What harm is there, really? Toying with the pleasures around us, hanging out in places we really shouldn’t, doing things that aren’t pleasing or glorifying to God when we know better… what’s the big deal?
Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, became king of Judah after his father died. We are told “And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David’s earlier days and did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did.” ~ 2 Chronicles 17:3-4. He sent out leaders, “And they taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the LORD with them;” ~ 2 Chronicles 17:9
King Jehoshaphat truly sought after God, to walk in His ways. So how did he end up forming an alliance with wicked King Ahab?
“And Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ‘Will you go with me against Ramoth-gilead?’ And he said to him, ‘I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.’ Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Please inquire first for the word of the LORD.'” ~ 2 Chronicles 18:3-4
Four hundred prophets spoke of a favorable outcome for the upcoming battle. Yet Jehoshaphat recognized that they were not seeking after the LORD. “But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?’ And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me but always evil.'” ~ 2 Chronicles 18:6-7a
Sure enough, the prophecy was not a good one- Ahab’s death was foretold. It seems Ahab decided he could somehow thwart it by disguising himself, but urged Jehoshaphat to go to battle in his royal robes. And Jehoshaphat did so!
“So it came about when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, ‘It is the king of Israel,’ and they turned aside to fight against him. But Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him, and God diverted them from him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 18:31
Jehoshaphat cried out to God, “and the LORD helped him”. His life was spared. Ahab was not so lucky. “And a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel in a joint of the armor…and at sunset he died.” ~ 2 Chronicles 18:33a, 34b. True prophecies from God always come to pass.
“Then Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and so bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? But there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.'” ~ 2 Chronicles 19:1-3
Wow. Jehoshaphat knew better. He knew how truly, horribly wicked Ahab was, yet he chose to hang out with him, and follow him, and it nearly cost him his life.
What a warning this should be to us. Be very careful who you fellowship with. And should you find yourself in trouble, make sure your heart is set to seek God and cry out to Him!