Sermon for 03.08.23 “Strange bedfellows: Jehoshaphat”

Lenten Midweek 3
Text: 2 Chronicles 17:1–6; 18:1–3; 19:1–7
Theme: Strange Bedfellows: Jehoshaphat
Other lessons: Psalm 45; Revelation 2:18–28; Matthew 7:24–27
Hymns: LSB 438, 644

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The reading from 2 Chronicles 17-19 serve as our sermon texts for this

C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
• God of mercy and love, I know that sometimes I allow myself to be
distracted by things that really don’t matter all that much. I would rather
pursue intellectual arguments than live the Gospel. I would rather debate
my equals than defend the vulnerable. I prefer to think about You instead
of getting to know You. Help me, O Christ. Help me to discern what matters
to You and to the vulnerable You call me to help. Help me to open up my
heart, wide in love and grace, and so be a living example of your Good
News. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.


A. “Politics makes strange bedfellows” expresses the idea that people of
differing views and character come together to achieve political goals.
• Alliances are made that would otherwise seem unlikely.

B. And politics isn’t just Washington.
• The politics of business makes alliances to get a good deal.

C. In fact, we make alliances in every arena of life.
• Unfortunately, that makes life a series of compromises.
• It could be said that all life, as with politics, is the art of
• The question always is, what and how much is compromised?

A. Jehoshaphat made a marriage alliance with Ahab.

A. We come today to Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, whom we heard about last
• Jehoshaphat is the great-great-great-grandson of King David, and
succeeded his father Asa to the throne of Judah.
a. 2 Chronicles 17:3–4 (NASB95)
3The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his
father David’s earlier days and did not seek the Baals,
4but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not
act as Israel did.
B. 2 Chronicles 17:5–6 (NASB95)
5So the Lord established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought
tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.
6He took great pride in the ways of the Lord and again removed the high
places and the Asherim from Judah.

B. Recall that at the end of his father Asa’s life, the Northern Kingdom of
Israel was threatening the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
• Asa had paid for outside help, that is, for Syria to attack Israel.
• And so the beginning of Jehoshaphat’s reign was marked by tension as the
new king of Judah fortified the northern border with Israel.
• However, there was no war, and in fact, the surrounding kingdoms feared
Judah and paid tribute to them.

C. Now Jehoshaphat had an idea.
• There was a new king in Israel, and Jehoshaphat saw an opportunity:
a. What’s better than making war with Israel?
b. Making love with Israel!
c. Make love, not war.
d. 2 Chronicles 18:1 (NASB95)
1Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he allied himself by
marriage with Ahab.
E. He gave his son Jehoram in marriage to King Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.

B. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with evil brought disaster for Judah.

A. The idea, in case you’re not familiar with the politics of the ancient
world, is that a marriage alliance is often the best and fastest way to
grow the kingdom.
• First of all, it was less likely King Ahab of Israel would attack Judah,
since his own daughter was in line to be queen.
• And perhaps the kingdoms could even be reunited at some point.
• Sounds like a good move, right?
• It worked for countless other kingdoms.
• Why not here?
• What a great idea!

B. But Jehoshaphat and Ahab were strange bedfellows.
• Yes, they were both kings of God’s people. They spoke a common language
and had much in common culturally.
• However, much separated Jehoshaphat and Ahab as well.
• If you don’t remember Ahab, perhaps you’ve heard of his wife, Jezebel;
they were quite a pair.
• They were constantly trying to kill the prophet Elijah.
• They falsely accused their neighbor Naboth and killed him so they could
take his family vineyard.
• They worshiped idols and did all manner of evil.
• And now, by arranging a marriage alliance, Jehoshaphat and Ahab were in
bed together—at least the prince and princess were.

C. 2 Chronicles 18:2 (NASB95)
2Some years later he went down to visit Ahab at Samaria. And Ahab
slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and the people who were with him,
and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead.
A. What a welcome!
B. Jehoshaphat goes to visit his son-in-law’s, and it’s party time!
C. But King Ahab has an idea of his own.
D. King Ahab is fighting Syria and wants to influence Judah to join the
E. That’s what allies are for, is it not?

D. So Ahab says and Jehoshaphat responds:
• 2 Chronicles 18:3 (NASB95)
3Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with
me against Ramoth-gilead?” And he said to him, “I am as you are, and my
people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.”
B. Thus Judah and Israel have been joined as one—bedfellows.
C. The great irony is that they will go to fight Ben-hadad of Syria.
D. Yes, the very same Ben-hadad that Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father, had paid to
attack Israel in the first place!
E. So now Judah is going to fight against the mercenaries Judah had hired!
F. How times have changed!
G. Jehoshaphat thought he was making peace but gets dragged into a war.
H. That’s what happens when you make alliances with men like King Ahab.

E. But that was only the beginning. Ahab’s real plan was to get Jehoshaphat
• Ahab knew that Ben-hadad, the Syrian king, would try to kill him and thus
end the war quickly.
• Here’s the plan:
a. 2 Chronicles 18:29 (NASB95)
29The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go
into battle, but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised
himself, and they went into battle.
B. With allies like these, who needs enemies?

F. In the end, the plot didn’t work.
• Ahab was the one who was killed, and his blood ended up mixed with water
from a public pool.
• Dogs licked it up, and prostitutes washed themselves in it (1 Kings
• Jehoshaphat, on the other hand, would repent and be one of the great
kings of Judah.
• However, the contamination of Judah by marriage to a daughter of Ahab had
a cost.
• The damage had already been done.

G. Jehoshaphat led his people into a compromised future.
• What happens to Judah after he dies and Jehoram becomes king?
• Jehoram is married to Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel.
• She had no intention of leaving idolatry behind and faithfully following
• In fact, the Scriptures make this point very clear, that:
a. 2 Chronicles 21:6 (NASB95)
6He 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
E. Judah suffered terribly under the reign of the bad king Jehoram along
with his wife!
F. Jehoshaphat was indeed one of the great kings of Judah, but he was
seduced by the allure of this marriage alliance with Israel.

C. Yet when we are faithless, God is faithful.

A. This adulteration of the house of David could have destroyed it.
• 2 Chronicles 21:7 (NASB95)
7Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the
covenant which He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a
lamp to him and his sons forever.
B. From 2 Timothy we hear these words:
• 2 Timothy 2:13 (NASB95)
13If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
C. God remains true to his people despite their being charmed into
practicing wickedness and idolatry.

D. The Son of Jehoshaphat’s uncompromising love led to his crucifixion.

A. Jehoshaphat was a good king of Judah, but we need the King who is better
than he; we need a King who will not be lured away—whose commitment to his
people is stronger than his desire for alliances.
• We need the Son of Jehoshaphat, who was uncompromising in his love for
• He refused to bow down and worship the devil to gain the kingdoms of the
• He refused to bend to the Pharisees’ demands to follow their traditions
rather than God’s commands.
• He was not swayed by appearances but truly taught the way of God.
• He would rather go alone to the cross than abandon his mission of our
• His only alliance is to his own people, even though his own did not
receive him.

B. Truly we need the Son of David, who would remain faithful to his
faithless bride.
• He would ransom us:
a. we who have often whored after other gods, from the power of Sheol and
redeem us from death (Hosea 13:14).
b. His blood would wash his Church white as snow and present her to himself
in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing by the washing of
water with the word (Ephesians 5:26–27).

C. And yet the Son of God did even more than simply stand by us when we
were faithless.
• He chose his people despite her failings.
• We read in Hosea that he seeks to draw us back to Himself even us, we his
faithless bride.
• He brings us into the wilderness and speaks tenderly to us in Hosea 2:14
when He says,
a. “You are my people,”
b. and shows mercy to us.

D. The Church and her Lord and Husband Christ are certainly strange
• We are by nature sinful and unclean.
• We look longingly at other gods, fascinated by what they have to offer.
• We have proven ourselves to be easily seduced by pleasures and willing
even to betray our beloved when we feel pressured.
• And yet, Jesus would love his people and give Himself up for her.
• He would bring us back to himself.
• He has joined himself to us, not even death to part.

E. The Son of Jehoshaphat Is Faithful to His People, even when His people
are not faithful to Him.

E. Eternal life is the result of Jesus’ unilateral alliance with us.

A. And so, despite what you see around you:
• that life is the art of compromise
• truly our life is not found in compromise.
• Rather our life is found in Jesus Christ’s one-sided marriage alliance to


A. We are his unworthy bride.
• He is our faithful Husband who loves and cherishes us.
• This promise he has made on His own person, giving us the seal of
• He has no split allegiances, and for this we offer the Son of David our
whole hearts in faith and worship. Amen.

B. Let us pray:
• Merciful God, hear my prayer. When I am down and out, or too weary to do
anything else, I do not offer kindness as often as I might. I admit that I
do not add beauty to the world apart from You. I pay lip service to the
cries of others and sit idly by until the sound fades. Sometimes I get it
right, and sometimes I don’t. I ask for Your mercy and grace, and I ask for
Your help, to give me courage and strength to live as You would have me
live. In the name of Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, I
pray. Amen.

C. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.