Are You A Repeat Offender?

1 Kings 22:2 – And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

1 Kings 22:3 – And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

1 Kings 22:4 – And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

2 Kings 3:6 – And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel.

2 Kings 3:7 – And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.

Hello readers, another blog this weekend! God’s word is absolutely abundant, if you are saved it should be in you like a bubbling fountain that then flows out of you, just as Jesus said in John 7:38 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” If you’ve got the Holy Spirit, this will be your reality. Get me some of that living water!

But today I want to talk about “repeat offender”, which is a term that we would usually associate with someone that has been jailed or punished for doing something wrong, done his or her time, but then after being released or forgiven of what they have done… they recommit the exact same crime again a next time.

I’ve heard before that many criminal acts are committed by reoffenders. Once you offend, you are likely to keep doing it, that’s why sexual sin can become a real problem, once you do it once, you are likely to keep going back to that well again. And like what the Bible says about alcohol as well when despite all the harm it produces in your life, “I will seek it yet again”. What about drugs? Our society has a monstrous drug problem, because once you get addicted to them, you will keep reoffending as they turn into that “running issue” of Leviticus in your life. How many people have issues with repeat reoffending in this world!

But turns out “bad” people are not the only reoffenders. Yes, we know that unsaved people will keep reoffending, because that’s what they do. They can’t do better, but if you’ve got the Holy Spirit of God, you don’t need to fall into the “repeat offender” bracket with sin and stupidity in your life. Saved people are meant to be “saved” from those offenses of their previous life which were harming their life and others around them. Yet saved people, people who know better, people who should do better, are also prone to reoffending. I know, because I reoffend, and I’m sure you reoffend as well.

Today I’ve quoted verses from 1 Kings 22 and 2 Kings 3 above, and you realize there is a same guy in these chapters, though circumstances and years apart. And this guy is king Jehoshaphat of Judah. A good king yes… but he was a repeat offender! Read both chapters and you’ll see him reoffend. And what was this repeat offending that he did? It was forming alliances with ungodly kings who were only good for nearly getting him killed. God doesn’t want you not to repeat offend for his good, he wants it for your good, remember God is for you, not against you.

In Kings 22 Jehoshaphat teamed up with king Ahab and nearly got himself killed, and was spared only by the miraculous intervention of God. You know, if God has saved you once, that should dissuade you from ever going down that path again. Remember Samson? He went down a bad path one day, and a lion nearly got him, but God gave him the power to rip the lion apart… which if you know how powerful a lion is, you know that it was all God’s miraculous deliverance. But where God’s grace should lead us to repentance, true repentance, which results in new life that won’t reoffend in the same point again… often we interpret God’s grace as license to do it again, and so we abuse God’s grace by going down that same path again. And this is sin, because it is presuming on God and provoking God. Don’t do that, don’t provoke God with your life. Because Israel provoked God with their unbelief and disobedience and it cost them ever stepping foot in the promised land.

Jehoshaphat was a repeat offender. And these two stories in the Bible we should really sit up and take notice of the mistakes Jehoshaphat made. Because Jehoshaphat did what we are prone to do, forget what we should have learned the first time. Don’t team up with ungodly kings of Israel! These ungodly kings were able to manipulate Jehoshaphat, because they, like Satan and this world don’t present like they really are, they can make a convincing case for themselves. Remember how Haman was an expert in making the case for himself to Ahasuerus and Esther?

But you know how when you’ve offended, you’ve sinned, you’ve stuffed up and you felt bad and wished you didn’t do it and would’ve sworn to God you would never do it again? And then you repeat offended? Why did that keep happening? How did you get into that cycle of reoffending like criminals and sinners get into? It’s amazing how in the process of time, that lesson quickly vanishes from our minds. It literally is amazing, because we so easily forget how bad it was at the time it happened. And we see this all through the Bible, like in Israel longing to go back to Egypt in the wilderness because “it was so much better back there”… even though it wasn’t.

Jehoshaphat should have learned from the first time for the folly of teaming up with the ungodly kings of Israel. It should’ve been once bitten, twice shy! He should have learned from nearly getting himself killed by Ahab. But then he teamed up with Ahab’s son and … the king of Edom. Oh but it would be great to work together and let’s all be friends, right? And the reasoning all seemed noble, after all it was mutually beneficial to Jehoshaphat to keep a common enemy in Moab under the thumb. But this is why we shouldn’t make decisions based on our understanding or what we think… because we can be wrong… it’s why God’s word should be the first port of call in our decision making, because it has plenty of wisdom in not getting involved or yoked up with the ungodly in anything you do.  And if we only went to God’s word with the actual intention of obeying it!

I noticed one amazingly different discrepancy in these two stories, which is that Jehoshaphat the first time asked counsel of God’s word, then disregarded it. But this next time, he didn’t ask counsel from God’s word at all. Oh sure, he had God’s word in his “back pocket”, just in case, because they brought Elisha along with them as an insurance policy. But he full well did not ask God’s word for advice because he would’ve known God would have said don’t go. Why team up with the ungodly? They don’t fear God, they don’t obey God, they don’t have the wisdom of God… so why go their way? But I’ve done this and I’ve seen this, people not asking God at all so he cannot tell them no. Which is why people don’t read their Bibles, because I would rather not know about it, then now be confronted with the crisis of wanting to do what I want to do, but knowing God says opposite. Never before have I seen Christians more comfortable and secure in their ignorance. I don’t want to know, just like that priest walking on the other side of the road to the guy left for dead by thieves on the road to Jericho… I don’t want to know about it.

If we would study these two stories, we could glean so much more. But really what I want to hone in on today is that repeat offending aspect of Jehoshaphat’s life. Ahab or Jehoram… same old sin. You might have got a new face for the same offense? He had his new alliance, but it was the same offense. So why do that? Are you happy to keep reoffending? Or do you want more? If you read what happened, Jehoshaphat was saved by a miracle again, this time out in the desert, a long way from water, and a long way from home. How many times before you learn your lesson finally?

Guess what, I read on more about Jehoshaphat’s life and found some things which just blew me away. I found out that when Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem after God had miraculously saved him from getting tangled up in Ahab’s mess, we read that a man of God came out and met him and said this to him “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” What a rebuke! Lesson learned! Thank you for God’s word! Surely he would learn from this? After all, we have God’s word given to us so we can know, the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding hasn’t he? Well this man of God commended Jehoshaphat for his heart and the good things he had done, but like those flies in the ointment that make it stink, that little bit of folly in Jehoshaphat followed him to the grave… because here is what absolutely blew me away… guess what…

He repeat offended a THIRD time!

2 Chronicles 20:35 “And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:”

2 Chronicles 20:36 “And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber.”

2 Chronicles 20:37 “Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.”

See how Jehoshaphat, despite being a good king seemed to keep getting himself on the wrong side of God’s word? If your works in life are contrary to the counsel and wisdom and truth of God’s word, God is going to break them. So why fight against God in your own life? How stupid, think of the time and money and planning and effort that went into Jehoshaphat’s abortive alliances with these wicked kings of Israel. Think of the danger he placed himself in, think of the men’s lives and materials that he wasted all because he couldn’t get over this sin that he kept on doing?

If you study out the timeline and order of the kings of Israel, you will find out that this is actually the second time Jehoshaphat reoffended, and the third time was the story quoted from 2 Kings 3 with king Jehoram. But what amazed me was that Jehoshaphat made the same mistake three times over with three different ungodly kings of Israel. That’s what we call being a “repeat offender”. He teamed up with Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram in life, all of which lead to failure in his life. Amazingly, we find out that Jehoshaphat initially did right concerning Ahaziah, because he refused Ahaziah’s request to team up with him the first time. But then a little later we find out that Jehoshaphat did eventually team up with him. He compromised… because he really wanted that gold. Amazing what the lure of money can make us do. Amazing what dangling the right carrot before us can cause us to do.

Jehoshaphat was a reoffender… and that’s the last thing we read about him in the Bible. Yes he was a good king, yes he had a good heart, yes he did a lot of things right… and they do count… but he had this problem in his life where he would team up with wicked men in pursuit of an objective than in and of itself may have not even been wrong, but making affinity with people that do not fear God will never end well. You can do a lot of things right, but what you do wrong is often the legacy we leave, we still think about David’s sin with Bathsheba nearly more than anything else that we think of him. And we all have sins that we are prone to, yours might not be mine and mine might not be yours… but we alike have to watch out that we do not be repeat offenders against God and his word.

How do we stop repeat offending? Repent. Ask God for grace. Start obeying God in our lives, break that cycle by actually doing something different. Stop trusting yourself and start walking by faith in the promises of God. The Holy Spirit will not lead you contrary to God’s word, which means often he is not leading us, even while we think he is. Who is really leading you? What is really going into the decisions you are making in life. Jehoshaphat was probably more “Christian” than you and I will ever be… he was a good king, but if he struggled with repeat offending and never really got over it… then we have to step up our game a bit. You do not need to repeat offend for the rest of your life, Jesus Christ can and will break you free from repeat offending, just like he broke those ships that Jehoshaphat kept sending. Why didn’t he get the memo? I don’t want you going there Jehoshaphat. Let God slam that door shut in your life to your old habits and vices, get the ungodly influences out your life that are causing you to go contrary to God’s word, and let’s stop reoffending in the time we have left.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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