The Weakness of Weaknesses

“Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel.  He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that Asa his father had captured.  The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments… Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.  His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. Furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

“In the third year of his reign he sent officials… to teach in the cities of Judah.., having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.”

“Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab… Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ‘Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?’ He answered him, ‘I am as you are, my people as your people. We will be with you in the war... Inquire first for the word of the Lord…’ And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.'” 2 Chronicles 17:1-7,9; 18:1,3-4,29

So many strengths. Jehoshaphat seemed to have it all: godliness, wholehearted obedience, favor from the Lord. He cleansed the kingdom of idols and made sure God’s law was taught and understood throughout. He was prudent, capable, and fortified Judah militarily.

Then he did the unthinkable. Bowing to the culture of the day, he made a marriage alliance with the wicked King Ahab of Israel, arranging for his son to marry Ahab’s daughter. Pride weakens good sense, and this one significant slip introduced corroding wickedness that threatened all the good that had been established. Falling for Ahab’s ruse, he failed to seek God directly, was nearly killed in battle, then 16 years later almost repeated that folly with Ahab’s son. Though God mercifully provided wise prophets and intervened to save him, and he later exercised sound and righteous judgment, his sloppy choices bred sloppy living as his son repeated his father’s folly. (2 Kings 3:5-8,11; 8:16-18; 2 Chronicles 19:4-10)

We may be strong in many ways, graced by God with firm commitment, a hunger for Him, His word and glory, and get along well with others. He may have granted a measure of worldly success in work, relationships, or responsibility. But one weakness, one slip of self-control, one crack of self-will, one drip of pride can seep and spread to undermine the good that seems established.

Where have I relaxed in spiritual vigilance? Failed to pray, sought another’s advice before the Lord’s, jumped in or spent or decided without thought?

“Oh, be careful little eyes what you see. 
Oh, be careful little ears what you hear. 
Oh, be careful little hands what you do.  
Oh, be careful little feet where you go. 
Oh, be careful little heart whom you trust. 
Oh, be careful little mind what you think.” ~Zondervan Music Publishers (1956)

Lord, keep me alert to weak areas and diligent to guard against falling, for Your honor above all.

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