Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 3 June 20:
1 Kings 22:4 — And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
The Bible says, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 17:3, 4) Conversely, concerning Ahab, the king of Israel, the Bible says, “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.” (1 Kings 21:25-26) Shockingly, today we read how Jehoshaphat established an unholy alliance with the wicked king Ahab. 2 Chronicles 18 provides a bit more detail: Jehoshaphat had “made a marriage alliance with Ahab (similar to what Solomon did with Pharaoh),” and during a large banquet (party), Ahab induced Jehoshaphat to ally with him in battle. (2 Chronicles 18:1,2)
– 2 Corinthians 6:14 — Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The Bible warns God’s people not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers or the unfaithful, and today’s readings caution us on how easily we can be influenced by the ungodly and entangled in their worldly affairs.
– 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join him in a battle God never endorsed. Only after agreeing did Jehoshaphat insist on seeking the Lord’s direction. Ahab then produced 400 false prophets who predicted victory with great ceremony. Still, Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the outlier, Micaiah. However, when Micaiah predicted disaster, Ahab simply silenced him, and Jehoshaphat joined Ahab on a doomed mission. During the battle, Jehoshaphat almost lost his life, and Ahab was killed as Micaiah predicted.
The ungodly can be very convincing, proclaiming a good, even spiritual, cause and stacking the ‘evidence’ in their favor. Christians must be very careful to be led by God’s word and the Holy Spirit rather than worldly influences.
After Ahab’s death, our readings tell us that, “Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber.” Again, 2 Chronicles tells the rest of the story here: “After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.’ And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.” (2 Chronicles 20:35-37)
Again, Jehoshaphat partnered with the ungodly and suffered needlessly. There is an important lesson for us as Christians concerning being “in the world but not of the world”: We must learn how to engage the world without partnering with the world, without becoming entangled in worldly affairs, without compromising our holiness, witness and influence.
How often do we compromise for the sake of maintaining relationships with the ungodly, and how do we justify that compromise to ourselves? Who are the Micaiahs out there we might be ignoring, preferring the 400 positive, motivational preachers of compromise in the name of cooperation?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 June 20: Confirm whose voice you are really listening to and who you are really following today – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)