Consider carefully this choice you make

Published 1:11 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

They were two peas in a pod—Jill and Penny. Jill a dirty blonde and Penny a saucy redhead.

Loyalty ran thick between them. Jill (not her real name) would have run through traffic for Penny, and Penny would have laid down her life for Jill.

Seriously. They were besties.

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Jill was a lawyer, and Penny was a sometimes model back then. Penny was the more intelligent of the two—you’ll see what I mean. And that’s probably why they were so tight.

Penny was also a redbone coonhound. A rescue.

As the story goes, one morning Jill prepared a lovely omelet. When she sat down at the dining room table to enjoy it, Penny joined her.

“Go away,” Jill said.

Penny lifted her head, smelling the aroma.

“You’re not getting any.” Jill picked up her fork.

Penny scooted closer.

“You heard what I said Penny, so forget it.”

At that moment, Penny grabbed a bag of cookies off the table. She raced over the kitchen tiles, across the back porch, out the dog door, and up the hill behind the house.

“No!” Jill, a bit heavyset, chased after Penny, running through the kitchen, across the back porch, out the screen door, and up the hill.

Exhausted, Jill finally reached her. She put out her hand for the package, and Penny kindly dropped the cookies.

I suspect that dog also grinned.

Penny then bolted down the hill, through the dog door, across the back porch, over the kitchen tiles, and up to the dining room table where one redbone coonhound enjoyed one lovely omelet.

Jill couldn’t stop laughing. Outsmarted by a dog. True story.

But not all trickery between besties is so harmless. Consider two friends from long ago, King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat. Were they:

Brothers;

Father and son;

Kings of Northern and Southern Israel; or

No. 1 and No. 3?

This is a tough one because Israel only had three kings (Saul, David, and Solomon) before civil war broke out. The divided country, North and South, then had a parade of kings.

They’re hard to keep straight.  I’ll narrow your choices. No. 3 is true, but could it also be No. 4?

Look again. Think about it and lock in the best answer.

All the kings of the Southern Kingdom of Israel descended from David. They were never related to the kings of the North. The answer is No. 3.

Jehoshaphat was a good king of the South. He was David’s great, great grandson.

Jehoshaphat had watched as his father dealt with aggression from Northern Israel. And Jehoshaphat didn’t want that.

Jehoshaphat’s answer was to marry his son, the crown prince, to Ahab’s daughter, thereby uniting the two kingdoms with marriage.

It wasn’t a bad idea in theory. But Jehoshaphat overlooked something important. I’ll get to that.

So, the marriage did the trick and King Jehoshaphat and King Ahab became buddies. In fact, when Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to join him in war against a common enemy, Jehoshaphat said, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 2 Chronicles 18:2

All true.

But good king Jehoshaphat also wanted God to weigh in. So, the two kings inquire of a series of prophets who say God is with them.

Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced. A final prophet is summoned, who tells King Jehoshaphat not to go.

But Jehoshaphat doesn’t listen to his gut feeling. He goes with Ahab. Even worse, Jehoshaphat agrees to be the king of the battle, with Ahab going undercover.

As it turns out, all enemy eyes are on getting Ahab, and they go after Jehoshaphat in his royal splendor. He cries out, and the enemy turns away after realizing the mistake.

Scripture tells us Jehoshaphat nearly died because of Ahab’s trickery. God was not in the battle and Israel’s armies were defeated.

What was Jehoshaphat’s mistake?

Ahab was the evilest of all the kings of Israel. Scripture says, “(King Ahab) did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.” (1 Kings 16:30).

Among the most important decisions you will make in life is your choice of friends. Choose carefully. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut feeling.

Trickery between friends can be innocent or life changing. It can make you laugh or get you killed.

Seek those who love the Lord—those who live for Him.

The Rev. Mathews is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Hello@RAMathews.com.

 

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