The Company We Keep (2 Kings Chapter 12)

A Study in 2 KingsJehoash did right in the sight of The LORD
All his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him
2 Kings 12:2

As is my custom, knowing that my role is HIS messenger, I asked my Beloved LORD GOD what is YOUR message for this twelfth chapter of 2 Kings, HE promptly spoke “the company we keep”. As I carefully read 2 Kings chapter 12 and 2 Chronicles chapter 24, I meditated on HIS message. HE then began to reveal HIS message to me through Scripture, showing me how the company we keep, influences how we live and think.

Background:

  • Joash and Jehoash are the same person. He is called Joash in 2 Kin 11:2, 2 Kin 12:19-20, 2 Chr 24:1-2, 2 Chr 24:22, 2 Chr 24:24. He is called Jehoash in 2 Kin 11:21, 2 Kin 12:1-2, 2 Kin 12:4, 2 Kin 12:7, 2 Kin 12:18.
  • High places ― In 2 Kings 12:3, as in many places in the Old Testament our Beloved LORD GOD referenced the high places which were not taken away, places where people still sacrificed and burned incense. What were these high places? These were places that the wicked nations whom GOD drove out of the promise land before the nation of Israel (Deu 9:4-5), served their gods (idols). These wicked nations set up altars to sacrifice to demons, bricks to burn incense, and placed all types of idols (pillars/monuments of their gods; engraved images; carved wooden images), on high mountains, on hills, and under every green tree for worship (Deu 12:2-3, Isa 65:3-7). Before the nation of Israel ever went into the promised land, our Beloved LORD GOD told them four things:
    • drive out the wicked nations before them and utterly destroy their high places (Num 33:50-56)
    • do not learn their practices (Lev 18:3-5, Lev 20:22-24, Deu 12:29-31)
    • do not serve HIM the way the wicked served their idols (Deu 12:4)
    • be careful to only serve HIM, at the place HE put HIS NAME among the tribes (Lev 17:1-7, Deu 12:5-14)

They did not obey HIM, instead mingling with and learning the practices of the wicked nations (Psa 106:34-39). Israel became like the wicked nations they kept company with. By the above description of high places, Joash even set up a high place after the death of Jehoiada (2 Chr 34:18). Yet, four good kings in Judah, obeyed our GOD, and tore down the high places in the land of Judah (king Asa-2 Chr 14:1-8, king Jehoshaphat-2 Chr 17:1-9, king Hezekiah-2 Kin 18:1-6, king Josiah-2 Kin 23:1-25).

  • Building Fund ― king Jehoash commanded the priests to set up a fund to repair the damages to the house of The LORD (2 Kin 12:5, 2 Chr 24:5), and make utensils to replace the ones taken by Athaliah’s sons (2 Chr 24:14). He commanded the priest to do this quickly (2 Chr 24:5) by collections from three sources in Judah:
    • the census levy for every male 20 and over, to be used for the service of the place where GOD puts HIS NAME (Exd 30:11-16, 2 Chr 24:6, Mat 17:24-27)
    • vow offerings (Lev 27:1-8, an offering for a person who took a vow, to dedicate themselves to The LORD’s service; the valuation of the offering was based on the offeror’s worth as a worker for a specified period)
    • freewill offerings of money, given by those whose hearts moved them (2 Kin 12:4, Exd 35:20-29)

But these collections and the repair on the house of GOD did not happen quickly as directed by king Jehoash (2 Chr 24:5), so king Jehoash got directly involved in the building fund by taking collections out of the hands of the priests. He made a proclamation throughout Judah concerning the collection of the census levy, and had those collections deposited into a chest that stood where people coming into the house of GOD could make them. The deposits were paid directly to the repairers (2 Kin 12:9-12, 2 Chr 24:8-14).

  • Asherim ― is the plural form of Asherah (2 Chr 24:18, 1 Kin 18:17-19). Multiple Asherah or female deities in a carved wooden or tree form, are set up as an Asherim, in the despicable high places.

Overview of 2 Kings Chapter 12: Wycliffe Bible Commentary gives us a succinct overview of 2 Kings Chapter 12, through discussion of 2 Chr 24:1:

The reign of Joash serves as a personification of the whole history of Judah. In its earlier part, Joash lived righteously, honoring The LORD, and caring for the Temple, with its sacrifices that depicted GOD’s eternal plan of salvation (2 Chr 24:1-14). Yet in its later part, he forsook both The LORD and HIS Temple (2 Chr 24:15-19), murdered the prophet who rebuked him, the son of the very priest who had established and guided him (2 Chr 24:20-22), suffered a humiliating defeat to Hazael of Damascus (2 Chr 24:23-24), and died weakened by wounds and slain for his crimes (2 Chr 24:25-27).

Our Beloved LORD GOD’s personal message to each one of us as laid out in 2 Kings Chapter 12 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 24 is “the company we keep (our companions), influences how we live and think.”

2 Kin 12:2, As long as the high priest Jehoiada lived Joash did right in the sight of GOD (2 Kin 12:2, 2 Chr 24:2). He collected a building fund (2 Kin 12:4-10, 2 Chr 24:5-11); repaired the House of GOD (2 Kin 12:11-16, 2 Chr 24:12-14); replaced the holy utensils stolen from GOD’s House (2 Chr 24:14).

But sadly, once Jehoiada died, the wicked officials of Judah came and led king Joash astray. He forsook our GOD (2 Chr 24:17, 20); abandoned HIS House (2 Chr 24:18); set up a high place and served the Asherim and the idols  (2 Chr 24:18); would not listen to GOD’s prophets concerning their sin (2 Chr 24:19); murdered Zechariah (Jehoiada’s son) for speaking GOD’s message (2 Chr 24:20-22, Luk 11:51); bribed Hazael to spare Judah by giving him, GOD’s sacred things (2 Kin 12: 18).

Are there other examples in The BIBLE of being led  astray by bad company? Yes, there are plenty, but first we must tell you that our Beloved LORD GOD specifically warns about bad company corrupting good morals (1 Cor 15:33). HE strongly warns us, by saying “do not be deceived” anyone who is a partner, friend, companion of the ungodly, unbelieving, or disobedient will be affected by them (Psa 1:1, 1 Jhn 2:28-29). A godly person cannot continually spend time with the ungodly and not begin to think like, speak like, believe like, behave like, or become like them. And this corruption can come through wicked:

  • counsel like in the cases of Amnon and his cousin Jonadab (2 Sam 13:1-6, 2 Sam 13:30-33); Rehoboam and his childhood friends (1 Kin 12:1-15)
  • associations like in the cases of Solomon and his foreign wives (1 Kin 11:1-10); marriage alliances between the children of king Jehoshaphat and king Ahab (2 Chr 18:1, 1 Kin 22:44, 2 Kin 8:16-18); believers and unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14-18, 1 Cor 5:9-11)

What would cause Joash to forsake The LORD when Jehoiada died? Because his relationship was with Jehoiada not our GOD. And this will always happen when your trust and confidence is in men not GOD (Jer 17:5, Isa 2:22, Psa 146:3-5). Bad company can corrupt good morals when one does not love GOD completely (Jer 2:2, Mat 24:12, Rev 2:4), and this lack of love for GOD causes one to:

  1. easily be enticed by ungodly associations (Pro 1:10-15, Eph 5:6-17)
  2. be seduced by selfish desires (Mrk 4:18-19, Eph 2:3, 2 Pet 2:9-10)
  3. be drawn away by the world and the things in the world (1 Jhn 2:15-17, Jam 4:4)

How can one keep their lives pure, and not become a companion of the ungodly? First and foremost, by persistently loving GOD with all that is within us (Deu 6:4-5, Mrk 12:29-30); clinging to HIM (Deu 10:20-21, Psa 63:7-8); continually seeking HIS face (1 Chr 16:11); living our lives according to HIS WORD (Psa 119:9); treasuring that WORD within our hearts (Psa119:11); be companions of the wise (Psa 119:63, Pro 13:20, Pro 27:17); testify of the goodness of our BELOVED LORD GOD (Mal 3:16-18); be careful of our conduct (Pro 19:16, 2 Pet 3:11-13).

Jonathan and David are an example of two godly friends, who had faith in our GOD, in common (1 Sam Chapters 18-20). And our Heavenly FATHER was with both of them (1 Sam 18:14, 1 Sam 13:2-4, 1 Sam 14:1-23).

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