PARTNERSHIP with 'UNBELIEVERS' can lead to COMPROMISE: Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance; and by marriage he allied himself with Ahab. After some years he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria; and Ahab killed sheep and oxen in abundance for him and the people who were with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth Gilead. So Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?" And he answered him, "I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war." (2 Chron. 18:1-3)
Jehoshaphat was a godly king of Judah who walked in the commandments of God (17:3). He was delighted to serve God and removed all the high places and wooden images from Judah (v. 6). So God established his kingdom, and as added blessings he got riches and honor in abundance (v. 5). He promoted teaching of God’s laws throughout the land through his leadership team and the Levites (vv. 7-9). Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah became so powerful with fortresses, storage cities, vast properties and mighty men of valor (vv. 12-13) that their neighboring kingdoms were afraid of making war with them.
In contrast with his early years, Jehoshaphat came under God’s curse because he ignored the prophetic warning and made an alliance with Ahab, the wicked king of Israel (18:1) through the marriage of his son Jehoram to Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah (21:6). This alliance led to Jehoshaphat’s involvement in battle as an ally of wicked Ahab of Israel against Syria (see I Kings 22:1–38). Although Jehoshaphat was more spiritual than Ahab, he was drawn into a war with Syria as a result of this “unequal yoke” of partnership, and this eventually led to compromise and disaster (2 Kings 11:1). This incident has been written later as an admonition to the people of God, even for today (1 Cor. 10:11–13).
King Jehoshaphat’s life is aptly described in Psalm 1:1–3. He walked in the right counsel (17:3), he delighted in God’s ways (17:6), and he was fruitful in his service, sharing the Word with the people (17:7–9). He practiced the fear of the Lord, so he was protected by the fear of the Lord. But Jehoshaphat allowed his son to marry from the wrong family and then joined with the wrong allies who forced him to fight the wrong war, and he almost came to the wrong end of his life journey. By walking “in the counsel of the ungodly” and “sitting with the scornful” (18:9; Psalms 1:1), Jehoshaphat found himself in serious trouble.
Let us listen to God’s admonition that we should not be “yoked together” with unbelievers as our partnership with them will eventually lead to compromise in our lives!