We have discovered that somewhere along the journey of leading Israel as their third king, Solomon took his eyes off God. One thousand marriage partners was not enough, and tragically Solomon’s disobedient choices had grave consequences for himself and for Israel after him. The large nation that began with Abraham was now divided in two: the Northern Kingdom, which was still called Israel; and the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Peace became a rare thing; outside kingdoms attacked the newly divided kingdom with a vengeance, and even Israel and Judah fought against each other.
Fear, instability and destruction continued for generations. When Judah’s fourth king, Jehoshaphat, heard that three mighty armies had joined to fight Judah, he knew his people were in grave danger. He also knew idols could not save them; they needed God. King Jehoshaphat begged for the Lord’s guidance and called his people to fast. After the king’s prayer, the Lord spoke and the people of Judah obeyed. The enemies would have won if not for God’s intervention. The Lord fought this battle and not one enemy escaped. With singing and great praise to God, it took Judah over three days to collect all of the valuable plunder. On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. All glory went to the Lord, and news of this event spread. And for a while everyone, God’s enemies as well as those who trusted Him, were in awe of God.