“Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.” (1 Kings 22:48)
Yesterday we looked at the high hopes Jehoshaphat had in sending his ship to bring back boat loads of gold from Ophir. The trip was met with unexpected disappointment — because the Lord interfered with the man’s plans. But why? Indeed Jehoshphat must have wondered this himself….in much the same way we do today when the Lord seems unwilling to bless our plans.
We are told that the Lord sent a prophet to declare, “Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works” (2 Ch.20:37).
Jehoshaphat had entered into an alliance with another king, no doubt hoping to strengthen his own kingdom. But the Lord was not in the alliance. And, had the ships returned with gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks – Jehoshaphat would have been mislead by his success; he would have been deceived by the blessing into supposing that everything was alright. And in that deception he would have wandered even further away from the will of God.
So the Lord sank his ships.
Are you getting the message here? Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Solomon’s ships had returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat’s vessels never reached the land of gold. Providence prospers one, and frustrates the desires of another, in the same business and at the same spot. Yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one time as another. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord’s sight, although our schemes end in disappointment.”
As a Father who loves and chastens His children, so the Lord cares for us. And He asks, “Would you rather have a boat load of gold, or a personal friendship with God?” Which of these two do you suppose would provide you with the greatest security, and significance? My friend, sometimes our boats sink in order that we might be prevented from suffering a far greater loss. The Lord often says to us, “If that ship comes in, it’s going to take your heart from me.”
Lord, hold me in Your arms.
Fill me with Your Spirit.
Take away the things
that take my heart away
From loving You.
Just hold me in Your arms.
Fill me with Your Spirit.
Let me hear Your voice.
Let me feel Your love
As I worship You.
Just as Jehoshaphat made an unhealthy alliance and trusted in ships of gold, we also often set our hearts upon things other than the Lord. And the Lord is kindly obliged to sink our ships lest our hearts be deceived in settling for less than His best in our lives.
You can stand on the shore and wistfully stare along the distant horizon in hopes for your dreams to come true, or you can raise your vision higher. You can trust in the Lord who is working all things for your good, and watch Him bring blessings your way you never even dreamed were possible.
He is, after all, “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). So, what do you think?