Jehoshaphat’s Compromise 2-Chr. 17-20 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The Lord substantially blessed Jehoshaphat and Judah during Jehoshaphat’s reign. He strengthened himself against Israel [2 Chr 17:1], the Lord was with him [2 Chr 17:3], his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord [2 Chr 17:6], he authorized the teaching of the words of God throughout Judah [2 Chr 17:7-9], the fear of God kept the neighboring kingdoms from attacking [2 Chr 17:10] and Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly in commerce and defense [2 Chr 17:12-18].
And yet when it came to his dealings with Israel, he compromised his godly principles and thus incurred the wrath of God [2 Chr 19:2]. He fought in a battle with Ahab against the Syrians that he knew Ahab would lose because of the prophecy of Micaiah [2 Chr 18]. If it hadn’t been for the Lord’s intervention, Jehoshaphat would have been killed [2 Chr 18:31-32]. He also joined with Ahaziah to make ships to go to Tarshish [2 Chr 20:35-37]. It’s shocking that he did this after the Lord had fought for Judah in their war against the children of Moab, Ammon and mount Seir [2 Chr 20].
Why in the world would Jehoshaphat compromise like that? The compromise of Jehoshaphat’s principles was motivated by four things:
His Consort – he joined affinity with Ahab [2 Chr 18:1]. This was a relationship established by marriage. He married Athaliah the daughter of Omri, Ahab’s sister. You can tell this by 1 Ki 16:28 Ahab son of Omri. Athaliah daughter of Omri 2 Chr 22:2. The 42 year old Ahaziah who reigned in Judah was her son and he was also the son of Jehoshaphat [2 Chr 22:9]. Thus, Jehoshaphat and Athaliah were married. You can be sure that when her brother Ahab needed help in his fight against the Syrians, she was there to “motivate” him.
Be very careful who you marry because she can motivate you to compromise your Biblical principles.
His Concord – they had been enemies from prior kings [Rehoboam and Jeroboam (1 Ki 15:6), Asa and Baasha (1 Ki 15:16)]. So, 2 Chr 17:1. In 1 Ki 22:44 Jehoshaphat made peace with Ahab. 2 Chr 18:3 Jehoshaphat pledged absolute support for Ahab in his fight with Syria at Ramothgilead.
Be careful who your friends are and with whom you make agreements [2 Cor 6:14-18]. They can motivate you to compromise your Biblical principles.
His Covetousness – Jehoshaphat had plenty of wealth [2 Chr 17:5; 18:1]. But he wanted more. So, he joined himself with Ahaziah [1 Ki 22:51, Ahab’s son] to make ships to go to Tarshish [2 Chr 9:21] like Solomon had done [2 Chr 20:35-37]. And because the Lord didn’t want Jehoshaphat to help the ungodly king [2 Chr 19:2] the Lord destroyed the ships.
Be careful about compromising your Biblical principles out of covetousness. Many men look at business as separate from their church life and do things that are not based on good Biblical principles. Watch out. The Lord could destroy your works [1 Cor 3:11-15].
His Control – Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah [2 Chr 18:3] and Ahab was the king of Israel. When they joined affinity with each other, there was an attempt to reunite the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. When Ahab died, Jehoshaphat became king of Israel [2 Chr 21:2] as well as of Judah. That’s why there were two Ahaziah’s reigning in Judah when Jehu took over Israel and destroyed Jehoram and all of Ahab’s house. The 22 year-old Ahaziah ruled over Judah [2 Ki 8:26], Jehoram ruled over Israel [2 Ki 1:17, he was also known as Joram (2 Ki 8:28)] and the 42 year-old Ahaziah [2 Chr 22:2] was going to rule over the reunited kingdom.
In other words, it appears that Jehoshaphat wasn’t content with just ruling in Judah. Perhaps, his motives were good. He was a godly man and had brought Judah back to the words of God. He could have easily desired to bring Israel back to the Lord, as well, by expanding his reign over them. Nevertheless, God was displeased with his attempt and completely thwarted his plans. God used Jehu to totally destroy this affinity.
Be very careful with your hunger for power. Unbridled ambition can cause you to compromise your principles and destroy your labors.
Conclusion: Jehoshaphat was a great king over Judah. Yet, he ventured into some things that really cost him. You must be very careful not to compromise and repeat what Jehoshaphat did. Be careful who you marry. Be careful with whom you make deals. Be careful with your covetousness. And be careful with your ambition. Any one of these can get between you and the Lord and compromise your good relationship with him.