"When Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and also some of the princes of Israel… And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." - 2 Chronicles 21:4, 6
Yesterday we noticed how King Jehoshaphat, a good and godly man, longed to see Israel and Judah united, or at least allied. He did everything in his power to bring this about. It seemed like such a good idea!
But Israel had completely turned its back on God and His Word. God warned Jehoshaphat repeatedly not to seek peace with those who hate God, but Jehoshaphat wouldn’t listen. One of his efforts to bring about peace and unity was to arrange a marriage between his Crown Prince, Jehoram, and one of the daughters of Ahab, the King of Israel. That marriage was the beginning of the end for Judah. It was all downhill from there. Jehoram followed the advice of his wife, who had learned everything from her mother, Jezebel. He started out by murdering all his brothers, and continued by introducing idolatry, prostitution, witchcraft, and every imaginable kind of perversion to Judah. He “led his people“ into these things, setting the example for them to follow. Of course, there were people in the kingdom ready and waiting to follow such a leader; there always are. This was their chance to bring about what they considered real “progress” in the country and they grabbed it. Judah never recovered from the downward spiral begun under Jehoram. There were a few encouraging times of revival but the slide continued until the Babylonian captivity brought it to an end, 266 years later. Would all this have happened if not for Jehoshaphat’s willingness to seek peace and unity at any price? We’ll never know, of course. We don’t get to know what might have been. But we can see what did happen and learn from it. A great Southern Baptist Pastor named Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “It is better to be divided by truth than united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie.” Sounds a lot like Martin Luther, doesn’t he? There are some things that are worse than division, and a policy of “peace at any price” will eventually cost everything. Choose to stand firm on God’s Word. There you will be on the “right side of HisStory.” Lord, my heart is grieved by the divisions I see in our families, in our communities, in our country and even in Your church. I’m tempted to just quit holding out and try to agree with everyone for the sake of peace. Help me to know when and how to humbly take a stand on Your Word. Give me a heart to discern what’s important, when to speak and when to be silent, for Jesus’ sake. Amen. Pastor Dan Giles