Jehoshaphat couldn’t resist the temptation of causing displeasure to Ahab even though he had heard God’s counsel not to join Ahab in the war against Ramoth Gilead (2 Chron. 18:16, 18). His alliance to Ahab by marriage (2 Chron. 18:1) posed a threat to his obedience to God. He feared that such an alliance might break. He put his marriage ahead of God’s provisions, and decided even before he inquired of the Lord on the issue:
Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war. But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.” (2 Chron. 18:3b, 4)
God knows the result of making alliances with unbelievers—compromise. Hence, a lot of admonishments to His people not to form alliances with those who do not worship Him (Ex. 23:31-33, 34:13-16; 2 Cor. 6:14).
Why would Jehoshaphat compromise even though he had heard from the Lord?
Jehoshaphat compromised because he did not want anything to stand between him and the alliance he had with Ahab through marriage (2 Chron. 18:1). He feared the possibility of his obedience to God marring this alliance. Unlike him, Micaiah did not compromise in spite of the threat of imprisonment (2 Chron. 18:15-22, 25). He did not allow the fear of king Ahab to perturb him. Like Peter and John, he feared God instead of man (Acts 4:19). This is the kind of attitude we must hold as Christians.
We are most tempted to compromise with our friends, families, employers, neighbours to sin when they have done us some favours. We feel obligated to return their favours even if it will mean sinning against God. We want to do everything we can to please them even if it will be displeasing to God. In our minds we don’t want to ‘hurt’ them even though it will mean hurting God. The desire to please people then becomes one of the reasons for compromising with God’s instructions. It is therefore important for us to be careful of the favours we receive from people and the alliances we make, for these are openings for compromise.
Don’t set traps for yourself by putting yourself in a tempting situation; you may not be able to flee. We always blame the devil for the temptations that come our way; but in fact many of these temptations come from us (James 1:14, 15).
What to do
1. Be careful of the kind of favours you receive. If necessary, pray through before you accept an offer.
2. In whatever situation you find yourself, ask whether it falls within God’s will. Do not decide before you ask.
3. Flee the temptation of pleasing people or speaking what they would like to hear. Tell the hard truth; do the right thing.
4. Do not enter into alliances and contracts with unbelievers. They will make you compromise on your Christian principles.
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