Compromising ~ take a look at Jehoshaphat’s example ~

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

What in the world was this Godly King thinking joining forces with another King who clearly did not follow the same God! Hmmmm, sound familiar? How we, as Christians, justify our close affiliations with lost people, not in an attempt to witness to them (as God commands) but simply hanging out, living as they do, talking as they talk, acting as they act, while all the time believing the sin we commit with them isn’t THAT bad! Back and forth we go, one stage of our life is spent living for God then there we go again, just like Jehoshaphat…tragic alliances, death, sin after sin, back & forth commitment to God, justification, compromise ending in generation after generation repeating the same spiral descent until….wait and see!

You may be asking: “What is this woman talking about?” Allow me to explain. While studying the story of Jehoshaphat again I was reminded of what compromising can cause. I had forgotten the impact of this example of compromising or lowering one’s standards.  I Cor. 15:33 ESV “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” Jehoshaphat tried to justify his alliances as we will see. God had separated them on purpose & Jehoshaphat had no business seeking to join forces, just as we Christians have no business joining forces with lost people who aren’t following God’s ways.  II Cor. 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.  For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  There is a difference and a reason for this separation as seen in John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who practices sin is a slave to sin.'” Christians are followers of God so they should not be “unequally yoked” with those who live continuously in sin (I Cor. 7:22) “For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.”

Aside from the command to share the Gospel with the lost we are not to have intimate relationships with the lost. It can affect our testimony and usually leads to submitting to the flesh and the temptation to sin as they are sinning.  (II Timothy 2:24-26) 24 “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” We can still have lots of lost friends who we love but their sin is what we should hate and make sure to avoid by setting boundaries with the involvement of those friends in our lives.  (Romans 12:1-2) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Even the world, the lost, know that we are supposed to be different so if we’re constantly trying to gain their approval or alliance, are they seeing a difference, especially if we’re doing exactly what they’re doing? That would be an emphatic “NO!” How misleading to them and unfair that we are their example of Christ and what need do they have to accept God’s precious gift based on our testimony, or lack thereof!

Ok, so King Jehoshaphat…. Let me back up a minute for a little background first – Jehoshaphat was the King of Judah. He went to see the King of Israel – Ahab. Actually I believe he went several times to see Ahab and it got easier and easier to be around him even though he knew that Ahab didn’t live for the same God. Ahab had an evil wife, Jezebel, who made it difficult to go but that didn’t stop the king. Jehoshaphat justified his friendship and formed a marriage alliance with Ahab (II Chron. 18:1) The son of Jehoshaphat,  Jehoram would marry the daughter of Ahab, Athaliah. 

He would begin to think like Ahab, the more he was around Ahab, the farther he got away from God and what God wanted.  (Prov. 12:26) “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  This can happen to us too – the more we are close to sin. It doesn’t look sooooo bad and we can probably get away with it, right? We may even try to adapt scripture to read in a way so as to make it comfortable for the sinner so we don’t appear to be “judging” them. Is that doing them a service or disservice by hiding the complete truth from them?

Back to the story – It had been years since Syria and Israel had battled against each other. This is where Ahab starts convincing Jehoshaphat that it wouldn’t be so bad to join forces against the Syrians. Reminder: Ahab did not follow God’s ways and God separated them from Syria on purpose. Do you also see here how flesh is trying to join up with the ways of God by Ahab trying to convince Jehoshaphat to commit this act? Now, that’s something that every Christian can relate to, right!

In his defense though, Jehoshaphat replied:

3 b “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.”  4 “But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the Lord.'” II Chron. 18  So sneaky Ahab, in an attempt to get his way, brings in his false prophets. Of course, they all (about 400 of them – II Chron. 18:5) agree with Ahab and attempt to convince Jehoshaphat that it’s perfectly fine with God. Still “something” tells Jehoshaphat it’s wrong so he asks if there’s any other prophets to consult with and Ahab has to admit that there is – the one prophet that Ahab hates because he is a devout man of God who “never prophesied good unto me” (Ahab in II Chron. 18:7). Uh, duh! That right there should have sent Jehoshaphat running the opposite direction. But no! So Micaiah comes before Ahab and Jehoshaphat after having been told what he should say so that they convince Jehoshaphat that their actions are perfectly fine with God. Micaiah refuses though and only speaks the truth from God. He tells Ahab that God allowed a “lying spirit” (II Chron. 18:21) to come to him and convince him to do wrong against God. Hello, Jehoshaphat, did you hear that? It’s a lie that all those 400 false prophets told you guys and yet you’re still considering it!

Even after Micaiah warns them not to go to Syria and fight, after Jehoshaphat hears Ahab express his hatred for the man of God (II Chron. 18:7) and after an unwillingness to acknowledge the true prophet’s continuous warnings on the life of Ahab  – the two kings, as “friends”,  ignore the warnings and it’s disastrous! Jehoshaphat followed Ahab into battle. Another loud “OH NO!” He followed the wrong guy! He should’ve been following God & listened to God’s man – Micaiah, & ran away, back to Judah. He deliberately becomes exactly as Ahab and jumps into this God forbidden battle ignoring God’s warning.  Just like we do when we go ahead and sin, knowing it’s sin, but our worldly friends are doing it so we use every means possible to justify it and pretend it’s ok.   So,  as we justify our alliances with non-believers and belittle the wrong they do, Jehoshaphat did the same. So much deceit and disobedience to God’s ways.  We tend to get closer and closer to sin until we make it into something not quite so bad and then we are able to stay there with no fear of God. That’s a scary place to be friend! Let’s see what happened next…

King Ahab even went so far as to use Jehoshaphat (his “friend” and alliance) in an attempt to guarantee his own life be spared (II Chron. 18:29). What a mess! Out in the middle of battle, with Ahab disguised so he wouldn’t get killed, the life of Jehoshaphat was out there among the enemy as free bait. But God was still with Jehoshaphat and He would still see His plan played out so he spared Jehoshaphat. Ahab would not be so fortunate, even after his wicked disguise and failed attempt to orchestrate the outcome. A random spear would kill Ahab and Jehoshaphat would return to Judah (II Chron. 18:33). So, there were consequences to the actions of Ahab after all and the words of God’s prophet came true.

Wow! What a predicament for Jehoshaphat, right! Well, the story proceeds with his return to Jerusalem where he meets up with Jehu.  This is where the king will get his consequence: Jehu speaks, “Should you help the wicked and love those that hate the LORD? Because of this wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.”(II Chron. 19:2)

Once again Jehoshaphat puts his eyes back on God (II Chron. 20:13). Judah battles again; the victory is theirs and no one is injured. God keeps them safe. They are also able to benefit materially from this victory as they took their “spoil” from the battle. It took them three days to gather all of it. (II Chron. 20:25) But was following God, staying safe, reaping provision & being God’s favor enough to keep his eyes on God? Yes, for a while.

Here we go again, Jehoshaphat decides to join up with the wicked king of Israel, Ahaziah. (II Chron. 20:35) Guess who he was – the son of Athaliah, (the daughter of Jezebel), & Jehoram, his own son. That made Ahaziah his grandson. After a failed attempt to build ships with King Ahaziah, because God caused them all to wreck, Jehoshaphat would go to “sleep with his fathers”.

Generation after generation would follow in the steps of the previous King and father.  Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram would kill his own brothers. (II Chron. 21: 4) He would also follow the ways of the kings of Israel since he was married to the daughter of Ahab.  He would do “evil in the sight of the Lord.” (II Chron. 21:6)  The end result was God causing “a great plague” on his people, children, wives, etc. and Jehoram would suffer a “severe sickness with a disease” of his bowels. (II Chron. 21:14-15) Jehoram died in “great agony” (II Chron. 21:19) The saddest part was that no one regretted or grieved his death. (II Chron. 21:20)

Next, the son of Jehoram, Ahaziah became King. He also “walked in the ways of the house of Ahab”, doing “what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” (II Chron. 22:3-4)
Wow! Had Jehoshaphat stayed close to God and made sure to raise his children to do the same, never compromising, never joining those against God….maybe, just maybe….this story would have had a very different outcome for his children. Just realizing how our sins can also sometimes influence the thinking of our children & future generations in our families. So sad!

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