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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Broken Ships

Today’s Verse:

Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber. ~1 Kings 22:48


Every economy is strongly dependent upon shipping and maritime trade for success and survival. The importing and exporting of goods is vital for every nation. Owners of ships were very cognizant of the importance of having sturdy, reliable ships that could make every voyage. They also planned their travels to be during good weather as much as possible, and they tried to be knowledgeable about the treacherous areas of water that could result in serious damage to the ships. To lose a ship, its cargo, and lives would be extremely costly and hurtful to an owner’s reputation and livelihood. This morning, we are looking at an expedition that was expected to be successful but wound up being a disaster. This morning, we see a story about broken ships.

We see an ambitious pursuit.

Jehoshaphat spent an exorbitant amount of money having ships constructed at Tarshish for the purpose of going to Ophir for gold. Ships made in Tarshish were reputed to be the best made ships in the world. They were made of the most durable wood and constructed by the best ship craftsmen in the world. There would be great confidence in this workmanship to endure any maritime travel. Jehoshaphat desired to increase his gold holdings and went forward using human ingenuity and business acumen. This was a pursuit that he thought made good business sense and did not require spiritual counsel. His sight was on the wealth that he would have when the ships returned.

We see an adverse preclusion.

We are told, “But they went not; for the ships were broken at Eziongeber.” Jehoshaphat’s fleet never made it to Ophir. The journey was cut short. The ships ran aground in an area frequented by ships. Every one of these ships was broken and beyond repair. God stopped the well-laid plans of Jehoshaphat. God precluded him from accomplishing what he thought would be a simple pursuit that would lead to much wealth. God broke his ships. Can you imagine what went on in Jehoshaphat's mind when he got word of the broken ships? Can you imagine the feeling of loss that he felt when he heard that the ships were broken?

We see the apparent prophesy.

In 2 Chronicles 20:37, we are given the reason why the ships were broken. "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." Jehoshaphat had made an alliance with King Ahaziah in this venture. This prophesy made crystal clear to Jehoshaphat that his plans were not in accordance with God’s will for him. Ahaziah was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, and he was just as wicked and pagan as his parents. God told Jehoshaphat that his ships were broken because of an act of disobedience.

We see the absolute principle.

Jehoshaphat disobeyed the biblical principle of separation. He made a business alliance with an unsaved man. He made an alliance without God’s approval. Had this venture been successful, it is possible that Jehoshaphat could have been corrupted by his accumulations and could have slid away from God. Christians are not to yoke up with unbelievers in critical and important relationships. Not only that, Jehoshaphat sought to increase his wealth for his own benefit and not for the glory of God. He forgot that it is the Lord our God Who gives us power to acquire wealth.

Be careful of having plans that do not have God’s blessing. It can be very costly and embarrassing when God has to break your ships.

Have a cautious God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: John 1-2

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