When King Jehoshaphat learned an army more powerful than his army was about to obliterate his kingdom, he called all his people to pray and fast for the Commander and Chief of the Lord’s Army to intervene. Jehoshaphat was wise to count the cost before waging war after he failed to win a battle that was not his to fight. He sought the Lord in the case of king Ahab but didn’t withdraw after the Lord warned them not to go into battle; King Ahab tried to disguise himself, but was killed as the Lord had warned.
Jehoshaphat was crushed because he aligned himself with the wicked king, Ahab. Because he did not humble himself and walk away from a battle that was not his to fight, he lost countless fighting men and endangered his kingdom. Upon returning home, disheartened and sorrowful about the loss of loyal fighting men, a prophet of the Lord came to him and told him he was defeated because he aligned himself with a people who did not love the Lord. However, he learned from his mistake, repented, and this time, followed God’s direction, even when others doubted and questioned him. God fought for them. King Jehoshaphat instructed his people to praise God instead of lifting up their weapons. God confused their enemies, and they destroyed themselves! What a Mighty Warrior our God is! 2Chronicles 19 and 2 Chronicles 20
Although King Jehoshaphat aligned himself King Ahab, he advised Ahab to seek counsel from a prophet of God, and he did, but he refused to follow God’s instructions and died. King Jehoshaphat’s kingdom still paid a painful price because he didn’t detach himself from Ahab and fought a war not his own. I, too, aligned myself with the wrong people; toxic people and my losses were beyond comprehension.
Paul informed the believers not to be unequally yoked because the consequences were dire to them and their ancestors. Now that I reflect on my life’s journey, I regretfully see the many troubles I brought on myself and my children. However, through forgiveness and a changed mind, I can choose my battles wisely from now on. I am also aware of my enabling tendency; instead of rescuing, I tell myself, not my battle, not my war. I empathize and show compassion because my heart still hurts, but I allow God to reveal Himself to them in His way.
I can also be a source of hope to others by helping them find resources. I can share my growth in the knowledge of God from godly men and women who taught me in words and deeds and have walked the same path as I have and given me hope, and continue doing so today. Still, I am not equipped to rescue or help in ways above my capacity. Also, I see I am not responsible for the choices of others, and I am not their redeemer. Like King Jehoshaphat, I wanted peace, prosperity, and safety for my little kingdom, but I aligned myself with toxic people and desired their approval more than God’s approval. As painful as it was, God’s mercy humbled me, but I learned the lesson in the pain.
Also, I saw I was a people-pleaser more than seeking to please God above all else; I recognize this pattern in Jehoshaphat with King Ahab. I can discern God’s will for me in certain situations, such as the one I am in now, and for now, it is Praise because God’s Got This!
God is merciful, and like David and so many men and women in the Bible, we can learn by their example. Those who love God were sorrowful and changed their ways. And the Lord was faithful to forgive and guide them, but they failed to be faithful to God, as we, too, fail Him daily. The good news is that Jesus Christ, His Son made way for us because Jesus is our Redeemer. God doesn’t owe us anything but His wrath; Jesus took God’s judgment upon Himself and Redeemed us from the wrath of God. However, although the Lord forgives our sins, we still suffer the consequences of our choices, and our children suffer.
Finally, this is why the prophets prayed for the iniquities of their ancestors. As an example of the prophets, we, too, can repent, change our behaviors and teach the generations after us by modeling humility when we mess up, take responsibility, and make changes that will impact them and others for the greater good as God intended for humanity.