day 2513: Alliances

“Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.”

Not a day goes by that I am not involved in some conversation about partnerships, strategic relationships and alliances.  The start up world is filled with these possibilities and we are constantly evaluating whether or not these couplings are good or bad for the business.  What makes it hard is that it’s never cut and clear because we have to think almost as if we are playing multi-dimensional chess to understand how these deals will play out over time and circumstances.  We might start with the question if we grow and become successful, do we really need to dilute ourselves with others, either through sharing of resources or gain, or just the hassle of having to satisfy and deal with someone else versus being in complete control of our own destiny.? There are no easy answers and every opportunity is situational and should be evaluated accordingly, but we can come back to whether or not the people we are dealing with are of the same values and principles we are and whether or not they share a similar vision of success and achievement?  Regardless, of how great the deal looks, without shared values the alliance will fail.  That we can know for sure.

King Jehoshaphat had it going on. He was powerful, well-liked by his people and feared by other rulers. He was faithful to God and God had bestowed on the King His blessings and pleasure. It appeared that the King was going to reign without issue and then we learn he did a bad deal.  We are told that he made an alliance with a wicked man and because of that God never let the deal’s work come to fruition.  Note, that wasn’t the end of Jehoshaphat, he still ruled and the Bible tells us that he was a “good king” but he had a blind spot that kept him from reaching his full potential.  Before he made his bad alliance he was also known as someone who didn’t remove all of the pagan idols and worshiping that was going on around him and that caused his people to not be as committed to the Lord as they could have been.  I also wonder if that was also what caused the King to miss that he was making an alliance with the wrong person.  In our work, we must be diligent and cautious about what we surround ourselves with daily so that when it comes time to decide with whom we will make alliances that we are clear-eyed in being able to make a good assessment and get to the heart of whether or not the person on the other side of the table will be good for us, or pull us down?

Reference:  2 Chronicles 20:35-37 (New Living Translation)