When someone has an effective way with words, we say they have a silver tongue or are a slick talker. Both phrases could be used to describe King Ahab. In yesterday’s reading, the Israelite king persuaded his Judean ally Jehoshaphat to put on his royal robes and join him in battle, while Ahab disguised himself as an average soldier (22:30). The enemy mistakenly identified Jehoshaphat as Ahab and pursued him (22:32). This decision almost cost him his life!
You might think that this near- death experience would cause the godly king to reevaluate his relationship with wicked kings. But Jehoshaphat continued to ally himself with those who hated the Lord. At that time the balance of power between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah was tilted in the favor of the north. Israel possessed more territory, and under the leadership of Omri and Ahab had become more prosperous. This might explain why a righteous king like Jehoshaphat would make peace with Ahab (v. 44). He wanted the benefits that would come from this alliance.
That alliance almost cost him his life. So, it may surprise us to read in today’s passage, that Jehoshaphat made the same mistake again, allying himself with Ahab’s wicked son, in a business venture. A plain reading of 1 Kings suggests that Jehoshaphat built ships, they were destroyed, and then he rejected Ahaziah’s offer. But comparing this story with the account in 2 Chronicles 20:35–37 suggests that Jehoshaphat accepts Ahaziah’s offer at first. Only after the ships were destroyed did he reject a second offer to try again, but with Ahaziah’s men aboard. Jehoshaphat’s craving for recognition led him into compromising alliances.
>> While God’s people exist in this world, we are warned not to build close alliances with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14–15). Have you considered how your wants and desires lead you to compromise with those who are enemies of God? Are you putting yourself at risk?
Our culture encourages us to be friends with whomever we can, and to “live and let live” those with whom we cannot. It is hard for us to call someone out for living sinfully, but we ask You to give us the courage so we will not be led astray.