2 Chronicles 18
We had such high hopes for Jehoshaphat. He was following the Lord, leading the people well, tearing down the idols left by former kings.
But he allied himself with the godless Ahab. He valued the unity of Israel over unity with God. When asked about going to war with Ahab, instead of the first words from his mouth being that they should seek the Lord before making a decision, he commits to join Ahab, and then suggests maybe they should consult with God about it as a spiritual afterthought. His priorities are revealed—nationalism trumps faith.
This is a little convicting for me. How often do I jump on a bandwagon thinking that I’m being patriotic, making peace, or maintaining the unity of the body, without first asking the Lord which position honors Him? Aligning ourselves with sin, for the sake of peace or unity, is aligning ourselves against God.
We’re in a season where the emperors’ nakedness within the evangelical church is being noticed for the first time. Behavior of leaders that have been ignored for generations are being pointed out, called out, and rooted out for what they are: sin. Treating anyone within the body with disrespect, disdain, or discrimination reveals a view of them that doesn’t reflect their role as image-bearers of Christ. This doesn’t make those who have behaved badly villains, demons, or pariahs—it means they sin just as we all are prone to do. Just as we all must evaluate ourselves, hold one another accountable, and repent when sin creeps into our lives.
If it weren’t so sad, the second scene in this chapter would make a great SNL skit. I picture Micaiah saying, “Attack and be victorious” in a monotone, yawning, and rolling his eyes. Ahab is surrounded by a bunch of yes-men prophets who applaud his every foolish move. Micaiah, the only remaining prophet of the Lord who hasn’t been put to death or run out of the country, only has criticism for him. But instead of considering the value of the criticism, he turns a deaf ear.
God’s sovereignty echoes through this chapter, but roars in the final scene. All Ahab’s scheming couldn’t save him when God had decided enough is enough. We can’t hide from God. We can’t disguise ourselves and think we can escape the consequences of our rebellion and sin. Even when our sin is hidden in our heart so deep that those around us see us as ministry leaders, pastors, elders, teachers—God sees what we do in private. God sees what happens in our heart when pride, lust, and greed take hold.
There have been several “letters” written in blogs and articles lately. Letters to our brothers and apologies from them for the blindness that allowed abuse to continue. Consider this a letter to all of us, a warning missive, if you will.
Our first allegiance, always, must be to God.
Our loyalty and oneness must be to the gospel.
Our solidarity must be with those who stand for righteousness.