Bible Readings for December 16th
When we read the story of the alliance between King Jehoshaphat of Judah and King Ahab of Israel back in 1 Kings 22, we didn’t learn much about Jehoshaphat. There, King Ahab was the main character, with Jehoshaphat entering the scene to play a supporting role in the narrative of how Yahweh was bringing judgment and disaster on Ahab for Ahab’s wicked idolatry and rebellion. It seemed as though Jehoshaphat was coming alongside Ahab to be a godly influence, trying to keep Ahab from ignoring the word of Yahweh altogether by demanding that they not go out to war together against the Syrians until they inquire for the word of Yahweh (1 Kgs. 22:5) and hear from a true prophet of Yahweh (1 Kgs. 22:7).
But as we read the narrative of this encounter in 2 Chronicles 18, this alliance becomes confusing. Why on earth would Jehoshaphat ally himself with a wicked king of Israel? Remember, King Ahab continued Israel’s rebellion against the house of David, even though the “LORD God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt” (2 Chron. 13:5). Not only that, Ahab was also a king who did more to provoke Yahweh through his wickedness than all the kings of Israel who had come before him (1 Kgs. 16:33). Even though Jehoshaphat escapes this joint military venture alive, upon his return (as we will see in the reading for tomorrow), Yahweh sends Jehu the son of Hanani the seer to confront Jehoshaphat, saying, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD” (2 Chron. 19:2).
It is a serious thing to enter too deeply into relationships with those who do not love the Lord. Paul warns us specifically about this in 2 Corinthians 6:14, saying, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” It is not legalism to dissuade Christians from engaging in romantic relationships or extremely close relationships of other kinds with unbelievers, since to yoke yourself to those who have not taken upon themselves the yoke of Jesus (Matt. 11:30) has the capacity to destroy your entire life by poisoning your walk with the Lord.
This is not to say that we should not pursue any relationships with unbelievers, for there is no other way for people to hear the good news of Jesus. But, take stock of your relationships today—are there places where you are being influenced away from Christ through people in your life, rather than influencing them toward Jesus? Brothers and sisters, we have nothing if we do not have Christ, so let us take care not to let anyone or anything cause us to stray from our first love.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.