Shabbat Shalom family,
Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:4 “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore intends to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.”
‘Adulterers and adulteresses’!!! – this emphasises the concept of unfaithfulness toward the One to whom we belong, which includes the idea of idolatry; and here in this letter to the twelve tribes who are in the dispersion, Ya’aqoḇ is issuing a very severe warning that we all need to take heed of! The accusation being made here by Ya’aqoḇ is that the called out chosen nation of Yisra’ĕl had indeed been engaged in an affair with the world through its ‘friendship’ with the world by following its ways and being yoked to people and a system that adheres not to the clear ways of Elohim as outlined in His Torah.
The word used here for ‘friendship’ is φιλία philia – Strong’s G5373 and is only used here in the Renewed Writings (N.T.) as it involves the adopting of the interests of the world as one’s own and speaks of being rooted into the world’s ways and following the trends and customs of what society dictates rather than following the clear Torah of Elohim. This word comes from the Greek word for ‘friend’ which is φίλος philos – Strong’s G5384 which carries with it more than being an acquaintance, as it speaks of being a close companion who shares the same ideas, values and beliefs and will protect, serve, offer complete support and love at all times! To become a ‘friend’ of the world means that one adheres to, supports, promotes and validates what the world dictates as being the accepted norm or standard of living based on majority thought and practice which is primarily determined by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life; and whoever intends to befriend the world and it’s passions makes themselves enemies of Elohim!
Ya’aqoḇ makes it clear what it was that made Aḇraham to be known as and called a friend of Elohim:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 2:23-24 “And the Scripture was filled which says, “Aḇraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.” 24 You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.”
Belief alone cannot save you and belief alone cannot get you to be called a friend of Elohim, as Messiah tells us in:
Yoḥanan/John 15 :14-15 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
יהושע makes it very clear that He came to make known the pure teachings of the Torah to us by His life, death and resurrection and we are called His friends IF we do what He has commanded us to do!
The fine line between friendship with the world and friendship with Elohim is simply determined by that which you submit to and follow! Sadly today we see that many earnestly believe in Elohim and follow in His ways, yet find themselves wrestling against friendship with the world as they compromise pure and total obedience for the sake of unequal yoking in partnerships, be it in a social or economic level; and as a result great heartache and loss in often suffered because of subtle compromises. Tonight in a message called, “DANGERS OF COMPROMISE – lessons from Yehoshaphat”, I would like us to once again be reminded that in our walk of faith in Messiah, who calls us friends, there is no room for compromise!
The story of Yehoshaphat spans over 4 chapters in Diḇre haYamim Bet/ 2 Chronicles 17-20 and I encourage you to read his entire account form which we can learn some very valuable lessons of faith in being able to overcome struggles and walk in victory, as well as some vital insights as to the results of compromised unions/partnerships with the wrong.
Yehoshaphat was the 4th king of Yehuḏah, the southern kingdom, after Yisra’ĕl was split into two houses; and he followed יהוה:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 17:3-6 “And יהוה was with Yehoshaphat, for he walked in the former ways of his father Dawiḏ, and did not seek the Ba’als, 4 but sought the Elohim of his father, and walked in His commands and not according to the deeds of Yisra’ĕl. 5 So יהוה established the reign in his hand. And all Yehuḏah gave presents to Yehoshaphat, and he had great riches and esteem. 6 And his heart was exalted in the ways of יהוה, and he again removed the high places and the Ashĕrim from Yehuḏah.”
Yehoshaphat had done much, as king, to bring reform – he fortified Yehuḏah against Yisra’ĕl and their notorious leader, king Aḥaḇ, and he set himself the task of ‘cleaning up’ the land from idolatry. In the third year of his reign he sent out the priests to instruct the people of Yehuḏah in the Torah, and as a result of his actions he enjoyed great peace and prosperity and the blessing of יהוה on the people. In Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 17:3, 10 tells us that יהוה was with Yehoshaphat and he walked in the ways of his father Dawiḏ, he did not seek the Ba‘al’s, and the fear of יהוה fell on all the surrounding nations and they never came against Yehoshaphat. His obedience brought protection and blessing, then in chapter 18 he allied himself with Aḥaḇ in disobedience as he compromised his obedience through an alliance by marriage to the wicked Aḥaḇ and Izeḇel:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 18:1 “And Yehoshaphat had great riches and esteem, and allied himself with Aḥaḇ by marriage.”
As a result of this wicked union he ended up going into a battle joined to Yisra’ĕl against Ramoth Gil’ad. His kingdom was protected from attacking enemies by the fear of יהוה on all the surrounding nations and now through his disobedience in allying with a wicked king we see here in chapter 20 that Mo’aḇ and Ammon, enemies of Yehuḏah came to attack from 3 sides. After the response of faith as recounted in this chapter we see how the protection of יהוה was renewed and they enjoyed the peace again given by יהוה on all sides.
To end his story we see in the concluding verse in Chapter 20 that Yehoshaphat once again allied himself with a wicked king in a business venture that failed:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 20: 35-37 “And after this Yehoshaphat sovereign of Yehuḏah joined himself with Aḥazyah sovereign of Yisra’ĕl. He did wrong in doing so. 36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Etsyon Geḇer. 37 Then Eliʽezer son of Doḏawahu of Marĕshah prophesied against Yehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined yourself with Aḥazyahu, יהוה shall break up your work.” And the ships were wrecked, so that they were unable to go to Tarshish.”
So as we glance through his 25 year reign we can certainly see some very positive characteristics, and he was a man that received rebuke and acted upon it, yet one weakness he had was his seeming ability to end up being unequally yoked through compromising relationships that simply caused unnecessary trouble and hardship.
Yehoshaphat – יְהוֹשָׁפָט – Strong’s H3092 means, ‘Yahweh has judged’ and we certainly see in the reign of Yehoshaphat we can see how יהוה is a ‘just’ and righteous Elohim who judges His people in righteousness; and as a result of disobedience by Yehoshaphat a door was opened for the enemy to bring an attack against Yehuḏah; and in faith as Yehoshaphat and the nation called upon יהוה, He responded and remained faithful to His Word of promise given to Shelomoh; for when Shelomoh issued a plea to יהוה in Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 6:28-30, יהוה responded and agreed to his request in Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 7:13-15, saying that if His people, who are called by His Name would humble themselves and call out and seek His face and turn from their sin then He would hear them, forgive them and deliver them; which is in a nutshell what happened here in the accounts of Yehoshaphat.
The key verse that I want to highlight tonight is in:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 19:2 “And Yĕhu son of Ḥanani the seer went out to face him, and said to Sovereign Yehoshaphat, “Do you help the wrong and love those who hate יהוה? Therefore the wrath of יהוה is upon you.”
This happened after Yehoshaphat got home from battle against Ramoth Gil’ad where Aḥaḇ disguised himself and made the enemies think that Yehoshaphat was the king of Yisra’ĕl. When they saw that he was not they turned back from pursuing him, as he cried out to יהוה who helped him. יהוה certainly defended His own on the battlefield when Yehoshaphat cried out, although he should never have been in that battle alongside Aḥaḇ; and when he got home he received some very stern words from the prophet of יהוה. Words that he certainly heard and acted upon as he appointed judges in the land and told them to watch what they were doing and judge according to the right-ruling of יהוה and declares this powerful statement in:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 19:7 “And now, let the fear of יהוה be upon you. Guard and do it, for there is no unrighteousness with יהוה our Elohim, nor partiality, nor taking of bribes.”
And he commanded that all right-ruling be done in the fear יהוה, trustworthily and with a perfect heart – in others words without partiality or corruption and compromise!
Yehoshaphat was a king we can learn valuable lessons from in terms of seeking יהוה, acknowledging the power and promises of יהוה; reverent praise and worship of יהוה; and the ability in recognising that the battle is יהוה’s and the victory ours as long as we walk in righteousness!
But one thing Yehoshaphat had a weakness in was his ability to align himself with the wrong people and get involved in the wrong situations as a result of compromised relationships; and this we must take heed of and learn from these events! The severe rebuke he received was for helping the wrong and loving those who hate יהוה!
It all started with how he aligned himself with Aḥaḇ and Izeḇel by allowing his son Yehoram to marry the daughter of Aḥaḇ, which also had some severe ramifications later on after Yehoshaphat died as Yehoram rose up and did evil in the eyes of יהוה and killed all his brothers (21:4-6). We have to ask ourselves how could Yehoshaphat, who believed in יהוה and walked in obedience, allow his son to marry the daughter of a Ba’al worshiper? As we recognise that this was certainly the wrong thing to do as it was a definite unequal yoking, we sadly find this happening continually today, the very thing that Sha’ul warned against:
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:14-15 “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?”
How many times we hear of how fathers are giving their blessing to unequal yoking of their children to unbelievers – this will only lead to many unnecessary hardships as a result of compromised choices.
As a result of this union that had now bound these two families together unequally, we see the greater effect this had on the relationship between Yehoshaphat and Aḥaḇ, as Yehoshaphat ended up compromising his military forces by agreeing to help Aḥaḇ fight against Ramoth Gil’ad – and he did this without seeking יהוה and this nearly cost him his life. At this point in time Yehuḏah was living in safety and had great peace, yet after aligning himself with Aḥaḇ he ended up getting involved in a fight that was not his to fight! At this point let me ask you… “what friendships have you made that are calling you to support them in their struggles and battles, and in the process causing you to be dragged down into compromising your set-apart walk by becoming a sharer in their sin/lawlessness?”
Compromised relationships will weaken you and cause you to lose your strength to stand!
Yehoshaphat asked Aḥaḇ to inquire for the word of יהוה, and Aḥaḇ calls all his 400 Ba’al prophets to get them to speak what he wanted to hear, while Yehoshaphat actually asks for and gets a true prophet of יהוה. Aḥaḇ knew that Miḵayehu was a true prophet, yet didn’t want to hear what he had to say. This is like so many today that simply are gathering around themselves those who will tickle their ears and refuse to hear the pure truth! Miḵayehu comes and exposes the spirit of falsehood, yet Yehoshaphat did not heed the warning and went into battle and assisted Aḥaḇ. What we must recognise here is that when we wilfully ignore and violate the clear teachings of the Torah, we will end up compromising the Truth in order to only hear only what we want to hear to justify our unequal yoking with the wrong!
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be led astray, “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
Aligning yourself with and keeping friendships with the wrong will cause you to end up ignoring the Truth and disobey Scripture. This will put you in a place where you may even hear the Truth, yet will allow others who do not walk in the Truth to explain it away – and this is one of the biggest tricks of the enemy…, “Surely יהוה didn’t mean that…!” beware of the subtlety of the enemy! Often peer pressure leads people to participate in doing that which they know is wrong… be it peer pressure from family, so called friends or work colleagues! While Yehoshaphat believed in יהוה and called for a true prophet, he ended up listening to the majority that only speaks falsehood – he listened to the advice of the Ba’al prophets. The same is happening today as any who claim to believe in יהוה and what His Word says are still listening to false teachers and are compromising their walk as they hold fast to what the false ear ticklers who are only muddying the waters are saying. So many are continually falling for the wicked ‘Word Faith Movement’ which has become one of the major teaching methods of modern Christianity – and it may sound nice and make people feel nice, yet it is wicked falsehood that has befriended the masses into living compromised lifestyles that put them in a position of experiencing the wrath of Elohim!
The tragic consequences of compromise with an evil or wrong friendship is that you may end up experiencing the wrath of יהוה – and this was the severe rebuke Yehoshaphat received after returning home from a battlefield he should never have been on!
Yehoshaphat certainly put things in order and established right-ruling by appointing judges who would judge in the fear of יהוה, yet another example of compromised yoking and the effects thereof can again be seen in the closing verses of chapter 20 as I mentioned already, He compromised in the market place so to speak – by making an alliance or business partnership with another wicked king of Yisra’ĕl – Aḥazyahu. His attempt at building ships with a wicked king was wrong and יהוה broke it up. As mentioned – this was the last recorded acts of Yehoshaphat – and we can learn a great deal about the need to guard ourselves against any form of unequal yoking, be it through wrong family ties or business partnerships that will cause you to compromise in some way or other and suffer the consequences as a result.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with one given to wrath, And do not go with a man of rage, 25 Lest you learn his ways, And find yourself ensnared.”
Tehillim/Psalm 125:5 “But those who turn aside to their crooked ways, יהוה shall lead them away with the workers of wickedness. Peace be upon Yisra’ĕl!”
Where do you invest or spend your money? Wrong business partnerships will never succeed, no matter how much time, money and effort you put in! I am not saying that we cannot do business in the world and trade with those in the world, what I am saying is that we cannot partner ourselves in business with those who do not walk in Torah – we cannot expect to have a business partnership with a Ba’al worshiper, who has a say on what happens to finances and profits, and think that it will be blessed.
How about pleasures and pastimes? What do you invest your time and money in? Do you spend it on wrong things and things that ‘hate’ יהוה? For instance most major sporting events are promoting the breaking of the Sabbath and many support this by purchasing memorabilia and clothing as they ‘join themselves financially’ to what clearly promotes the opposite of love for Elohim! Do not love the things that hate יהוה!
Do not help the wrong and love those who hate יהוה! While we certainly recognise the words of יהושע Messiah:
Luqas/Luke 6:35 “Rather, love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting none in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be sons of the Most High. Because He is kind to the thankless and wicked ones.”
We must realise that יהושע is not telling us to make friendship with the world – we are to be the influence and call them out of darkness by doing what is right and good according to the Torah, not the other way round by allowing them to influence us into compromising the Truth and overcome evil with good and not be overcome by evil!
Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.”
As we consider Yehoshaphat we certainly recognise how he was regarded as being one of the ‘good kings’, yet he had a weakness when it came to making wrong partnerships and ended up paying the price. His sons were killed by his first born who had married into Aḥaḇ; and he put his army at risk; and suffered great financial loss by making wrong business decisions! Unequal yoking will cost you, and instead of falling into compromise by joining ourselves to that which only renders the fruitless works of darkness, we must expose them:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the fruitless works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
These very vital lessons from the life of Yehoshaphat are closer to home than we may care to realise!!! Bearing in mind that his unequal yoking or friendship was not with any of the Kenaʽanite nations (none of the… ‘…ites’) but was rather with Yisra’ĕl, who was worshipping Ba’al – and that is what made their yoking unequal!!!
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 21:25 “Indeed, there never was anyone like Aḥaḇ who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of יהוה, because Izeḇel his wife stirred him up.”
What made Yisra’ĕl become an unequal yoking was the fact that they whored and were heavily influenced and seduced into false worship, and so we must clearly recognise the danger of binding ourselves to that which has become corrupted through a whoring spirit of disobedience and the lusts of the world!
Binding your life to people who continually violate the Torah and the commands of Elohim is a dangerous and unhealthy position to put yourself into, as we certainly see the devastating effects this unequal yoking has on families, finances, fellowships and health and peace.
We often need to hear the rebuke of יהוה to cause us to align ourselves with His truth and righteous right-ruling, as we often learn the hard way how the wrong will use and abuse you and cause your ability to stand to be compromised and so we must recognise the critical call that is clear – if you want to stand firm in the Torah then cut off all unequal yoking that may be hindering your ability to do so!!!
Have you ignored true Scriptural counselling and direction in certain areas in your life and as a result have compromised the call for perfect set-apartness by binding yourself to people or things that are displeasing to יהוה? Are there people that are using you for selfish gain and you have been allowing it to continue? Then it is time to re-establish the fear of יהוה and watch what you are doing, judging yourselves according to the right-ruling of our King, trustworthily and with a pure heart!
Have you been compromised in your walk of faith? Then heed the call to listen to the True Judge and Lawgiver and do as He says and let Him establish you in righteousness as you forsake all unequal yoking to bind yourself fully to Him, so as to serve Him and love Him with your all, guarding all His commands and therefore hear Him call you His friend!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you shalom!