THE SIN OF JEHOSHAPHAT (THRONES PT. 4)

And he sent to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to war against Moab? And he said, I will go; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses. 2 Kings 3:7 AMPC

He was a great man; an honourable man before God and men. His life was an example worthy of following, and God attested to this in his life. He was the king who led a praise team to battle in response to the assurances of God, and so won three kings in concert without even a fight. There are not many times in the post-David era that you would see a king held in high honour by the prophets. However, even the fiercest of prophets held him in high honour.

When Prophet Elisha was summoned by Jehoram, the king of Israel (Son of Ahab), the prophet had this to say to the king, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before Whom I stand, surely, were it not that I respect the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you [King Joram].” 2 Kings 3:14 AMPC.

The prophet remarked that the only reason he is agreeing to do anything for Ahab’s child was because of the presence of Jehoshaphat with him. That was the extent of honour, regard and respect which he had from the prophet. Everyone knew him as a sincere seeker after God, and he steered the kingdom of Judah into the very hands of God.

But he had a weakness. That is a mild word! No, he had a sin in his life. A sin that was to bring his family into trouble and would have ultimately led to the extinction of the kingdom and throne of David were it not for the Lord’s intervention. So, it was not a mere weakness (to put it mildly); it was a sin, a deadly cancer that was to eat into the fabric of his kingdom even after he had left the scene of the earth. What was that?

King Jehoshaphat had a penchant for making strong alliances with the ungodly kings of Israel. Whether out of courtesy or simply a penchant for an inability to say ‘No’, King Jehoshaphat always made strong statements pledging allegiance to the kings of Israel, even though these kings ran their lives and kingdom in direct opposition to Jehoshaphat’s God. Earlier in 1 Kings 22, Jehoshaphat had said to Ahab when he called him to go to battle with him against the Syrians, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 1 Kings 22:4 AMPC. He almost lost his life in that battle were it not for the mercy of God.

Now in this very incidence, he repeats exactly the same statement to Jehoram, the son of Ahab. Each time I look at that statement, I feel like saying to the king, “that was wrong! So wrong; I mean you cannot say a thing like that to a man like that!” But he said it! It is good to try to be courteous, friendly and cooperative, but that statement crossed the line. It should not be made to any other but God and to men representing the interests of God on the earth. But to make it to a heathen, backslidden king who does not fear God, that was quite a serious matter. This sin, was to almost mar the history of Jehoshaphat in the coming days.

Let us bring it home. Do you know that God said, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 AMPC.

When a Christian chooses to marry an unbeliever, he or she is committing the sin of Jehoshaphat; and unless the Lord shows him/her mercy, will surely come to ruins and regrets.

However, I wish to say that this instruction does not apply only to marriage, but also to other alliances such as business. Many establishments held by Christians all over the world are hardly listed on the public stock exchange. The primary reason for this is because most of them make certain decisions and choices based on their faith which is foreign to any man who does not follow their faith. Hence, if the company becomes public and a foreigner to the faith of the owner of the company becomes a shareholder in the company, he may likely put a friction to, misunderstand and protest against such ‘faith-based’ decisions when they are taken. In order to avoid such (of course among other reasons), they chose to hold their businesses privately. This way, the Christian owners of such companies do not need to have to explain to people when they take decisions about their companies based on their faith. Of course, they know how to forge relationships across belief systems, and do business with people of all kinds of faith and belief. However, when it comes to forging strong and binding allegiances, they are quite careful in this matter, because of their faith.

This is what King Jehoshaphat failed to see, and what many Christians today fail to see. In a bid to be politically correct, and to not be accused of being religious fanatics, we forge allegiances that will in the end destroy us if care is not taken. It was clear that God was not happy with the decision that King Jehoshaphat took as he sent a prophet to correct him when he returned from his battle with Ahab (2 Chronicles 19 vs. 1-3). However, that warning did not stop him from making the same mistake with Ahab’s son. In fact, he went on to cement his ‘cordial’ relationship with Ahab by taking Ahab’s daughter, Athalia, in marriage to his own son- a move that almost saw the kingdom of David come to an end.

However, there were good things for which Jehoshaphat must be commended even in this his sin – he did not fail to refer his friends to the true and living God whenever he could. He did his best to make them recognize the true and living God. However, that was not enough to change the hearts of these men. They paid the price for their neglect of God, while King Jehoshaphat also paid the price for his unreserved loyalty and allegiance to them.

So, this God’s word for you as I tie up this write-up: “So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 TPT. Be careful of the allegiances you make and the company you keep. The gain is not as important as the salvation of your soul. A word is enough for the wise!

Joshua Obodozie resides in Enugu, Nigeria, West Africa. He is a believer in Christ Jesus and in the authority of the Bible as the inerrant word of God. He is the chief editor of THE CHRISTIAN IN SOCIETY (www.thechristianinsociety.org) an online blog that reaches thousands of Nigerians and Africans with the word of God. He is also a Materials Engineer by profession.

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