A group of very happy peopleThat phrase is thrown around so much today. Do you believe that as long as we’re happy or our friends and family are happy then we should be able to do WHATEVER it is that makes us happy?  What if we say we’re a Christian and others know that about us, yet, what we’re doing goes against the very God we say we love and obey? How does that saying apply then? Ouch! I felt the conviction!

Years ago I lived totally outside of God’s will for my life, doing exactly what I wanted all the while claiming to be one of His children, yet knowing what I was doing was against His Word, no matter how much fun it was and how “happy” I was. See, I was having a blast and had the attitude to go with it. I had my “fire insurance” as one of my favorite pastors used to say, but I avoided church like the plague, and especially avoided other Christians, who were sure to remind me what I was doing was wrong. I didn’t want to hear it. I justified it like crazy. I used the famous, “Don’t judge me.” Knowing good and well that God gave my fellow Christians the right to judge me and speak truth to me in love, which is all they tried to do but I wouldn’t hear of it. They cared and wanted me back in line with God’s will for my life. I spent several years disobeying God and living the “good life”, knowing deep inside that He wouldn’t let me go forever without doing something to get my attention and get me to come back to Him. I had “friends” who “supported” me. Of course they did; we were all doing the same things together. Did that make it right? No! I had lots of laughs and “fun”. Did that make it right? No! Should I have been allowed to continue living like I was while claiming to be following God? I think not! I know I shouldn’t! None of that mattered though because I let that temporary happy and unaccountable type living take over and convince me I’d always been a “good girl” so it was my time to live it up and “enjoy life”. Ha! It turned out to be a very difficult time in my life because the more things happened in my everyday reality, the deeper I’d get into the lifestyle that brought me temporary escape, but it’d all still be there, left for me to handle, after my so called “happy”. I didn’t want the “fun” to end and my actions kept telling God that and to let me go but fortunately for me, He didn’t give up on me, although the Scripture says He will if we continue to disobey Him.

Paul says that God, “GAVE THEM OVER.” God’s wrath is not in thunderbolts flung from Heaven but rather it is His settled,  regretful decision to give man over to his desire to sin. (That’s what I thought I  wanted. – my words)    (http://www.redlandbaptist.org/sermon/when-god-gives-up/)

I hadn’t realized just how ignorant and unloving that phrase actually is when you say it about someone who you know is not living according to God’s will for their life because they’ve claimed to be a Christian.  You have to admit that not answering to someone, like God, or fellow Christians, has to feel “fun, free and happy”, otherwise it isn’t tempting in the first place. Then, after living that way for a while, God gives us over to that way of living and we become resistant and deaf to His Words. Harder than that is He doesn’t answer our prayers.

Something I found so sad was that God won’t even hear us, His children, when we are disobeying Him. My actions affected my fellowship, my relationship with the only One who knew me inside and out and yet still loved me. Proverbs 28:9 “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.”

Another hard Scripture to swallow is Proverbs 1:28 “…they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.”

So, all this to say, (1) If a Christian is living outside of Scripture and just wants you to be “happy” for them because they’re ‘happy” then I won’t and you shouldn’t wimp out and say “What’s important is that you’re happy.” (2) We should continue to show them love, speak God’s Truth with boldness but not beat them over the head with it. (I never listened to that kind of “truth”) and (3) Pray for them to come back to God!  Remember the story of the Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32? Well, that’s me, the Prodigal Daughter and His arms were open wide and full of love when I finally did return to Him and His will for my life!

I won’t glamorize my bad choices over the years nor claim to be blameless today but I am a lot closer to God these days and have true happiness.


Being a Christian ~

Posted: January 28, 2014 in Just Me
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It isn’t about a big power play or ginormous ego.
It isn’t about being in control or always being right.
It isn’t about telling others how wrong they are.
It isn’t about shunning those “wretched sinners” in the world.
What is it about –
It’s about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind & strength. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30)
It’s also about loving others as ourselves. (Love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:31)
It’s also about being obedient to God. (If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15)
John 17:20-24 (NLT) “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”
Philippians 2:2 ESV “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. “

Brothers-of-EvilAre you personally guilty of using your tongue to tear down a fellow Christian or anyone, for that matter? Have you been wronged by someone who has spread rumors or gossip about you? Were you prevented from being able to confront that person? Or are you, perhaps, the one who those gossips come to because you’ll listen and not hold them accountable? All, according to scripture, is wrong and only allows the sinner to continue in sin, and causes division and foolishness. This isn’t going to be my heartfelt hurt speaking out here but instead it’s the Word of God and we can either heed His Word and put it into practice or continue seeing the damage and destruction of the church as a whole. Which role will we play? Problem or solution?

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend” (Psa. 15:1-3).

All of Proverbs 18 speaks of people who like to spread rumors, who gossip and keep things stirred up. The church is not exempt from such sinfulness. (see Romans 1:29b-32 it is a sin) “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

We are instructed how to respond when those gossips come to us about someone else. (Personally, I think that right there, would put a stop to so much of the festering sinfulness of gossip & rumors.)

Listening to the opinions, which, by the way, that is all they are, of someone and not getting the other side to the “story” is dangerous and foolish. (Prov. 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.)  and (Prov. 18:17 The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.)

A second part to this offense, against the victim, is not to get the two people together to talk it out.  (Prov. 18:5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the innocent of justice.)

Listening to the opinions of others and forming an opinion or answering without listening to the whole story, both sides, is not the way to handle it either.  (Prov. 18:13 He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame.)  We need to seek knowledge and truth from everyone involved and not just the so called “friend” coming to us with the gossip and rumors. (Prov. 18:15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.) and (Prov. 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.)

This chapter in Proverbs (chapter 18) also explains how powerful the tongue is, (The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Prov. 18:21) and (James 3:5-8 So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies, that pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence and is set on fire by hell.  For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind.  But no human can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.)

James 3:9-12: ” With it we bless the Lord and Father and with it we curse people made in God’s image.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.  A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it?  Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt-water spring produce fresh water.”

Our words will be judged according to the heart behind them. Do they appear to be good yet serve a greater purpose of hurting someone or are they really for the good of another? Do they appear to be bad (for lack of a better word) merely by accident when the heart is right? See how tricky this can be? I, too, had to seek God’s discernment in my words in this blog to be sure I’m not quoting scripture to bring others down but that my true heart intent be to hold them accountable, yes, but also love them to the point of sharing God’s instruction for all of us.

God will not allow those who gossip, spread rumors or lies to go unpunished: Proverbs 19:5 says “A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape.” and “I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak.  For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).

Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”  Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  NIV

What if you’re the one who’s been wronged?  Ask God to help you love and forgive them! When we love even the “least” of our brethren, Jesus accepts that love toward Himself (Matt. 25:40). You cannot love the Lord any more than you love the least in the body of Christ. “If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). 
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14-15).

I leave you (us) with this challenge or exhortation as I end this blog with tears and a heavy heart but with forgiveness and love for those who have been allowed to cause hurt and discord among fellow Christians: James 3:13-18:  “Which of you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.  For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.”

Other great blogs on this same topic:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2009/05/18/gossip/ and http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/02/12/how-to-stop-church-killing-gossip/

Another great scripture to reference for further study:  Proverbs 26:20-28

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

While we may be counting our blessings, looking forward to family time and scurry around shopping, others are having a very difficult time right now. There are a number of reasons but the same, sad truth of it is: they’re hurting nonetheless.
Having been married before to a Police Sergeant I’ve heard way too many stories of dealings with tons of people who find it hard to be happy and enjoy the holidays. For numerous reasons, no matter the reason, it’s a true and deep sadness and loss they’re experiencing. No one gets to tell them to “buck up” nor “just choose to be happy”, especially if you’ve never been through what they’re experiencing. I’m no expert on the subject but have been around these hurting people and seen how others choose to react to them or selfishly don’t react at all. I read a great article about it and maybe it can help someone else become more aware too :
I’ve even witnessed first hand how some who called themselves friends selfishly chose to deal with my husband’s depression when he lost his job back in 2008. Not able to find work those 8 months after first taking no time to grieve the loss but immediately job searching, my husband slumped into a heavy depression. He wouldn’t take phone calls nor be around anyone but our immediate family and mostly stayed in bed. It was a very hard time for us but mostly for him. A childhood friend obviously didn’t know how to deal with such a situation and instead “defriended” him all together, stopping all the phone calls and future contact even to this day. Yeah – wow! In spite of my attempts to explain the depth of my husband’s depression to this friend he never really comprehended it and dismissed it as something we can only assume he thought my husband could simply get over and feel better about simply because he said so. It doesn’t work that way. My husband had to heal from the inside out and no one person could say the magic words to change that. Let me just say: that was an even bigger loss to my husband, as you can well imagine.
Even Christians can experience these feelings. We’re not exempt but we do have an advantage: our God of Hope.
Encouragement: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV)
God of Hope: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)
If you are going through something similar to this message or if you’re willing to notice the people in your life who may be experiencing loss – PLEASE get some help, read this article, (Loss-Grief) delve into scripture and allow the God of Hope to help you & them through this very hard time in your lives. There are people who care but better than that: God cares and sees you right where you are in your life. I pray He wraps His ever capable arms of love around you and that you cling to the cross while you can’t cling to anything nor anyone else.

“What’s on your mind?” Ever notice that question before you automatically start posting on facebook? There’s way too much on mine these days and it’s mostly about hurt, sadness, meanness, arrogance, pride, lack of forgiveness, superiority, acting like others’ feelings don’t matter and knit picking. I’m emotionally drained from all of it and I’m not capable of fixing it for anyone else, let alone myself but it continues and it worsens. The only hope I see is Christ but even those of us who know He’s the Only Hope are still discouraged and heart broken by His people who resist forgiveness and humility. I know better than to limit God and I’m not giving up on Him even if it seems quite understandable to lose faith in some people who claim to know Him. Ever heard the saying, no one cares what you have to say until they know that you care? Well, it certainly applies and we need to take a long, hard look in our own mirrors before thinking we know others and their hearts. My Daddy used to say, “Don’t worry about anyone else, take care of number one, that’s a big enough job.” I get it and he was right. I have no business and neither does anyone else to think I should have all the answers, do everything right and everyone answers to me. We answer to our Creator and His Word is where I go for what’s right or wrong (and sometimes I still mess up) and His love is what I’m commanded to show others along with forgiveness not a Pharisee type attitude. I can’t change the way others treat me (regardless of their relationship with Christ) but I can & only with God’s help, make sure they see Him when they see me. My heart’s heavy tonight and it’s taken a while to get here but I know God is in control, see’s the end and know’s exactly how this will turn out. As hard as it is to go through I still don’t resent this heart God has given me for my family and friends and all their realities & mine right now. I’ll continue to be here for them because God knows we need each other.

Other people, our sins and all our reactions to those sins:

So often we get very adamant in demanding that others consider our sins as the same as theirs and by no means do I intend to get into a battling war over whose sin is worse or if any are worse than others. Not in this post. I’d rather take a look at how we insist that others treat our sins with the same (for lack of a better word) respect as they’d like us to treat theirs but that’s where it stops.

Allow me to explain further: take 5 church members all going to the same church. Each member brings his or her specific sins with them to this church. Some of the sins are, as we’ve discussed before, more evident rather than hidden in secrecy. So all the church sees the sins of the more evident. Needless to say, no discussion is made about the secret sins. So…where am I going…bare with me please. What’s only recently hit me is how we want our sins classified the same but we want it to stop right there. We want to call them all sins at that point when making comparisons but what about when facing consequences for our sins? You know the part where we are expected to consider our sins as God does – S I N!!! The part where we are to admit it’s sin & either repent of that sin or as some of us do – choose to embrace that sin because now, at this point, we wish to add to it a disclaimer hoping to justify us of our sin! Ewe! That one hurt right there, didn’t it? If we’re willing to acknowledge God and willing to agree that sin is what God calls sin and not try to change God’s Word to suit our lives than we HAVE to also consider it sin deserving of punishment and requiring repentance. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t call it all sin when comparing but separate it out as a specific kind of sin when justifying and continue living in that sin. You know what we’re doing when we do that? One thing is that we’re limiting our God. We’re saying He isn’t able to forgive and change that sinful part of us so we HAVE to embrace it. Another thing we’re saying is that we get to pick & choose which sins we’ll agree with God to call sin. That’s not scriptural and it’s against God. Think about it, let’s see: God says it’s wrong but since I haven’t been able to (on my own) quit being tempted or quit living in that sin then I’m giving up on God’s power & timing and just going to give in to that sin. God help us if we do.

Look, the way we choose to deal with those other 5 members or anyone else is up to us but if we claim to follow Christ then we are commanded to love one another and encourage each other and not tear each other down. But more importantly we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind and trust Him with our sins & temptations and rely on HIs power & timing to redeem us completely! All that to say people: We just can’t have it both ways!!!

I John 3:9  Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.

Hebrews 10:26-39 (NIV)  26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[b] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”[c]

38 And,

“But my righteous[d] one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”[e]

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

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!