jehoshaphat as one who did not turn from "doing what was right in the sight of the Lord." (20:32) We see that he loved his Lord. He believed his Lord. He sought after wisdom from on high and desired to be led by the Almighty. "Nevertheless..."
Even though Jehoshaphat truly loved the Lord, one red flag waved desperate from his heart. He periodically "held hands" with enemies of God. (see 2 Chronicles 18 and 20:35-37) We are not told why. We are never given full insight into his personal heart-struggle. But if I were to venture a guess, I would say that greed and people-pleasing vied for his affections. And consequences followed.
"Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers." (20:33) The phrase "high places" refers to sites of idol worship. And apparently Jehoshaphat did not tear those down.
Here's the point. If we allow things to dwell "in our land" that directly oppose the Lord, then strongholds will slowly creep through the unprotected space. Sadly, Jehoshaphat's son worked evil in the midst of God's people. And not one person mourned his death. Consequences.
Father, reveal the high places and empower us to tear them down.