Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord. Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.” II Chronicles 19:1-3 ESV
My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason;
like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder;
throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse”—
my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood. Proverbs 1:10-16 ESV
Sandy and Marcia were in the same class at school, and they were good friends. They liked to hang out and play together. But Sandy wasn’t a very nice person. She enjoyed hurting other people by saying mean things to them and spreading rumors about them. Marcia knew that this wasn’t a good way to act, but she liked being with Sandy. She didn’t try to stop Sandy’s behavior, and in fact she joined in. She also said unkind things to people and helped spread bad stories about people that weren’t true. Marcia chose to act in wrong ways because of her friendship with Sandy.
Jehoshaphat joined King Ahab and helped him in battle, even though he knew Ahab was wicked and rebellious against God. God helped and protected Jehoshaphat in the battle, but when he came home to his own kingdom of Judah, a prophet came to talk to him. He told him that God was angry with him for helping Ahab, but that some of his behavior also pleased God. Jehoshaphat had gotten rid of some of the statues of the goddess Asherah in Judah, and that pleased God. He sent his prophet to speak a warning to Jehoshaphat not to be led into bad ways by the wickedness of the kings of the northern kingdom.
We also need to be careful not to let friends lead us away from obeying God’s ways. Following a friend who does bad things can get us into trouble, and more importantly it can hurt our faith in God. Of course we want to be friendly and kind to everyone and love them the way Jesus does. If we aren’t sure what we should do about a friend who seems to be hurting our behavior or our faith, a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult can help us decide the best way to handle this friendship. Jesus died to take away our sins and the sins of other people also, and we can always go to him for forgiveness if a friend leads to do something wrong. God sends us his Holy Spirit to help us know how to follow God and stay close to him.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to act with love and wisdom with our friends, and to always follow your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.