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Daily Devotional 2 Chronicles 17:1–11

In 1985, the Texas Department of Transportation started an anti-littering campaign that, as we would say today, went viral: “Don’t mess with Texas.” Since then, this well-known slogan has become a distinctive indicator of Texan pride and swagger.

The fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah.


“Don’t mess with Israel” might be a good summary of today’s reading. This is what the fear of the Lord feels and looks like to non-worshipers (vv. 10–11). The Philistines and other enemies of Israel did not worship God. They did not respond to His greatness with awe and reverence. But they also weren’t blind. They saw God clearly present and working among His people. What remained, then, was simply fear, or literally, “terror” (v. 10). They were afraid to attack Judah because they knew God was protecting them. In fact, they paid tribute to stay on good terms with them.

For King Jehoshaphat, living in the fear of the Lord, and leading his people to do the same, meant trusting in God’s protection. This didn’t mean he sat on his hands. He made strategic military decisions as well (vv. 1–2). His heart, like David’s, was devoted to the Lord (vv. 3–6). He did not seek idols, and he removed many places of idolatry from around the country. He sought the Lord and followed His commands. He also sent court officials and Levites on a Scripture teaching tour (vv. 7–9). In all of this, the Lord was with him and helped establish his kingdom (see April 10).

The fear of the Lord has a flip side. From the inside, it means awe, reverence, love, obedience, and worship. We draw nearer to God. But from the outside, it means only fear—seeing God at work, but choosing not to worship Him. One day these unrepentant, terrified people will call the mountains to fall on them (Luke 23:30).

Go Deeper

Jehoshaphat removed the idolatrous high places, but they came back later (2 Chron. 20:33). In light of this, how can we make positive, lasting changes in our spiritual lives?

Pray with Us:

Jesus, we praise You today as our shield and protector! “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Prov. 18:10). When we encounter obstacles and opposition in our lives, may we run to You.

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