2 Chronicles 20:31-33 – Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the Lord. The high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers.
For the most part, King Jehoshaphat was a good king. He had his flaws, but he followed God as he had seen his father follow God. When he messed up, he repented, and he strove to lead the nation of Judah back to following the Lord. However, at the end of his life, we see that, no matter how much King Jehoshaphat enforced the rule that the people should worship only the Lord, the text tells us that the people’s hearts were not fully for God.
There is a lesson in that last line of the scriptures. No matter how good a king or government is, that king or government can never cause people to change in their hearts. It would not make more people become believers in Jesus if we had an entirely Christian government. The hearts of men are dark, deceitful, and wicked. No governmental structure, no state endorsed church, could ever do anything to make the people of a land actually follow God in their hearts.
For us here in America, we can learn from Jehoshaphat. First, we learn that our nation was pretty wisely put together. Unlike our forefathers in England, we have no established state church. Our founders understood that no government-run church could ever actually change the hearts of the people. At the same time, they designed our government so that Christians would be free to follow Christ with their whole hearts with no penalty from the government.
Second, we can realize that political reform must not be the end-all mission of the church. I am all for Christians voting. We have been granted a great responsibility to elect men and women of character who will lead our nation in ways that will honor God and promote justice. However, we must recognize that, no matter whom we elect, we will never change our nation through the political sphere. The nation can have wonderful, godly leaders, but if the hearts of the people do not change, nothing will truly change in the nation. While evil acts like abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia (to only name a few) are things that Christians should stand and vote against, we dare not think that stopping those things will have made us a Christian or God-honoring nation. If we want our nation to change, if we want our world to change, the solution is not politics; the solution is the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let us learn from the life an times of Jehoshaphat. Let us be committed to changing a nation by changing the hearts of people through the power of God and the gospel. Start locally. Share the gospel. Begin a true revolution by taking the love of Jesus to a lost and dying world.