Judge with Love

TODAY’S READING: 2 CHRONICLES 17-20

When Solomon dedicated the temple, the priests sang in unison, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” The phrase “for his steadfast love endures forever” makes it first return since Solomon under the king Jehoshaphat.

In addition to Jehoshaphat having the priests sing “give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever,” Jehoshaphat also walked in all the ways of David. Jehoshaphat was one of the good kings of Judah. Because of that, we can see Jesus in Jehoshaphat in several places in these chapters.

The name Jehoshaphat means Yahweh has judged or the Lord judges. Indeed, Jesus is the judge of every man.

But, there are some interesting clues about how Jehoshaphat judged.

One of the first things we read about Jehoshaphat took place in the third year of his reign. Of course, the number three often symbolizes the period between death and life. Therefore, the number three can symbolize the resurrection. So, what we read Jehoshaphat doing in the third year of his reign will likely have a connection to Jesus.

In the third of his reign, Jehoshaphat sent his officials through Judah to teach. Interestingly, in 2 Chronicles 17, we read that Jehoshaphat sent out 16 men to teach.

Almost everyone, given how often it is used in weddings, knows that 1 Corinthians 13 is about love.

Do you know many characteristics Paul lists about love in 1 Corinthians 13? 16!

  1. Love is patient.
  2. Love is kind.
  3. Love does not envy.
  4. Love does not boast.
  5. Love is not arrogant.
  6. Love is not rude.
  7. Love does not insist on its own way.
  8. Love is not irritable.
  9. Love is not resentful.
  10. Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
  11. Love rejoices with the truth.
  12. Love bears all things.
  13. Love believes all things.
  14. Love hopes all things.
  15. Love endures all things.
  16. Love never ends.

Agape (the noun not the verb) is the Greek word for God’s love. It is used 18 times in 1 John. But, the 16th time the noun love is used John writes, “But perfect love casts out fear.”

So, we are seeing a connection between the number 16 and the word love. But, not just any love, perfect love.

Therefore, Jehoshaphat is a picture of the Lord who judges with love. Look at the following verses and notice how they are sound similar to the way Jesus judges.

2 Chronicles 19:5-7 says, “He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, ‘Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat in judging. Similarly, Jesus only judged as he heard from the Father.

2 Chronicles 19:9-10 says, “And he charged them: ‘Thus shall you do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart: whenever a case comes to you from your brothers who live in their cities, concerning bloodshed, law or commandment, statutes or rules, then you shall warn them, that they may not incur guilt before the Lord and wrath may not come upon you and your brothers. Thus you shall do, and you will not incur guilt.”

Jehoshaphat told the judges simply to warn. This is how Jesus judges. He warns us not do certain things because they will bring wrath. But, as we see in the passage above, the wrath is not God’s. Rather, the people bring wrath upon themselves when they break the law. It’s out of love that Jesus warns people not to sin. This is exactly what God did in the garden with Adam and Eve. He warned them out of love not to sin. But, he did pronounce a judgment of wrath upon them.

These are just a few of the ways that we Jesus in Jehoshaphat.

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