“Great jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!” (You get bonus points if you can remember which Looney Tunes character would sometimes say this in the cartoons… or can remember the song Ken Medema wrote and sand about Jehoshaphat, and, in which, he said this phrase as part of it.)
Even the godliest leaders are vulnerable to sin, yet God is still able to use these people to accomplish good things. Jehoshaphat is an example off this.
On the whole, Jehoshaphat was a very godly king who worshiped God and sought to promote godliness throughout the land. He appointed teachers of the Law and judges throughout the land to teach the people right from wrong, settle disputes, and promote godliness (2Chron. 17:6-9; 19:4-11). As a result, God gave him success as a military leader, and the neighboring people-groups brought him gifts as a sign of their submission to him (2Chron. 17:10-13). God also gave him a victory over a large army of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites who were approaching Jerusalem to attack him (2Chron. 20).
But, even Jehoshaphat proved himself to be susceptible to sin. The root of his sin may have lay in his willingness to marry into wicked King Ahab’s family, probably to seal a political alliance with him (2Chron. 18:1). Later, Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to join him in an ill-fated battle to recover the town of Ramoth-Gilead from the Arameans.
As a result of this ill-fated alliance, he found himself the target of Arameans who thought he was actually King Ahab (because Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to wear his kingly robes while Ahab wore the clothing of his ordinary soldiers).
He also partnered with Ahab’s wicked son, Ahaziah, to launch a fleet of trading ships to sail to Ophir for gold, but the ships were wrecked by a storm before they ever even launched (1Ki. 22:48,49; 2Chron. 20:35-37).
Jehoshaphat knew better than to make the mistakes he made. But, he also didn’t let his mistakes get the best of him.
When he realized his sin, Jehoshaphat repented.
While we have to face the consequences for our sin, Jehoshaphat’s story reminds us that turning to God is ALWAYS the best course of action. No matter how long or how big you’ve sinned, God is willing to forgive you.
* God’s infinite mercy can forgive you of any and all sin.
You can read Jehoshaphat’s story in 1Kings 15:24—22:50; 2Chronicles 17:1—21:1.