When I was younger, I learned the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Now, thanks to Pinterest, I’m exposed to all kinds of witticisms and Post-it Note-ish philosophy. Like this one, “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” I repinned it on a board, along with other quips and wordy things. I don’t often revisit them, but I hope if I do, this one will cause me to slow down and pause over the influences in my life.
Two Chronicles 24:2 reads, “Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.” Not only did Jehoiada select wives for Joash, he was also instrumental in the collection of funds for the restoration and strengthening of the Temple of the Lord.
However. After Jehoiada died, Joash–who had done things that were pleasing to the Lord (and the Lord’s people)–gets a new set of advisers.
17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.
Joash, a king, turns from who he was to the point he wouldn’t even listen to the prophets who tried to bring him back to the Lord.
Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly, 2 Chronicles 25:2 NLT. Amaziah even had listened to advice from a man of God regarding the organization of his army. Yet, at the end of that battle, this is what he does:
14 When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them! 15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?” 2 Chronicles 25:14-15.
Amaziah turns on the prophet. And after consulting with his advisers … well, it doesn’t go well for him.
2 Chronicles 26, Uzziah becomes king. 4 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. 5 Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.
But Uzziah becomes powerful and proud, and when the priests warn him of his actions, he rages against them.
New Testament, Paul addresses the Corinthians:
2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. 3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. (emphasis mine)
Pure and undivided devotion to Christ can be corrupted. Christ followers can be deceived. Anyone can be deceived … by the cunning ways of a serpent, by the advice of experts, or even by the comments of friends on a girls night out.
Lord, help me to guard my heart, to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to you.