Summary: By the example of Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahaziah in the free market we see the folly of forming unholy alliances in business affairs.
The Unequal Yoke
Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah & Co
Aim: To highlight the dangers of an unequal yoke in business
Text: 2 Chronicles 20:35-37
Introduction: So far in this series we have examined the principle surrounding the unequal yoke and we have considered how it is applied in the areas of friendship and marriage. This morning I want us to thinks about the area of business. This is perhaps one of the most difficult areas of all for the Christian. The world of commerce is awash with ethical dilemmas for the believer, but there is one dilemma that is simply solved if we would but have the resolve to accept God’s Word on it, and that is the dilemma of the unequal yoke in business partnership. Just as in marriage the combination of the believer with the unbeliever in business is almost always going to wind up in tears or compromise for the Christian. Why is that? Because the Christian businessman is of a different kind than his non-Christian counterpart. The way in which he conducts his business is different, or at least it should be.
Two men enter into a business; the one is a child of God, the other a man of the world, and the desire of the worldly man is only is to make money, he takes no though to the glory of God. These two are committed to the action of each other, and it is clear that whilst yoked, they cannot pull well together. What the unbeliever "sees no harm in." the believer’s conscience will not allow; or else the believer must yield, compromising the truth, defiling his conscience, and vexing his righteous soul from day to day. Inevitably it ends badly for the child of God. Prospects may be good for a time.
Our text this morning brings before us a case example. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, a child of God, entered into partnership with Ahaziah, king of Israel, a child of the devil, in a shipping adventure. Together they formed a merchant fleet. They were to sail a fleet of ships to Tarshish. But the Lord in mercy wrecked the whole fleet before they even made their first trip. Thus ended the short history of "Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah & Co."; and thus ends many a business partnership involving an unequal yoke, bringing ruin and loss to all the saints of God in connection with it. You see God won’t have it. God won’t bless it. God’s face is set against the unequal yoke, be it in worldly friendship, marriage or business.
I. The Company They Formed – vs. 35
A. As we read the record of God concerning Jehoshaphat in Scripture we find that over all he was well favoured of the Lord.
1. He was basically a good and godly man, his character can be summed up in 2 Chr 22:9 – “Jehoshaphat... sought the LORD with all his heart.”
2. But Jehoshaphat had one major flaw, and it lay in this area of the unequal yoke.
a. During his reign he made an alliance in marriage when he allowed his son to marry the daughter of ungodly Ahab.
b. He made an alliance militarily when he went to battle with Ahab against Syria, and
c. Here we see he made an alliance in the market place when he joined with Ahab’s son Ahaziah in forming a merchant navy.
B. Rarely could there have been two more diverse characters who combined in business as these two.
1. Jehoshaphat as we have said already was a godly man of generally good character.
2. As king of Judah he resisted the idolatry of some of his predecessors, he sent priests and Levites throughout his kingdom to teach God’s Word, he subdued enemy peoples and drew tribute from them, keeping a large standing army in Jerusalem, he introduced judicial reform in the land, appointing magistrates in every city, and a court of appeal, a supreme council which heard difficult and compex cases brought from the provinces.
3. Yet he made league with Ahaziah, who, like his father before him, was completely under the control of the wicked Queen Jezebel. Like his mother he was an idolater who worshipped Baal and who, afte suffering an injury enquired of Beelzebub, the idol of Ekron, if his health would improve.
4. How ever did Jehoshaphat end up in partnership with a man like Ahaziah?
5. Perhaps the secret lies in the language of verse 35.
a. There we read “after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel.”
b. The word “join” in this verse is an interesting one, indeed it is used three times in these three verses.
c. It is the word “chabar”, and it primarily refers to making a league with someone, but it also carries the notion of fascination, of being charmed, in particular of the ancient art of knot magic.