There is a saying that a bad apple ruins the bunch. Everyone has seen someone who is leading for the wrong reasons take a community of faith and wreck. Our leaders and heroes of faith understand that to be a great man of faith takes focus on God and the character he wants us to have, but what happens when we end up serving with people who are just filled with with bad character? Does this negate our efforts? Are we destined to fail because this one person is not chasing God? God has a way of calling people towards Him that speaks to someones purpose. It is found deep inside someone to chase faith even though they are not doing so. That will lead us to serve with people of many different levels in their relationships with God. Some will not even have a relationship. Although it is easy to see working with others who believe differently than you is counterintuitive to living out your faith, God in this story shows that He can use anyone for His plan.
You might be asking how to know if someone is chasing God’s will or chasing their own will. This story gives us one way we might be able to tell. People who are not chasing God may seek out the company of those who are chasing God. King Joram definitely saw Jehoshaphat as an asset for success against a problem. One thing he might have noticed is that King Jehoshaphat of Judah was in a relatively good situation. What he might not have expected was to encounter God in the process. As the story progresses, they decide to team up with the King of Edom and then decide to go visit Elisha for a holy consultation. King Joram, a pagan worshipper of Baal, probably was not in agreement. When they get there, Elisha is quick to point out the bad apple of the group. He knew King Joram as a Baal worshipper and challenged him on the matter. However, as much as Elisha knows that Joram is not a good leader, he still delivers good news that the journey that all three kings are on will be successful.
Initially, it’s surprising that God would even allow Joram in on being blessed. Joram is a Baal worshipper. He was following in the traditions of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel during Elijah’s time on the earth. Following in the tradition of those two, this guy was bad news and was most likely taking from the needy for himself, even if it was too much for him to use. The pagan worship did not help his status with Elisha either. But God chooses to let Joram in on the blessing at the moment.
We tend to assume that right belief or belief period must be present to experience blessing. That is not true with God. Though we need to be careful with right virtue and doctrine, there will be moments when doing good things means being around people not in agreement with our character. The reason is that God is always chasing us, even when we do not believe. God is not a God that matches his faith in us with our faithfulness to Him. He is a God who acts in faithfulness in order to get a response of faith and will always do so even when we do not respond rightly. Many churches today support the God who wants your faith before you come to Him, but the Gospel states that He is including you in the story of His Kingdom before you even think about joining the Kingdom. He wants you to participate and strive for the Kingdom. Every time you experience the spiritual and you are aware of God, He is trying to get your attention. As heroes of faith, we need to learn to leverage that. We know that in American culture people are showing more and more interest in spiritual life. We have a life that is very spiritual and yet very real. We have a chance to be a hero to someone and watch them become a hero in Christ also. That should excite us. So instead of looking at the Church doors as a barricade from the outside, secular world, let’s open those doors and welcome people to experience a God that has more for them than they could ever imagine.