I had to cringe a bit when I heard the singer, a well-known preacher of that time, said “good King Jehoshaphat.” Any preacher claiming to be a minister of Christ should read the entire Holy Bible numerous times throughout their life. I had to wonder what portions of the Holy Bible the singer read, or if he was actually aware of certain facts about Jehoshaphat why lift him to a level where the unlearned might think everything Jehoshaphat did was good.
The fact is that Jehoshaphat had his flaws which need to be considered by us lest we make the same mistakes, especially as we approach the end of this age.
The brief background for this is that sometime before Jehoshaphat reigned, Israel had split into two nations under King Rehoboam. They are biblically referred to as Judah and Israel and by scholars as the Southern and Northern Kingdoms. The first king of the Northern Kingdom, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was given the dubious distinction (1 Kings 22:52) that he “made Israel to sin” by initiating idol worship. Because of continued disregard for God’s commands Israel was the first to go into captivity.
King Ahab was a very wicked king of Israel and was reigning at the time of Jehoshaphat. It is true that compared to Ahab and most other kings of Israel, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was “good.” Nonetheless, if we carefully read the record of his life an reign we see he had a tendency to spiritually compromise.
For this article we specifically focus on 2 Chronicles 18:1-3, 18:28-19:3, and 20:35-21:4 to see his compromising moves and the results of them. I will not have all the text of those passages printed in this article, so if you do not have a Holy Bible you can look up these passages at blueletterbible.org (http://www.blueletterbible.org/index.cfm) or biblegateway.com (http://www.biblegateway.com/). I recommend that you use the New King James Version.
I. Jehoshaphat Readily Compromised 18:1-3
Jehoshaphat aligned himself with the Northern Kingdom through marriage. This was a fleshly choice instead of spiritual. We need to realize that we are spiritual creatures. We have a spirit which will return unto God after our death. Our physical and social life is passing away.
If you are truly redeemed by Christ you have two families. You have your natural family and you have your spiritual family. When a confrontation occurs between obeying God and following the wishes of our earthly family we need to obey God. Note well Matthew 12:46-50 “While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’”
If anyone considers it unloving for one to esteem the body of Christ (The Church) greater than unredeemed natural family members, or greater than natural family members who say they are Christian but are disobeying God in some aspect, then I would say it would be unloving to both groups not to esteem the Body of Christ greater. You are not going to bring the lost to Christ or help the spiritual weak if you are stuck in the same mire they are.
When Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he would go to war him against Ramoth Gilead, Jehoshaphat replied (KJV), “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.” I really feel Jehoshaphat insulted himself and the subjects of his kingdom by his statements. It seems to me he did not consider at all that although he and Ahab, and his subjects and Ahab’s were Hebrews there was no consideration that they were not the same spiritually.
When I read, “we will be with thee in war,” I have to think about how many Christians moan and groan about the need to be unified. True godly unity can only be had among true godly individual Christians. There are actually two churches today: The True Church and the apostate church. We are in a spiritual battle. The apostate church will lose. Not for one moment should any Christian compromise core truths that lead to Eternal Life. They include there is one God Who subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Christ is the only Way to God; salvation is not of our own works but is of the finished work of Christ; the Holy Bible is the Word of God and supreme above man’s word; and that one must progress into holiness.
II. He Was Rescued Once 18:28-19:1
As both were going to battle against Ramoth Gilead, Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.”
From this we learn we should expect the spirit of stupidity, and not the Holy Spirit, to be upon us and thus beg peril if we ally ourselves in any endeavor with the unregenerate or spiritually weak.
Christians have married, or gone into business, or joined denominations, and so on, with the spiritually weak and even the godless with disastrous results. For example, let us say a true Christian goes into a business with an unsaved person. Give it time and somewhere the Christian will be asked to lie or cheat the customer. Too often a disciple gives in. If one keeps giving in they may eventually fall from grace.
The examples I just gave are those of direct compromise. We also need to be careful of indirect compromise. We should not house watch, babysit, and so on so another can go out to gamble, drink, or any other such activity.
Jehoshaphat is barely spared. This is an amazing account in the Word of God and you should read the entire chapter. Ahab is killed seemingly by random, but those of us who know God would say it was definitely the providential hand of God.
III. Rebuked 19:2-3
As Jehoshaphat returns home, (19:2 – KJV modified) “Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, ‘Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate YHWH? therefore is wrath upon thee from before YHWH.’”
Keep in mind there are times when God does want us to help the ungodly, but it is never going to be at the risk of our spiritual wellbeing. Also, one might think “those people of such and such denomination are really nice and are certainly not ungodly,” or “my flesh and blood who claim to be Christian cannot be ungodly,” and that such people do not hate God. Consider well James 4:4 (KJV): “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Anyone who chooses non-biblical values hates God and themselves. The opposite parallel to this is where Christ tells us that as disciples we will need to hate our flesh and blood and even our own selves (Luke 14:26). Christ was perfect example of this for, though while He did love his mother and brothers, He loved the will of the Father much more. So, in comparison, some would observe that in that sense He hated His own earthly family.
Before I get much further I would also like to point out that we must be aware of compromising not only biblical value, but the spoken word to our heart. While every true Christian is on the same foundation, which is Christ, there are those elements of the Christian walk called personal convictions, or perhaps better put, personal directives. For example, I would have no problem working in a decent secular job that took credit cards, but I know a brother in Christ who feels that he should not. That same brother in Christ has no problem with going to some movies. I do. Neither one of us should compromise what we feel is a personal directive from God, nor should be criticize the other for their conviction.
But, now let us return our attention to King Jehoshaphat. He almost got killed and he was rebuked by a prophet. You would think he would have learned his lesson, but read on.
IV. He Reverts Back! 20:35-36
Ahab was dead and his son, Ahaziah, was his successor. Ahaziah wanted to make ships that would go to Tarshish. After nearly losing his life it is hard for me to imagine why Jehoshaphat decided to join him in this project. Perhaps he considered it a harmless family endeavor.
V. Rebuked Again 37a
This time Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. Let us keep in mind that though there is the definitely the office of a prophet, to some level every true believer is one since prophecy really means speaking the will and mind of God. Therefore, every true disciple has a duty, in all humility, to rebuke others, even their own family, when they step outside the will of God.
It is to Jehoshaphat’s credit, though, that unlike some ungodly kings he never rebuked, punished or killed those prophets that rebuked him.
VI. Retribution 37b
God saw to it that the ships in this joint venture were destroyed. This reminds me so much of 1 Corinthians 3:9-17:
“9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
VII. Repercussions 21:1-4
After the death of Jehoshaphat, his firstborn, Jehoram reigned over Judah. When his rule was strong he saw to it that his brothers and some princes in Israel were killed. Though a son of Jehoshaphat, no doubt his father’s inclination to compromise made an adequate channel for the evil of the house of Ahab to infect his heart.
I have heard of cases of those who have stepped out of the will of God and were physically killed somehow. Worst than that is those who died spiritually due their compromises of their spiritual integrity.
If you have been compromising, directly or indirectly, ask God’s forgiveness and repent (alter your mind and course of action), seeking His direction and help.
This article is a form of a message (sermon) outline. God willing, you will find links to the actual message (sermon) sometime hopefully by January 29, 2013 at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M231 .
Holy Scripture, unless otherwise noted, is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The NKJV text was copied from http://www.biblegateway.com.
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