Elijah writes Jehoram a letter to rebuke him for his evil influence as Judah's king, "You have not walked in the way of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab" (2 Chron. 21:12-13). Elijah promises Jehoram that the LORD will soon strike everything that belongs to him with a heavy blow and that he will die a horrible death.
Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram had married Ahab's daughter, Athaliah. Their son, Ahaziah, succeeds Jehoram to the throne. He walks not in the ways of his paternal grandfather Jehoshaphat, but in the ways of his maternal grandfather, Ahab. Athaliah's influence leaves its mark on Ahaziah, "He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction" (22:3-4).
What may have seemed like a wise move in one generation--an innocent alliance by marriage with a neighboring king--becomes the nation's unraveling in following generations. Jehoshaphat's daughter-in-law wields incredible influence over his grandson, to his grandson's hurt and to the detriment of Judah.
An idea that has gained considerable currency in our day is that "my marriage is merely a relationship between me and my partner; no one else has any say, and no one else will be affected." Both Scripture and current reality reveal the flaw of that thinking. Every relationship has impact on future generations. The choices made today affect tomorrow's children and grandchildren.
Marriages are covenants made before God; those who choose to enter that covenant lightly, especially to enter that covenant with unbelievers, invite the same disaster into their homes. God is serious when He says, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14).
The prophet Amos may have had this very relationship in mind when he wrote, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3). This is my husband's favorite verse for premarital counseling. If one spouse is headed for heaven and the other is headed for hell, this marriage has no chance of succeeding. The union may seem to be right, but the God who knows all things sees far enough into the future to see the ultimate disaster of such a marriage. Be careful when you make lasting alliances-relationships matter!
Review Deuteronomy 28:15-16, 25, 33. What had the LORD promised will occur if Israel disobeyed the LORD and His commandments? How doe the LORD fulfill this promise in Jehoram's day? What does this reveal about God?
How does the alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab affect the reign of his descendants? What does this alliance cost Judah?
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