2 Chronicles 23-24
From yesterday’s reading, we learned that a baby named Joash was hidden when his grandmother attempted to wipe out the whole royal line, so she could rule unopposed. Joash was abducted by his aunt, and her husband, Johoiada, the high priest. (The fact that his aunt was godly, coming from such a wicked family is nothing short of miraculous.) Joash was hidden in the temple for 7 years. (What better place to hide someone from the wicked queen, Athaliah? She would never go there!)
When Joash was 7, Jehoiada arranged for Joash to be crowned king, and had Athaliah killed. We’re told in 2 Chronicles 24:3, “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest.” Jehoiada chose two godly wives for Joash. Joash also commanded that God’s temple be repaired. Because of this, many people consider Joash a godly king.
When Jehoiada died, he was buried with the kings because of all the good he had done for God and his temple. I wish the story stopped here, but it doesn’t. After Joash’s godly mentor died, he listened to the officials of Judah, and abandoned the God of their fathers to worship Asherah poles and idols. God sent prophets, but the king wouldn’t listen. Joash even killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada (who had raised Joash).
As punishment, God sent Aram raiders to plunder Judah. We’re told in 2 Chronicles 24:24, “Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the Lord delivered into their hands a much larger army because Judah had forsaken the Lord …)
Joash was wounded in the battle, and some of his own officials conspired to kill Joash for murdering the son of Jehoiada. Joash was not buried with the kings because of the evil he had done.
In this story, we see an example of someone who started out zealously serving the Lord. As long as his godly mentor was there to remind him to follow God, he did follow God. Once that godly influence was dead, Joash was enticed away from God through peer pressure. His life was a downward spiral after that, then he died.
This highlights the importance of surrounding ourselves with godly mentors and godly friends. It’s so easy to be enticed away from God. I picture sin sort of like an addiction. Every one of us should think of ourselves as needing to join a program so we do not relapse. Every one of us can say, “Hi, I’m Steve (substitute your name here), and I have a problem.” We need godly friends to hold us accountable to live for God. And we have to be vigilant ourselves.
If we’re surrounded by worldly friends, we will almost certainly crash and burn like Joash.
I’d like to encourage you to think about each of your close friends, and think about how each of them is helping you draw closer to God or is drawing you away from God. And while you’re at it, how are you influencing your friends?
I understand that if someone has an addiction, one important step in the recovery process is to cut ties with old friends who would cause you to relapse. After all, if they cause you to relapse, they are helping destroy you, so are they really a friend?
I’ll close with James 4:4, which says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”