Reading through the Bible together
Jehoshaphat was a good king and spiritual leader, courageously calling his people to spiritual reformation and obedience to God. For this the Lord blessed him with “riches and honor” (2 Chron. 18:1). However, at the height of his prosperity, Jehoshaphat allowed his son Jehoram to marry Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. In this way Jehoshaphat and his wife became in-laws with Ahab and Jezebel—the legendarily wicked first couple of Israel. As a consequence God withdrew His providential blessings. God does not play favorites (v 7). We can expect the same treatment from a holy and consistent God if, as Jehoshaphat, we persist in walking in paths of our own making.
Through His prophet Jehu, God made clear how displeased He felt by Jehoshaphat’s befriending the ecumenically minded, secular and prosperousAhab (v 2-3). Although Jehoshaphat kept working on spiritual revival and reformation for his people, the consequences of this transgression to God’s explicit command furthered apostasy in the kingdom of Judah. A “little accommodation” of God’s commandments undid Jehoshaphat’s years of reforms.
Marriage outside of the faith is never a good idea. Neither is any accommodation of God’s will to the spirit and teachings of the world. Revival and reformation must start in our own lives as we daily surrender our will to God and choose to live “according to every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).