Jehosephat was a great king of Judah. He loved the lord. At one point, this enormous army comes to attack. We know that we are supposed to pray first in all things, but there are just some things that trigger a reaction. Any sort of attack is one. We convince ourselves that sometimes we can't help but ‘act first, think later.’ Jehosephat resisted any temptation to handle the crisis himself. He prayed.
What a great example! But at the end of his life he got into bed, so to speak, with the wicked king of Israel. They worked on a joint venture of trading ships. Was there anything wrong with the project itself? I personally doubt it. God certainly had no problem blessing his obedient people. Trading is a common way to bring blessings to a country. No, I believe God didn’t care much about the project itself, but cared much more about the person with whom the king was partnering.
As I read the passage with my kids, we paused here to discuss why God sank the ships and destroyed the business. I asked them how they might feel if their own child asked to marry a drug addict. Both emphatically said, 'No!' Why? They were able to understand the difference in the relationships of partner from friend or ministry.
When we form a partnership in business or marriage, a joining, vulnerability and surrender or submission are required. You hand an element of your life to your partner and spouse. Imagine pouring cups of water into a larger bowl. How would you pull out only the water that was in your cup? When you are merely friends with someone, you have more control. You may choose to share a little water, splash around a bit and move on. With some you share more, and with others less. But very little is required, you are still holding your cup with your water. When in ministry, you willingly pour from your cup, but you pour directly into the other person’s cup. You take nothing.
We continued to read and encountered Jehosephat’s son. This is where the tragedy is made clear. This new king had been raised by a wonderfully godly man. But when he is established on the throne, he kills all of his brothers. They weren't a threat. They'd received generous inheritances. He just killed them. He was wicked. From where would such influence come?
Then he married a godless Israelite princess, from the family of his dad’s partner. In total, he reigned eight years, received a prophesy that he would die a painful death just six years into his reign and when it came to pass, the whole country was glad to see him go. He didn't even get buried in his 'rightful' place.
Let's go back to the scenario of a son or daughter marrying a drug addict. Initially my kids saw problems with this union because the addict could harm their children in pursuit of drugs. They wanted something better for their kids. But we got to see a new layer of tragedy that springs from unequal partnering. When a child is raised by one ‘good’ parent and one ‘bad,’ they are under at least equal influences. And a child may not as easily discern truth, especially when wicked behavior is often more flashy, dramatic and sensational. When so often the ‘good’ parent relents for the sake of peace, all the excitement increases when it looks like that sort if behavior is met with success!