Choose Friends Carefully

After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly. And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion Geber. But Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works.” Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish. (2 Chronicles 20:35-37)

Choose Friends Carefully

During the time of the divided kingdom, Judah was ruled by good kings and evil kings. This was in contrast to the northern tribes of Israel, who endured two hundred years of evil kings. The first two kings of the southern kingdom of Judah were wicked. After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam, his son, did evil in the sight of the Lord, as did the son of Rehoboam, Abijam. After the short rule of Abijam, Asa, his son, ruled for forty-one years and was a good king, followed by the reign of Jehoshaphat. Like his father, Asa, Jehoshaphat was a good king seeking to please the Lord during his twenty-five-year reign. He carried out the religious reforms of his father and was blessed by the Lord to establish his kingdom. The Holy Spirit said of the king that his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord. Jehoshaphat was one of the great kings of Judah.

As good a king as Jehoshaphat was, he had one character flaw that plagued him his whole time as king. He did not distinguish the kind of people he aligned himself with. To his credit, he made peace with the northern tribes of Israel, but Ahab was the king he made peace with. Sealing the covenant of peace, the son of Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah, was a wicked woman who would lead her husband to walk in the way of the kings of Judah and rule as an evil king. Her son, Ahaziah, reigned for one year before Jehu assassinated him. Athaliah took the throne and killed all the male members of the house of David except for Joash, who was hidden by Jehosheba. Jehoshaphat could not have realized the impact of his alliance with Ahab that brought about so much evil in Judah.

During the reign of Ahaziah, king of Israel, Jehoshaphat allied himself with the king of Israel. Ahaziah acted very wickedly. The influence of Ahab and Jezebel was strong with the wife of Ahaziah, and the land was filled with the worship of Baal. Jehoshaphat wanted to establish a naval fleet at Ezion Geber, a port on the Red Sea (Gulf of Akabah), to go to Tarshish. The prophet Eliezer prophesied against Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahaziah. The ships were wrecked, and the planned navy was lost. Jehoshaphat chose the wrong people to align himself with, and the Lord punished him. It would seem the choices of Jehoshaphat influenced his son Jehoram who killed all his brothers to obtain their wealth.

The type of people chosen to be friends or allies strongly influences the good character of God’s people. Examples abound throughout scripture with the consequences of choosing evil companions that corrupt the good morals of the righteous. There are many examples of the good influences wielded by those who embrace the company of other godly people. The gospel of influence is measured by the kinds of people surrounding the Christian’s friendship. Choosing friends must be done with the greatest care of deciding if that association will help one reach heaven or cause the heart to serve the world. Friends have a powerful sway on the heart of the Christian. Choose wisely and with a great deal of prayer. Your soul may depend on it.

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