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1 Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

...All we have to do,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬is simply to surrender to the belief of what we read.‭ ‬This will produce faith and all the other excellent fruits of the spirit-love,‭ ‬joy and peace in the mind,‭ ‬and righteousness in the life in preparation for the kingdom.

One thing which the apostles declare is that the things written were‭ "‬written for our learning.‭" ‬It was of the Old Testament this was said‭; ‬and of course,‭ ‬if true of the Old,‭ ‬it is true of the New.‭ ‬This being the case,‭ ‬let us spend a little time in getting out of the portions that have been read the‭ "‬learning‭" ‬they were intended to afford.

It might not seem at first sight that we could get much out of the first reading concerning the reign of Jehoram,‭ ‬the son of Jehoshaphat.‭ ‬It is a story of murder and wickedness:‭ ‬what good can it do us‭? ‬He,‭ ‬Jehoram,‭ ‬came to the throne when Jehoshaphat died.‭ ‬Jehoshaphat had many sons,‭ ‬and had made a good settlement for them all.‭ ‬He left a handsome fortune to each,‭ ‬and had distributed them among various cities of the realm,‭ ‬so that each was a prince in his own district.‭ ‬To Jehoram he had given the headship over all as king.‭

This wise arrangement ought to have worked well for all,‭ ‬but the very first thing that Jehoram did was to kill all his brothers,‭ ‬and to put also to death their friends and sympathisers-filling the land with mourning and woe.‭ ‬Not only so,‭ ‬but he established idolatry throughout the land,‭ ‬and led the nation away from the right ways of God.

What is the explanation of this extraordinary sequel to a reign so excellent as Jehoshaphat's‭? ‬Why did the son of a good king turn out such a monster‭? ‬Is it not true that if you‭ "‬train up a child in the way in which he should go,‭ ‬when he is old he will not depart from it‭?" ‬Yes,‭ ‬it is true.‭ ‬Wherein was Jehoshaphat lacking then‭? ‬Here is the point,‭ ‬and here is where we shall find our‭ "‬learning.‭"

Jehoshaphat did not take a firm attitude with those who were in a wrong position.‭ ‬He was friendly with the ten tribes who,‭ ‬though Israelites,‭ ‬had departed from the right way.‭ ‬He granted co-operation with Ahab,‭ ‬which he ought to have declined.‭ ‬He allowed his son,‭ ‬Jehoram,‭ ‬to marry a daughter of Ahab,‭ ‬which he ought to have forbidden.‭ ‬A prophet of God reproved him on the subject:‭ "‬Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord‭?" (‬2‭ ‬Chron.‭ xix. ‬2‭)‬.

‭ ‬Jehoshaphat was a good man,‭ ‬but lacking in the firmness towards evil-doers.‭ ‬He could not refuse their friendly advances.‭ ‬He consented to matrimonial alliance with the family of Ahab.‭ ‬His son‭ "‬had the daughter of Ahab to wife.‭" ‬The consequence was‭ "‬Jehoram walked in the way of the‭ (‬wicked‭) ‬kings of Israel,‭ ‬to whom his wife belonged,‭ ‬and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord.‭"

Here is a bit of‭ "‬learning‭" ‬through which we get from this as from many other parts of scripture:‭ ‬it is our duty to decline religious co-operation with those who are not in full submission to the way of the Lord.‭ ‬Above all,‭ ‬we ought not in marriage to be‭ "‬unequally yoked with the unbeliever.‭" ‬Any other line of conduct is not only displeasing to the Lord,‭ ‬but most hurtful to those who pursue it.‭

From the days of the flood down to the corruptions of the captivity in the times of Ezra,‭ ‬the scriptural narrative affords many illustrations of the evil that comes from‭ "‬the sons of God‭" ‬marrying‭ "‬the daughters of men.‭" ‬It is our duty to marry‭ "‬only in the Lord,‭" ‬that in the fusion of two lives,‭ ‬equally dedicated to wisdom,‭ ‬there may be mutual help in the way of holiness,‭ ‬and family life based on the fear of the Lord and submission to his word.

Sunday Morning No. 260

‭The Christadelphian Dec 1894.