2 Kings 3:13-15a Elisha said to [Jehoram/Joram] the king of Israel, “What do we have to do with each other? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” “No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the LORD who called us three kings [of Israel, Judah and Edom] together to hand us over to Moab.” Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice you. But now …
Jehoram (aka Joram) was the son of Ahab & Jezebel, and, as we might expect, “he did evil in the eyes of the LORD”, although it was more from the enduring evil influence of Jeroboam, the first King of the Northern Kingdom, than from his parents (2-3). Nevertheless, it is understandable that Elisha wanted as little to do with him as possible, and was a little surprised that the feeling wasn’t mutual.
But the interesting thing for us is that Elisha was prepared put their past conflict aside because of his “respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah”. We learn from 2 Chronicles 20 that Jehoshaphat was one who always sought the LORD his God in prayer, submitted humbly in obedience to his Word with great courage and encouraged his people to do the same, and experienced the LORD’s peace in his heart, praising him openly for his sovereign protection and providence. Jehoshaphat was well-known as a godly king whose life and witness drew widespread respect as a role model and peacemaker.
As I read about him, I thought about the advice the Apostle Peter gave to followers of Jesus who were living in tough times: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12). It is good to reflect on all this and ask ourselves if, by God’s grace, we might be able to have a soothing, peacemaking influence on situations in which we serve at work, at school, at university/college, at home, in recreational/sporting activities, etc. Perhaps our society today would benefit greatly from having more Jehoshaphats!