“[Jehoram] 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... He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one's regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.”
2 Chronicles 21:6,20
Jehoshaphat’s heartfelt longing for peace with Israel would seem like a good thing. After all, Judah and Israel were closely related, all descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What could be wrong with the desire for peace? He tried every possible way to bring it about. It seems his motto was “peace at any price.”
In his efforts to bring about peace and unity between the two kingdoms Jehoshaphat arranged for his oldest son, Jehoram, to marry Athalia, the daughter of Ahab and Jezabel. (What could possibly go wrong?)
But Israel was an apostate nation. It had turned its back on God. The national religion was now the worship of the golden calf idols, and Jezebel, the pagan wife of Ahab, Athaliah’s mother, had established the worship of the Sidonian fertility gods, Baal and Astoreth, in Israel and violently persecuted the Prophets of God.
Jehoram started out his reign by murdering all his brothers. He aggressively promoted idol worship. In just eight years he undid all the good his father had done and abolished the godly government that Jehoshaphat had taken thirty-five years to build. Judah was quickly becoming what Israel had already become.
Evil is always more easily established than good, because it appeals to our sinful nature. The rebellion against God and all that is good is in our hearts, and so our sinful nature gleefully responds to it.
We see it today in the party atmosphere that surrounds looting and violence: gleeful anarchy, characterized by a violent rejection of any symbol of order and good; the hatred that spills out in chants, “Give us what we want or we’ll burn your house down!”
Pray for our nation. Pray for Godly leadership, wisdom from on high, peace and order in our streets and a spirit of forgiveness to prevail. These are attitudes that will never come out of our sinful nature, so pray for a spiritual awakening, for hearts that are converted and so produce better things. Pray that we who know the Lord can set the example for our governing authorities to follow.
Lord of the Nations, we plead for our country. The elections are close. Give us godly leaders. Give us peace and bless our country with security. Protect our homes, our families, and our businesses. Give us teachers in our schools who will help our children to form Godly attitudes and learn good things. Bless our relationships with our fellow citizens, and the international relationships with allies and enemies. Let Your Kingdom come and your will be done here, among us. In Jesus’ name, amen!
Pastor Dan Giles