(Parallel Passage: 2 Kings 8:16-24)
Some of this background will overlap with the 2 Kings 8 post, but some people read individual books with the Bible Book Club. So I am repeating some of it.
Jehoram of Judah - 2 Kings 8:16-24
Reigned: 853-841 B.C. for 8 years alone and 5 years as co-regent with his father, Jehoshaphat (873-848 B.C.)
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab’s daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Chronicles 21:5-6, NASB95).
Overlap with Israel's King: Ahaziah (853-852 B.C.) Jehoram (Joram) (852-841 B.C.)
Manner of Death: Stricken by God
Parallel Story: 2 Chronicles 21:1-20
Jehoshaphat's spiritual reforms were wiped out because of the wicked reign of his son, Jehoram, from 848-841 B.C. (although he co-reigned with his father from 853 to 848 B.C.). He married Athaliah, who didn't have the most illustrious family tree:
Jehoram killed his brothers and allowed/promoted idol worship. Jehoram's evil reign reflects poorly on Jehoshaphat, but Jehoshaphat made an ungodly alliance with Ahab which led to the marriage between Athaliah and Jehoram. Even though Jehoshaphat repented of his alliance, the damage was already done and would affect successive generations. Jehoram's marriage to Athaliah was Judah's downfall because she brought the wicked influence of her mother, Jezebel to Judah, causing Judah to turn from the Lord and worship Baal (22:3). She would, in turn, be the mother of the next evil king, Ahaziah (2 Kings 9 and 2 Chronicles 22).
Not even intervention from the prophet, Elijah, could save Jehoram from God's judgment, and Elijah prophesied enemy invasion and a slow and painful death for Jehoram. He died "to no one's regret." Even with Jehoram's wickedness, God was not willing to destroy Judah because of his covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:13).
NOTE: Chronicles only mentions Elijah once in 21:12, and it is the only known written message by him. His story is found in 1 Kings 17:1-2 Kings 2:11, and this confrontation is not mentioned in the 1 Kings account.
George was bemoaning the fact that these good kings would beget such bad sons! We both agreed that we want to learn a lesson from their lives!
Jehoram's choice of a marriage partner made all the difference in his downward spiral into idolatry and murder. There probably would not have been any association between Athaliah and Jehoram if it were not for Jehoshaphat's alliance with her father, King Ahab! So, even though Jehoshaphat was a good king, overall, he did not protect his son from bad influences.
What is our lesson for today?
Recently, we had a wonderful visit with a single, young man whose relationship with a godly young woman has been hastened and nurtured along because their godly families have gotten together and saw the potential and prayed! I have another friend who will soon be a grandmother because they did wonderful wholesome things together with other families (country dancing, Civil War reenactments), and a romance developed between her oldest son and one of the girls in another family. The smiles on the parents in the wedding pictures tell it all!
So, I guess the lesson here is that the "alliances" we make with other people do affect our kids' lives. (I was abused by my dad's best friend, and it had profound effects on me!) So chose your friends wisely!
If you are unmarried and have godly parents, let them have input into whom you spend the rest of your life with. If you are unmarried and have ungodly parents, find mentors who can walk with you through your relationships before you make an unwise choice that will affect the rest of your life!
If you are married with children, spend some time praying for each child's future marriage partner. Pray protection over them.
If you are unmarried, spend some time praying for your future spouse. Pray against the enemy. He loves to trip us up with the wrong kind of relationship. Also, pray for mentors in your life to guide you and give you honest feedback in your relational choices. If those mentors are godly parents, thank God for them!!!!
(2014: We knew a single man in our ministry who did not seek out our counsel when he pursued a woman. We observed alarming things in how he related to the women in our group prior to this and had many red flags regarding his suitability and readiness as a marriage partner. Not surprisingly, when he went to pursue a woman, he did not tell anyone in our community and sought out mentors through the dating and engagement process who did not know him well. He was a complicated young man, and it even took me, who is usually pretty discerning, almost a year of regular ministry contact to see the red flags. Consequently, his new mentors could not have possibly seen what we saw. This woman was enamored with his charms, but she also did not take the time to know him well and was married to him within six months of first meeting him. We did not know her well enough to urge her to wait until she knew him better. This unwise (or uninformed choice) on her part has led to a horrendous marital relationship in which I am now heavily involved. My heart is breaking today over this and underscores my exhortation above to find well-informed mentors!)
2015: Sadly, they were divorced in January.
Lord, we pray protection over the single people we know who are waiting on You for the spouse of Your choice for them. Please guard and protect them from the enemy. Help them to listen to counsel. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.