Alliance Troubles

The Trouble With Alliances

Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going.  If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. (Exodus 34:12)

Welcome to Faithfulness Friday!  I’m thrilled you are here. 🙂  Today’s focus will (again!) be on chapters 17-20 of 2nd Chronicles.  You might be glad to hear that this is our final week on these chapters.

Last week, in our Need for Making a List, we looked at the events in fiery orange that were against God’s directions.  Do you ever wish for a loud buzzer with bright orange, flashing lights to warn you of trouble ahead?

The Trouble With Alliances

As the saying goes, hindsight is perfect.  In this 2020 year for clearer focus on God’s faithfulness, we can learn from examples of others in scripture.  We need to take seriously God’s warnings in His Word because our errors can drastically change the future (as we’ll see today).  And, because God means business with His warnings.  Yikes!

When King Jehoshaphat of Judah arrived safely home in Jerusalem, Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. “Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” he asked the king.  “Because of what you have done, the Lord is very angry with you.
(2 Chronicles 19:1-2)

Let’s back up a little (for context) from the verse in chapter 19 to the very beginning of 2nd Chronicles, chapter 18, where we see King Jehoshaphat in a good place.

Jehoshaphat enjoyed great riches and high esteem, (2 Chronicles 18:1a)

But . . .    isn’t there always one of those – a “but”?  It always reverses things.

Today’s Focus Boils Down to Alliances

Alliance #1:

The verse above continues to say Jehoshaphat made an alliance with Ahab (King of Israel, Northern Kingdom) through the marriage of his first-born son, Ahaziah, to Ahab’s daughter.

SIDE NOTE (also important for next week’s study):  We haven’t discussed in detail the fact that Ahab was married to Jezebel, who became Ahaziah’s evil mother-in-law.  If we were to study some influential women of the Bible, Jezebel would probably be on the list.  But (there is it again), not in a good way.  Jezebel was horrid!

Alliance #2:

As the story goes for Jehoshaphat, he visited Ahab a few years later and was enticed to enter into battle with King Ahab.   Jehoshaphat not only accepted, he acted thrilled!  400 prophets of Baal told Ahab they would be successful.  Jehoshaphat, in his usual way, asked that they seek the Lord through a prophet of the Lord, Macaiah.

Macaiah’s report was opposite what the Baal prophets predicted.  He used sarcasm to be sly in pointing out the error of Baal’s prophets.  He also clearly stated King Ahab would die in that battle but Jehoshaphat would live.

Alliance Troubles

Consequence #1:

Naturally, the double-crossing, evil Ahab sent Jehoshaphat forward into battle robed in his kingly garb and in his kingly chariot as if to say, “Here he is!  Kill him!”  Ahab disguised himself as a regular warrior, hoping to escape notice as King of Israel.  The enemy sought out Jehoshaphat because it was obvious he was the king.

But . . .  God, in His faithfulness, protected Jehoshaphat.  At the same time, God worked His judgement against evil Ahab, who died from some “random” arrow penetrating a crack between his shields of armor.

Not only that, they lost the battle.  Jehoshaphat returned home safely but humbled, only to hear the words of the visiting seer Hanani.

. . . Because of what you have done, the Lord is very angry with you.
(2 Chronicles 19:2b)

Let’s review, shall we?  The set-up that Jehoshaphat fell for with Ahab resulted in a harmful alliance and was rooted in the first sinful alliance of Jehoshaphat’s son in marriage.  Both alliances went against God’s directions for His people when leaving slavery in Egypt.

Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going.  If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. (Exodus 34:12)

The directive applies to marriages, too, and God also gave specific instructions in other passages for marrying within the Israelite people.  As Christians, we receive instruction in the New Testament for marriage.  As God’s people, we should be equally yoked – with business partnerships and with choosing a spouse.

In His faithfulness:

God protected Judah from total destruction under Jehoshaphat’s leadership.  The Lord blessed Jehoshaphat for being a good king, a Godly king.  Jehoshaphat’s alliance errors brought consequences, but his intentions weren’t rooted in an evil heart like with Ahab.  Ahab needed judgment, but as someone seeking the Lord, Jehoshaphat was spared from destruction by his enemies.

The next battle that followed the battle discussed today was the one we discussed in the first Faithfulness Friday post (Your Victory Faith Song).  What a beautiful win we saw in that post for Jehoshaphat to finish his reign as king.  God was faithful to conquer the enemy Himself.  Jehoshaphat’s army was required to do nothing.  God did it all!

Next week, we’ll see how improper alliances affected future generations following Jehoshaphat – and how God’s promises to David held steady in the presence of much sin.

Question:  Do you sometimes think you have many things in common with someone when there is truly only one thing that hints to a bond?  And, that one thing isn’t a bond at all, but one that’s sort of assumed?

Another question:  Do you ever cling to friends for security when you’re in a hard season, when your faith in God is weak?

Because He lives~

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Hi and welcome! It's wonderful to have fellow "embracers" during some pretty tough seasons - and some triumphant ones, too. I invite you to enroll to receive my blog posts by email so you don't miss what's coming next.

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