June 6 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Eliezer son Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.’”
~2 Chronicles 20:37

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20). This advice has stood true for thousands of years. You are influenced by the people that you spend time with. Therefore, selecting friends and companions is among the most important decisions you make, and therein lies the lesson for today. For, as it turns out, even kings can become corrupt by spending time with the wrong people.

Jehoshaphat is a good king and one devoted to the Lord. He is also skilled at developing alliances, and has that rare ability to get along with almost everyone, even sworn enemies. The Philistines admire him. Surrounding nations respect him. Even Ahab, the wicked king to the north, likes him! He must have considerable charm to remain wholeheartedly devoted to God and still be liked by Ahab!

However, Jehoshaphat’s strength is his undoing. Getting along with Ahab may have been good politics, and there was probably nothing wrong with keeping up a savvy diplomatic relationship, but becoming good friends was a mistake. First, the prophet rebukes Jehoshaphat for helping the wicked (2 Chron. 19:1-3). Then, toward the end of his reign, Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab’s successor, Ahaziah, becomes a curse (2 Chron. 20:35-37). Later, when Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, becomes king of Judah, he is completely ruined by his father’s friendships! In fact, even Jehoshaphat’s grandson loses his life because of his family’s long-time friendship with the wicked king of Israel (2 Chron. 22:3-9).

You see, even kings are not above the counsel of Proverbs to be careful about relationships! No one is. There are a lot of smart, powerful, funny, charming people in the world whom we should not be friends with. Jehoshaphat’s life and legacy is a lesson about the danger of growing close to people who do not wholeheartedly follow the Lord. (Notice I didn’t say we shouldn’t count unbelievers among our friends, only that we must be cautious about whom we allow deep enough into our lives to influence us.) It is a theological truism that has withstood the test of time: the people you become close friends with will impact your life for good or ill. May God give us all, kings or not, discernment and courage to choose our friends wisely!

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.