How the King's Sin Brought Judgment on Him and the Nation

Jehoram, who even recognizes the name of this king of Judah? He was the son of Jehoshaphat, a much better known king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was a good ruler. In fact, this is what is recorded of his reign:

Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. 2 Chronicles 17:3-6 (NKJV)

Not so, his son. Note what is said of him:

Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel.  Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.  2 Chronicles 21:4-6 (NKJV)

Two things can be highlighted about what caused this king's downfall:

1) he followed the bad example of the Kings of Israel (that's the Northern Kingdom that separated from the Southern Kingdom of Judah under Rehoboam, see 1 Kings 12); 

2) he married one of Ahab's daughters.

What God's Word had to say about Ahab isn't good:

Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.  And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 1 Kings 16:30-33 (NKJV) 

Looking at Jehoram's models, the kings of Israel in general and Ahab in particular, it is no wonder that his reign wasn't good for himself or for his kingdom and that such a man would and could slaughter his siblings.  One could argue that the marriage brought him down but one is left to wonder, did the marriage cause the fall of this man or was the marriage just a symptom of Jerhorm's heart which was already inclined to evil?  The consequences were devastating.  

Under his father, Judah had supremacy over its enemies.  However, due to Jehoram's sins, God strengthened his enemies against Jehoram.  First Edom revolted, then Libnah.  You may want to stop me here and say, "But what, what makes you think this was judgment and not just the rebellion of those people?"  I would answer, these words from 2 Chronicles 21:10:  "because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers."

His reign was so bad and his rebellion so entrenched that Elijah was sent to him, not with a message of warning but one of impending judgment.  

Thus says the Lord God of your father David:  Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household,who were better than yourself, 14 behold, the Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; 15 and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.  2 Chronicles 21:12-15 (NKJV)

And did you see how Elijah delivered the message?  Elijah, who learned not to fear Ahab and Jezebel and evil rulers like them, sent a letter.  He didn't appear before him, probably another way God demonstrated His disapproval of what Jehoram had done and was continuing to do.

The passage goes on to tell us that that Lord stirred up against Jehoram the Philistines and the Arabians.  They launched a successful invasion into Judah, took many possessions including Jehoram's wives and sons, only leaving Jehoahaz, his youngest son behind.  As I read this, I cannot help but think certainly now he would repent and ask God for mercy, wouldn't he?

Regrettably, he did not repent.  So, the Lord did as He said He would.  He struck the king with a severe and painful illness of the intestines.  King Jehoram died two years later in great pain.  

When I die, and I am sure this is true of you too, I want people to miss me.  It is my desire that my life was so well lived that mourning will take place and a legacy would remain that others would seek to emulate.  

Not so for Jehoram. The words at the end of this chapter are severe and painful to read.  It is the testament to a life not well lived but lived in selfish pursuit to the detriment of oneself, one's family and one's nation.  

And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers.

To no one’s sorrow (he) departed.

They buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

Does it matter how I live?  Can I ignore God's Word and God's will and everything will be okay?  Are my sins my own private affair with no lasting impact on anyone else?  I think the answers are clear in this passage.  

Let's live for God and leave a legacy worth living.  It matters whom we emulate.  It matters whom we marry.  It matters. Now let's live well and allow God to bless the results.  Our family, our churches and our nation are depending on it.  

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