Yesterday at Ephesus we took the opportunity on Father’s Day to look at the biblical standards God calls dads to live out. You can download the podcast and listen in if you’re interested. It should be posted soon. Today as I read my Life Journal reading (more are now available for $6 at the Connections Table), I read a story that grieves me each time I revisit it. Jehoshaphat was a great king of Judah who loved the Lord, followed Him closely and heeded His prophets. He did not make a move without seeking the Lord first. J. has always held a special place in my heart for 2 reasons. 1) He was truly a man of God and ruled by His grace. 2) In middle school I was in a church musical called “Fat, Fat Jehoshaphat.” It was a retelling of the time J. was faced with enemies on all sides, fasted, prayed and sent the musicians out first and God won the day. Good times. But I picked something up in the life J. a few years ago. As great a king as he was and as much as the Bible tells us he loved God, he failed as a father. This has always grieved me. Today in the Life Journal reading we pick up the story of the son of J.
2 Chronicles 21:4-6-Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father (Jehoshophat), he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel (who followed Baal and Asherah), just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.
You can read more of Jehoram’s story in 2 Kings 8 and 9, but you get the gist. He blew it, killed his brothers and worshiped false gods. What grieves me so much (he was one of many Hebrew kings who worshiped false gods) is the failure of his godly father Jehoshophat. A godly man and godly king who loved and followed the Lord, yet failed to raise up a godly son. We read of no good excuse as to why this would have happened. We only can see that Jehoshophat failed as a dad to pass on his love for God to his son. This struck me today again as we focused in on honoring and challenging fathers yesterday during our service.
Men, we are called to love God, have a personal relationship with Jesus and pursue personal righteousness. But we must not ever neglect to pass this legacy on to our children. One of the points we talked about yesterday was a father’s responsibility to pastor his children. To teach them about Jesus. As great as Jehoshophat was, his reputation is tarnished in my mind because of the horrendous failure of his son. Don’t pursue godliness or accomplishments at the expense of your children, or those God has placed in your life to mentor and lead. Your legacy matters! After your time on this earth is complete, what will you leave behind? My desire above all is to leave children who love God and advance His kingdom in ways I could never imagine!