2 Chronicles 18:1-8 (Part 1) – The Line Must Be Drawn Here! This Far, No Further!

Posted: August 28, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 18:1-8 (Part 1 of 3)

Jehoshaphat and Ahab

Opening Illustration/Comments

This short passage of only 8 verses has got so much good stuff to blog about in it, that this will be a 3-blog visit to his passage before we move on to the next passage. Here is today’s first of these three blogs…

As many of you know, I am a Star Trek nerd. The three main franchises of the genre are Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS), Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), and Star Trek: Franchise Reboot (movies only). TOS and TNG all had movies that started coming out after the weekly television serieses ended. And it was one of these post-series movies that I think of this morning. It was the second movie for the TNG group of actors. It was Star Trek: First Contact and it was released in 1996.

There is a famous line from that movie uttered by Jean Luc Picard, the captain of the TNG series’ USS Enterprise. In that movie, Picard is lamenting the losses of the Federation to the relentless Borg (a cyborg race that attacks and assimilates planets of people into their robotic, emotionless, collective society). As the Borg now have their sights set on Planet Earth, Picard is fed up with retreating and cowering away from the Borg when he says this:

NO! NOOOOOOOOO!!! [smashes a display case in anger; Both pause, shocked] I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

The line must be drawn here! This far! No further! Classic line. I still repeat it when I get the opportunity in the right situations. It was passionate statement of no compromise. A line about being of the mind that you would rather die defending my honor and freedom than to cower and submit to that which we know will enslave us.

Why do I mention this scene this morning? It’s because life is about choices. Here in this passage, we have a king that has a choice. The choice is thinking that if we dive into a pool that we won’t get wet. The choice is thinking that if we drop ink into a clear glass of water that the water will not be permanently changed in color and content. The choice is thinking that if we have long term relationships with unrepentant sinners that we won’t get burned by it. Sure we are supposed to witness to unbelievers but there comes a point at which we must say, the line must be drawn here! This far, no further!

It is that idea of Christ followers compromising our beliefs just to have relationship with unrepentant non-believers that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 18:1-8. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

18 Jehoshaphat enjoyed great riches and high esteem, and he made an alliance with Ahab of Israel by having his son marry Ahab’s daughter. 2 A few years later he went to Samaria to visit Ahab, who prepared a great banquet for him and his officials. They butchered great numbers of sheep, goats, and cattle for the feast. Then Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him to recover Ramoth-gilead.

3 “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah.

Jehoshaphat replied, “Why, of course! You and I are as one, and my troops are your troops. We will certainly join you in battle.” 4 Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.”

5 So the king of Israel summoned the prophets, 400 of them, and asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?”

They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! God will give the king victory.”

6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”

7 The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”

8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Quick! Bring Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that although Jehoshaphat was deeply committed to God, he arranged for his son to marry Athaliah, the daughter of wicked King Ahab of Israel, and then made a military alliance with him. Jehoshaphat’s popularity and power made him attractive to the cunning and opportunistic Ahab. This alliance had three devastating consequences:

  1. Jehoshaphat incurred God’s anger (see 2 Chronicles 19:2).
  2. When Jehoshaphat’s grandson died, Athaliah seized the throne who almost destroyed all of David’s descendants (see 2 Chronicles 22:10-12).
  3. Athaliah introduced the pagan religious practices of Israel into Judah, which once introduced could not be fully eradicated and it was a growing cancer within Judah and led to the nation’s downfall.

Although Jehoshaphat was a godly man, this decision to align himself with another king he knew to be evil was not a wise decision. It was a politically expedient decision to meet the needs of the moment. He did not think of the long-term implications of the decision. The Bible warns us not to yoke (align) ourselves with non-believers, but yet at the same time, we are called to be witnesses to non-believers. The issue comes down to one of compromise. We are to be witnesses to and have relationships with non-believers but we are never to be so interested in those relationships that we compromise our beliefs simply to have relationships with them.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we have choices to make in our lives, who we marry, who we work for, who we hang out with and so on. We should be wise as to who we have serious relationships with as Christians, particularly those relationships in which we spend significant amounts of time. When we marry an unbeliever, we cannot down the road act all shocked and distraught about what to do. When we are dating and considering if this person is a person that I can live with day in and day out, the first concern should not be how good looking they are, how sexy they are, how much money they make, what they do for a living, it should be whether they are a Christ follower or not. We should find out if they are a real Christ follower or just claiming to be a Christian. This one should be the first line deal breaker. If they are not Christ followers and appear to have no intention of accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord, that’s a deal breaker for whether to marry them or not.

My mother-in-law has a saying that has stuck with me over the years, “Don’t put up with, for one day, that which you are not willing to put up with the rest of your life!” I understand that we are to witness to non-believers and we are certainly called to do that, but marriage is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. This is who you sleep with, this is who you spend all your non-committed hours with, this is your home base relationship. Here, an unwilling and unrepentant non-believer is simply not marriage material for a believer. Plain and simple. It is a relationship for which you have an upfront choice.

It is the same in our other most significant relationship, our jobs. We have an upfront choice as to whether we are going to work for this company or that. We must do our homework when looking for jobs. Is this a place that does its business in an ethical and Christ-like manner. Does it expect its employees to operate in the same manner. Does the company encourage and enforce Christ-like behaviors? We can’t act all shocked a few years down the road when we are asked to do unethical things or there is this spirit of unethical behavior in the business. As well, if the business has a reputation of harboring and promoting non-marital relationships between co-workers, don’t act all shocked a few years down the road when you see affairs happening all over the building or that you succumb to the behavior yourself. We have a choice up front in who we work for. We must do our homework on potential employers.

Between work and our spouse, these are the two things that claim the most of our time in life. We should be discerning about who we marry and where we work. Outside of that, are we not called to witness to an unbelieving world. Yes, we are, but we are not to compromise our beliefs just to win someone to Christ. We are love people to life in Christ but we are not to go against God’s Word to achieve some cheap conversion. Let us be wise with whom we spend the most time and let us be wise in how we represent the gospel message.

Amen and Amen.

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