Jehoshaphat was by all accounts a good king. He was a man that loved God, and wanted to do what was right. But he had one major fault. He was very unwise in his associations, and more than once, it got him into trouble.
First, he allied himself to Ahab through his son Jehoram’s marriage to Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. That in itself would have near fatal consequences to the line of Jehoshaphat as we’ll see later.
But then, when Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to join him in a war against the King of Aram, Jehoshaphat agreed. He did so against his better judgment. Jehoshaphat saw 400 prophets urge them to go to war, promising victory over the king of Aram. But despite all their words, Jehoshaphat must have sensed something wrong, that they were not true prophets of God. So he said, “Isn’t there a real prophet of God around here somewhere?”
Ahab answered, “Well, there is one guy, but I hate him because he never says anything good about me.” (I Kings 22:7-8)
Ahab’s answer must’ve disturbed Jehoshaphat on two levels. First, that Ahab would show such utter disrespect for a true prophet of God, and second that a true prophet of God had nothing positive to say about King Ahab.
Things only got worse from there. They called in the prophet Micaiah, and he sarcastically said, “Oh yeah! Go on up against the king of Aram. God will give you the victory.” (14).
Ahab obviously heard the sarcasm because he pressed him further, upon which Micaiah warned him that going to war would lead to his death. That God’s judgment was coming upon him. Upon hearing this, Ahab tossed him in prison.
So what did Jehoshaphat do? Did he say, “Well, that’s that. I won’t be going with you after all.”
No. Instead, he went anyway. What’s equally perplexing was that he agreed with Ahab and went to battle in his royal robes while Ahab went in disguise. Without God’s aid, he would’ve been killed, but God was gracious and spared his life, while Ahab perished despite his disguise.
After Jehoshaphat returned from the battle, another prophet named Jehu confronted him saying, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is upon you.” (II Chronicles 19:2)
Despite this, Jehoshaphat then allied himself to Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, building trading ships with him. But Ahaziah, like his father, was also a wicked man and another prophet came to Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord, will destroy what you have made.” (II Chronicles 20:37)
Only after those ships were indeed wrecked, did Jehoshaphat finally wise up and refuse to have anything more to do with Ahaziah. But that lesson didn’t last long. He would then ally himself with another of Ahab’s sons Joram, and that too led to near disaster. (II Kings 3) But that’s another story for another time.
What’s the point of all of this?
Be careful of who you associate with. This is not to say we are to isolate ourselves from all non-believers. What it does mean is that we shouldn’t tie ourselves to them in such a way that they influence us away from the will of God.
Proverbs 13:20 says,
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
Generally, when the Bible talks about fools, it’s talking about people who willfully turn their backs on God and his ways. And when we tie ourselves to them, and let them influence us, then we will suffer harm.
The key question to ask is, who is influencing who? Are you influencing them and bringing them closer to God? Or are they influencing you and taking you away from God?
Who are you associating yourself with?