Saturday, July 05, 2008

Influence

July 5: 2 Kings 12-13 & 2 Chronicles 24


1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2 And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

4 After this Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. 5 And he gathered the priests and the Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you act quickly.”

8 So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside the gate of the house of the Lord. 9 And proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness. 10 And all the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished.

15 But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died. He was 130 years old at his death. 16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house.

17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. 18 And they abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19 Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.

20 Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’” 21 But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. 22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, “May the Lord see and avenge!”
2 Chronicles 24:1-2, 4-5, 8-10 & 15-22

Influence

Joash became king when he was only seven years old. His grandmother, Athaliah had all of his brothers killed so she could make herself queen; only the quick thinking of Joash's sister saved him when she hid him in a bedroom. Like Samuel, Joash was raised by a priest; Jehoiada taught him to love and obey the Lord God, and proved to be a Godly influence in his life.

While Jehoiada was alive, Joash served the Lord, and encouraged the people to bring in money to restore the temple; notice, that the people rejoiced in paying the temple tax. After years of the reigns of the wicked Kings Jehoram and Ahaziah, and then Queen Athaliah, the people were overjoyed to finally have a Godly king upon the throne.

Unfortunately, after the death of Jehoiada the priest, Joash turned to wicked men for advice. He allowed their influence to turn his heart away from the Lord, even killing the son of Jehoiada the priest.

When he died, Joash was not even allowed to be buried among the kings of Judah; the evil he did at the end of his reign surpassed any good that he had done while Jehoiadah was alive.

What can we learn from this portion of Scripture? The key word is, "influence." Whom do we allow to influence our lives? Do we believe that our faith in the Lord is so solid that it can not be moved by the influence of those around us?

What can we do? Even in the business world, success is known to be related to those with whom we keep company. As Christians, we need to surround ourselves with good Christian friends, and a solid church that teaches from the Bible. If we find ourselves in the position where our lives are surrounded by people of the world, it is good to refresh ourselves with Godly people. Also, read and study the Bible as well as Christian books; if you like fiction, read Christian fiction. Watch movies that uphold Biblical principles.

Like Joash, we can all be influenced by the ungodly culture which surrounds us. Ask God to help you maintain a Godly life whichy brings honor to the Lord, and exhibits a true Christian testimony before others.

God Bless You,
Linda

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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