Today's devotion from 2 Chronicles 21 and 22.
Jehoshaphat was not perfect, but there were some things to admire. Beyond what we have already read, I admire the fact that he tried to do right by his children. While only one could reign, it appears that he genuinely tried to make sure that each was given stability. That is, until Jehoram took over.
Jehoram's life was an example of how not to live. As we read about him, it almost comes across as though any good thing that happened in his life was in spite of himself. He did not become king through merit, but by birth order. Even though his father had done so much, he took it upon himself to kill his brothers. After this, the Scripture records that the only reason he was allowed to live as long as he did was because God was so incredibly devoted to His covenant with David.
He was a spiritual hack, a foreign relations nightmare, and just generally not a nice guy. In fact, the chronicler wants us to know how unpopular Jehoram was and accomplishes this by writing, "He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one's regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings." (2 Chronicles 21:20, ESV)
There are two paths we could take in this account. The first is simply to take the moral high ground. We could point out how bad a ruler he was, frame this in the context of the Bible, and, therefore, moralize how we should be "better" than Jehoram in our following God and serving him. That's one way we could handle this text.
The other, and my preferred path, is to focus on God instead. I don't want to compare myself with the morals of a deprave and idolatrous king. Instead, I read this account and focus on God. What I see is grace upon grace to a man that neither asked for it or deserved it. Yet, God was so devoted to keeping His covenant that even someone as despicable as this man could not force God to abandon it.
What is on display over and above Jerhoram's wickedness is God's faithfulness.
This is the God you serve today. He is a God who holds fast to His promises even in the face of our failures. God had made a covenant with David, and God was committed to honor that promise. God has made promises to us, as well. Sometimes I feel like a failure, but it isn't may feeling that keeps me saved...it's His promise.