This morning I read about Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He started well. Built defenses against Israel who had been threatening. (Ahab, the king of Israel, was the ultimate materialist, a God-sneering scumbag!) Jehoshaphat went to great lengths to bring his people back to the worship of God, and his nation prospered mightily. But next we read,
”Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.” What!!! Although he had no interest in going to war with Syria, he went on to join forces with Ahab in a battle, why? Because they shared the Jewish heritage, they were brethren!
Here again, we find personal sense, the downfall of even very good people. Jehoshaphat no longer felt a threat from Israel because of his own strong position. In his prosperity, he lost his “wholesome fear of God.” He let this low-life, Ahab, flatter him, play on his heritage pride, and away he went. In the ensuing battle, Ahab was killed and there was no victory. Jehosaphat went back to being a very good, God-fearing king until, again, he fell for the family thing, partnered with the next king of Israel, Ahaziah, another very bad man, to make ships to go to Tarshis, and they all broke up and sank!
Lesson? Our only protection for staying on the straight and narrow is our spiritual sense, the consistency with which we turn to God to know what is right and what is wrong. The two most likely stumbling blocks? Family connections and prosperity. If we are ever tempted to put our family or our prosperity before what we know is right with God…
Let’s see now, what should I follow - my personal, pathetically finite sense of things, OR the source of all good, the all-knowing, infinite, universal Love? Really, now, is that such a difficult choice?