S: 2 Chronicles 17:3-62, 2 Chronicles 20, 1 Kings 16:30-33, 2 Chronicles 18, 2 Chronicles 19:2-3, 2 Chronicles 20:35-37, 2 Chronicles 21-23
O: Israel and Judah had split after Solomon, and the northern kingdom of Israel had had one bad king after another. There was war between Israel and Judah from the time of Jeroboam till the time of Zimri. Now, a new dynasty had taken over Israel under Omri during the reign of good king Asa of Judah.
After Asa died, his son Jehoshaphat became king of Judah. He was a good king, and followed Yahweh. Therefore God blessed him and Judah became prosperous.
Seeing that prosperity, Moab, Ammon and Edom formed an alliance and invaded Judah. Jehoshaphat was terrified, but called for fasting and prayer. So God spoke through Jahaziel: He would rescue them. So the worship singers lead the army of Judah going into battle.
God caused Ammon and Moab to attack Edom instead, and then Ammon and Moab fought each other! So in the end, all Jehoshaphat and his army needed to do was to gather the plunder! It took them 3 days to do that, there was so much of it.
Ahab succeeded his father Omri to the throne of Israel, and he was steeped in evil. Yet, inexplicably, Jehoshaphat made an alliance with him, having his son Jehoram marry Ahab's daughter Athaliah. Perhaps he thought it was worthwhile to do this in order to end the years of war between Israel and Judah since the split in Rehoboam & Jeroboam's time. But in doing so, he essentially was having his son marry a follower of Baal. This was in spite of Jehoshapat's good experience with Yahweh saving him, and in spite of knowing that his ancestor Solomon's marrying pagan princesses caused him to stop being faithful to Yahweh, which resulted in the divided kingdom.
Some time later, Ahab decided to attack Ramoth Gilead, and asked Jehoshaphat to help him. Jehoshaphat agreed, but wanted to consult a prophet of Yahweh about it, even though Ahab's prophets of Baal had already predicted victory. So finally Ahab called the prophet Micaiah, but warned Jehoshaphat that Micaiah never predicts anything good for him.
Indeed, Micaiah predicts that Ahab would be killed in this battle. Nonetheless, Ahab persists and Jehoshaphat foolishly follows him. Ahab took the precaution of disguising himself so that the enemy wouldn't know it's him, so during the battle, the enemy attacked Jehoshaphat instead, thinking that he was Ahab. Nonetheless, the Word of Yahweh by Micaiah came true as a stray arrow killed Ahab.
Later, another prophet of Yahweh, Jehu ben Hanani, admonished Jehoshaphat for helping the wicked, those who hate Yahweh. God is upset with Jehoshaphat for his partnership with such people, yet also recognized that Jehoshaphat was faithful to God and never worshiped other gods.
In spite of this, Jehoshaphat entered another partnership with the wicked, this time with Ahab's son and successor Ahaziah, the new king of Israel. Perhaps he thought it was OK as this time it was a business partnership and not a military one. They made ships to go to make money trading to Tarshish, but the prophet Eliezer ben Dodavahu prophesied that Yahweh would destroy it because of his partnership with the evil Ahaziah. So the ships were broken and the business venture failed.
The consequences of these illicit partnerships Jehoshaphat made with the house of Omri were far-reaching and nearly snuffed out the line of David in Judah! Here is what happened as a consequence after Jehoshaphat died:
Due to his marriage to Athaliah bat Ahab, the next king, Jehoram, became an evil Baal-worshipper and led Judah astray spiritually.
Ahaziah ben Ahab fell from though his window lattice and was gravely injured, and sent emissaries to Beelzebub to ask if he would recover. Yahweh sent Elijah to admonish him for consulting Beelzebub instead of Yahweh, and told him he would die.
Then his brother Joram became king of Israel, but by this time Yahweh had given up on the house of Omri and had the prophet Elisha anoint Jehu to replace the house of Omri in Israel.
While Joram was recuperating from battle injuries, his nephew Ahaziah ben Jehoram (son of his sister Athaliah), who is now king of Judah, came to visit his uncle, and Jehu fell upon them both and killed them, as well as other relatives from Judah who came later to visit, not realizing that a coup had occurred. Jehu then started a new dynasty in Israel.
Meanwhile Athaliah in Judah saw her chance and killed all the descendants of the House of David and grabbed power for herself! She then began a reign of terror, suppressing the worship of Yahweh in Judah and promoting Baal.
Fortunately, Ahaziah's sister Jehosheba managed to hide away baby Joash with the high priest Jehoida in the Temple. 6 years later, they managed a counter-coup and killed Athailah and restored the House of David to the throne of Judah.
A: Our choices have consequences. 2 Corinthians 6:14 warns, "Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
When we are seeking partners — whether in business or in marriage — we must be careful whom we choose.
The Bible doesn't make it black-and-white what it means by "yoking with unbelievers", but many Christians think that it means making a partnership. For example, the Bible has many examples of believers working for non-believers without condemnation, for example Daniel and Joseph both served pagan kings. But marrying non-believers seems to be almost completely negative (the only exception I can think of is the special case of Hosea and Gomer.)
P: Father, thank You for the example of Jehoshaphat, both good and bad. When we are making our choices, help us to remember and give us the wisdom to make godly choices. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)