Jehoram was NOTHING like his father Jehoshaphat. He was everything like the kings of Israel. And NO ONE mourned his death.
The last time we met we looked at Jehoshaphat’s sin of going into the shipping business with Israel’s kings. God said his punishment would be that He would destroy what Jehoshaphat had made. I commented on the notion that God was referring to the ships and not the reform Jehoshaphat had enacted in Judah. Looking at today’s text, I believe I overstepped my assumptions. In ONE generation the people went from walking in the ways of the Lord to following after the same idols Israel did. What was gained was lost. This is so heavy I want to just sit with it a moment.
Because of Jehoshaphat’s first big sin, Judah was set up for the likes of Jehoram. And it brought about spiritual disaster for Judah. The ‘other sandal’ has truly fallen.
The first thing I noticed is that Jehoshaphat didn’t look at his son’s character, their connection to the Lord, or ability to lead when choosing who would follow him on the throne. He chose his eldest for the simple reason that he was the eldest.
Jehoshaphat apparently loved all his sons as he gave them all “great gifts of silver, gold, and valuable possessions, together with fortified cities in Judah” (verse 3a). None were neglected or left out.
Jehoram had NO love for his brothers or he was so afraid of somehow losing the throne that he killed them all. He even killed some of his brother’s sons to ensure HIS line was the one that would continue. He was TOTALLY self-serving; a true Narcissist. But then again, this seemed to be the thing to do with changing the throne in Israel and he followed the practices of Israel.
Jehoram’s wife was one of Ahab’s daughters. This was the marriage that Jehoshaphat arranged with the house of Ahab, which puts an even earlier blog into questionable error. I supposed Jehoshaphat took a wife for himself from Ahab. That doesn’t seem to be the case, which is probably why the influence of Jehoshaphat is so absent in Jehoram. He listened to his wife over his father. His wife will be a MAJOR problem for Judah for some time to come!
Just like Solomon’s wives led him astray, Jehoram’s wife leads him into GREAT sin. He reintroduced the gods that his father had cleared Judah of over his lifetime. He so alienated the people that two groups even revolted against him; the people of Edom and Libnah. These were territories that were under the rule of Judah because they were conquered. They were slaves and servants to the people of Judah. Jehoram made that situation even more unbearable.
The ONLY reason God didn’t do away with this awful king was because of His promise to David. God could have easily struck him down in the street, but He didn’t. God allowed him to rule for eight years. He allowed the people to choose which way to walk. And He let them see the disaster that Jehoram was.
When Jehoram died NO ONE mourned him. They lost all they had gained before he became king. The peace that the people had enjoyed under Jehoshaphat was over. The other nations no longer feared them because their God was no longer with them in battle. They no longer called upon Him as a people. They didn’t even have their servants any more. Life under Jehoram wasn’t good at all. He got the sparsest respect they could pay him in his burial.
“A little leaven leavens the whole loaf” (I Corinthians 5:6b). Jehoshaphat started it when he brought Ahab’s daughter into the family. She was raised in a household steeped in sin and she brought that sin with her and shared it with all who came in contact. I wonder how easily it found a home in Jehoram’s heart. Was her ideas easily adopted or did Jehoram resist? Did Jehoshaphat see a difference in his son or was he always so self-absorbed?
We have to be on guard against such ‘leaven’ in our relationships too. This is important enough for the Holy Spirit to bring it up again. Guard your heart against such influences and see them for what they truly are; an avenue for attack.
Father God, please keep a hedge of protection around my heart and mind. Not one so thick that it can’t be penetrated by those in need that You direct my way. But thick enough to stop the attacks of Satan. Help me know when to trust and lay my heart open, when to bear it a little, and when to cover it completely. In ALL times though Lord let me show Your love in ALL I do.