Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold, but they did not go, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. – 1 Kings 22:48 ESV
We can read to find that Solomon’s shops had returned in safety and prosperity, but Jehosephat’s vessels never reached the land of gold. The protective care of God prospers one and frustrates the desires of another – in the same business and at the very same spot. Even so, our Great Ruler is as good and wise in the one instance as at the other. I’m reminded by Job that He is the LORD that gives, and the LORD that takes away.
LORD, give us grace and peace in this verse that we receive and that is not stolen away by the enemy — so that we bless you both for ships broken at Ezion-geber as well as for vessels filled with temporal blessings. Trusting in you, we will not envy the more successful, and we won’t grumble over our losses as if we’ve been singled out and tried in some way we foolishly think is “special and unique way tand not common to all men”. Remind us that when our path goes the way of Jehosephat, that we are precious in the Lord’s sight, even though our schemes may end in disappointment.
Is there some greater lesson that you will bring to light through our situation, LORD? Isn’t there some revelation that can be found in the workings of our God? Is there a secret that has until the time of revelation remained forgotten, hidden in the shadows from the light that makes all things known in due time? Of course!
The secret, forgotten cause of Jehosephat’s loss is something that we ought to pay attention to, because it is the root of a tremendous amount of suffering in the LORD’s people both then and now. It was an alliance with a sinful family, it was his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Chronicles 20:37, we are told that the LORD sent a prophet to declare, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made.”
Yes, this was a Fatherly chastisement and a prophetic blessing, because in the verse following his losses, we see Jehosephat refusing to allow his servants to sail in the same vessels with servants of the wicked king Ahaziah.
And what do we see as evidence of Ahaziah’s wickedness?
And what was the evil of his mother and father?
And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord , more than all who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord , the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. – 1 Kings 16:30-33 ESV
LORD, teach us to trust you even in those moments when you wreck our plans so that you might wreck our hearts so they are broken for your will and purpose. LORD, remind us the difference between serving, loving, and ministering to the lost and becoming unevenly yoked with unbelievers. LORD, remind us to go out to offer the Good News of healing, salvation, true blessings, life, and freedom from the sin that binds so many who are still in slavery while maintaining close fellowship with those who are spiritually understanding — both humble and bold in rightly divided unit of Truth and Love (which are not opposed but are in fact the same). Amen.