‘Therefore, come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ 2 Corinthians 6:17
When Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, he allied himself by marriage with Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 18:1). How noble this was of Jehoshaphat! And Ahab too was overjoyed. Excited about this event, he brought a great offering to his god. But the god of Ahab was not the living God, but Baal.
At first sight, there seems to be little difference between the worship of Baal and the worship of the living God. Yet there certainly is a defining difference. For when people worship the living God, He Himself is with them, but when people worship Baal, only the worshipers are present, and the presence of Baal is just assumed.
Was it not high time to reunite Israel? Did they not belong together, Judah and the northern kingdom? After all, God wants us to be one! How far did king Jehoshaphat go in his zeal for unity, he even went to war together with Ahab against a common enemy. Well, what harm could it do? Surely for the greater good we might join forces with anyone?
God did not forsake Jehoshaphat on the battlefield: the king returned safely to Jerusalem. But once home safe, Jehoshaphat again had to face the living God Who sent His messenger to speak to the heart of the straying king: ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?’ (:2).
But should we not have compassion for those who do not know God? Of course we should. We have a message for this world, but not when we ally ourselves with them, but only when we come as reliable messengers of a loving, yet holy God.