Unintended Consequences

Decisions are made all the time. Individuals make them; politicians make them; religious leaders make them; everyone makes them. Our decisions have consequences – some good, and some not so good.decisions_mid

Sometimes decisions are made that are well-intentioned, but that bring with them unintended negative and sometimes devastating consequences.

Take, for example, King Jehoshaphat, in 2 Chronicles 17-20. Generally speaking, he was a good king of Judah, but he made some decisions that were not so good. One of those involved his son, Jehoram.

In 2 Chronicles 18:1 a passing comment is made that Jehoshaphat made a marriage alliance with King Ahab of Israel. Ahab was the wicked king who was married to Jezebel. She brought Baal worship into the kingdom of Israel.

That marriage alliance involved Jehoram marrying the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Her name was Athaliah. Such a marriage was common. It offered political as well as economic and military benefits. However, this marriage would have some unintended, demonic, and nearly devastating consequences.

Jehoram took the throne after his father’s death (2 Chronicles 21). His wife, Athaliah, had influenced him to the point where he killed off all other rivals to his throne, which included many of his own siblings. For the entirety of his eight year reign, he was a wicked king, imitating wicked Ahab of Israel rather than his good father, Jehoshaphat, all because of his wicked wife’s influence over him.

After Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah took the throne. Though he only ruled for one year, he was also wickedly influenced Athaliah, his mother. Her demonic influence over Judah continued, even after her husband died.

When Ahaziah died, his mother Athaliah immediately seized the opportunity and usurped the throne, reigning in Judah for about 7 years. Her intention was to wipe out the line of kings over Judah. She murdered every royal seed of the house of Judah – except one. One baby was rescued from Athaliah’s evil plan, and he eventually became king, King Joash.

Jehoshaphat’s seemingly innocuous decision to marry his son to Ahab’s daughter had some serious and deadly unintended consequences. His intention was not to see Judah fall deeply into Baal worship, though it did. His intention was not to see his own children and grandchildren turn away from Jehovah, but they did. His intention was not for his own son and daughter-in-law to go on a killing spree within the family, but they did. Had it not been for God’s intervention through the means of a godly couple, the kingly line would have been destroyed (2 Chron. 22:10-12).

Our decisions, even well meaning ones, can have devastating consequences. Let’s make some applications of this.

In your family, the decisions you make today with regards to your children will have consequences. While it is still their choice as to whether they will serve the Lord or not, we as Christian parents must not cave in to worldly pressures and do things that are culturally acceptable, but not biblically acceptable.The decisions we make today can have an impact not only on our children’s lives, but even future generations.

Pastors, your decisions for your church are crucial. We are living in a time when pastors are facing an onslaught of cultural pressures to back down on issues of morality, worship, doctrine, and convictions. One seemingly insignificant concession or “alliance” can and often does lead to greater and greater problems. What kind of Christianity are we intending to leave our children and grandchildren? We must strive to preserve a theologically AND culturally conservative Christianity.

As Christians it is easy for us to point out ideas like this in the political world. We are quick to cry out against things that will lead to more and more religious intolerance. Yet we must be even more acutely aware of the potential of our spiritual choices in our homes and in our churches.

Don’t cave in; don’t give up; don’t lose ground.

God desires faithfulness to Him and to His Word, for His glory!


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