Choosing evil

lesserOne of the central themes of the Bible is that good men can often make mistakes.

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was a good man and did much to restore God’s place over the land (2 Chronicles 17:1-6). The Bible tells us he rid Judah of its idols, the high places and the groves where idolatry was done.

Perhaps it was the case the king feared the Syrians who had seized Ramoth-Gilead only a few miles from Jerusalem that he made an alliance with the ungodly Baal-worshipper Ahab. No one knows for certain, but it is certain Jehoshaphat went to Ahab and told him he would be his ally in the fight to retake Ramoth-Gilead (2 Chronicles 18:3 NASB).

The Bible teaches the battle for the city was lost and Ahab was killed. Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem, but was also defeated in the battle. Jehu the prophet went to Jehoshaphat and told him, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and so bring wrath on yourself from the LORD?” (2 Chronicles 19:2 NASB).

Although Jehoshaphat’s heart was fundamentally good, every evil act has its consequences. For this king, his was to face the combined armies of  Moab and Ammon (2 Chronicles 20).

This time, Jehoshaphat would not be deterred by false prophets as was Ahab. He “set himself to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:3). Jehoshaphat’s prayer is a model showing he had changed his mind — he repented — of his association with Ahab. As a result, the battle was Jehoshaphat’s victory.

The lesson is clear. Whenever good people enter the orbit of a sinful person, there may be (and usually will be) consequences. Why? The answer to that question is in Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab. Jehoshaphat had allowed himself to be influenced by Ahab into accepting the counsel of ungodly men (2 Chronicles 18:5). In doing so, he placed himself and his country at risk and loss of life.

Christians must ever remember that there is no such thing as the “lesser of two evils.” Ahab was king of Israel. Perhaps Jehoshaphat felt it would be better to deal with him than to face Syria alone. Jehoshaphat didn’t consider that the alliance he made displeased God (2 Chronicles 19:2).

There is no such thing as the “lesser of two evils.” There is only evil, and evil is always opposed to God. There is no way Christians can make an alliance with evil and pretend it doesn’t stain their own souls. We are to be set apart to the service of God and holy (Colossians 1:22). How can we maintain our holiness and yet serve the whims of ungodly men?

The fact remains that when one chooses the “lesser of two evils,” one is only choosing evil.