What does it say?
By this time the son of Judah’s king Jehoshaphat has married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah and as a result Israel and Judah find themselves temporary allies (1Ki 22). Ahab proposes they join together to reclaim disputed territory from Syria. Jehoshaphat wants to consult with a prophet beforehand. Micah is the prophet that warns against the effort. Ahab ignores the warning and is killed in battle. The remainder of the chapter speaks of long reign of good king Jehoshaphat and of Ahaziah of Israel who follows his father Ahab and walks in his evil ways.
2 Chronicles 18 covers the same events as 1Kings 22. As we have learned to expect, Chronicles emphasizes Judah and Jehoshaphat, the continuation of David’s line.
What does it mean?
Ignoring God’s word is a fatal mistake that is clearly illustrated in the life and death of Ahab. Earlier we learned that God’s word dictates history, yet does so without dictating our individual choices. Properly understood in context, there is no conflict between God’s sovereignty and human choice. We have seen God’s mission remain unchanged from the beginning, to fill creation with being to voluntarily worship and glorify God. Since the inception of sin, God has tirelessly worked toward the redemption and restoration of creation. Ahab and Jehoshaphat both make choices and reap the consequences in the over-arching context of God’s plan.
Jehoshaphat is without doubt a good king, one committed to God and in submission to his word. One flaw in his reign is the marriage of his son to Ahab’s daughter. The short-term result is a temporary alliance of the two rival kingdoms; but, the long-term Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah, almost destroys the lineage of the kings of Judah and of Messiah. One thing is to love our enemies; quite another is to enter into binding relationships that have terrible consequences, whether those relationships be marriage or other partnerships that bind God’s people to those who have a totally different worldview.
How will I respond?
Is there an area of disobedience to God’s word in my life that I need to deal with today? Am I on the verge of entering into a binding relationship with someone that does not share my values?