Summary: We are more infuluenced by people and events than we realise. Jehoshophat’s experience is a warning to us.

2 Kings

(1) Under the influence: 2 Kings 3

We all like to think of our ourselves as independent people

We know our own mind

We do what we want to do

We won’t let anyone run our lives for us

But, the truth of the matter is that every day someone or something is influencing us

It might be …

The lyrics of the song we’ve been humming along to

A programme we’ve just seen on TV

An article we’ve read in the paper

A something we’ve been told in a conversation

Like it or not – we are all under some kind of influence

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – so long as we’re influenced by the right kind of people and the right kind of things

After all didn’t Paul say ‘be imitators of me as I am of Christ’ – what’s that if it’s not a positive influence

And what was Jesus doing in the three years that He spent with the disciples if He wasn’t influencing them

But, the problem usually isn’t with those good influences – that we have to work at

à it’s with those negative influences

The things people have said to us

The TV programmes that we’ve watched

The crowd that we’ve got in with

It’s no wonder that Paul said ‘do not be conformed to this world’ in Romans 12.2

-- in other words ‘don’t let the world influence you’ – or as J.B Phillips translation puts it: ‘don’t let the world around you squeeze you into it’s own mould’

Well, this evening we’re going to meet a man who was too easily influenced by the wrong kind of people

His name was Jehoshophat

He was king of Judah

And on the whole he was a good man

He walked with God

He got rid of the idols people had been worshipping

He’d even sent some of the spiritual leaders out to teach people about the law of God

But he had one very serious weakness he couldn’t say no to the wicked king who ruled the northern Kingdom – Ahab or to Ahab’s son Joram

Jehoshophat and Ahab were kings at just about the same time

When Jehoshophat first came to the throne he bolstered defenses against the North – fortifying and manning the garrisons around the border

But somewhere along the line he seemed to succumb to Ahab’s charm offensive. à In fact he actually married into his family.

Every time he got tied up with Ahab it resulted in heartache

-- but he couldn’t seem to help himself

And the pattern continues during the reign of Ahab’s son Joram

SO – this evening we’re going to learn from Jehoshophat’s mistakes and draw some positive lessons that should help us stop coming under the wrong kind of influence

1. Learn to discern

In 2 areas


And please – don’t think I’m talking about us being all distant and judgemental

à discerning

You can see what I mean if you look at what’s going on in this chapter with me.

Take a look at Joram’s profile

2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them. (NIV)

In some ways it’s a bit of a mixed review

-- he’d made a move against the pagan religion– the worship of Baal - that had eaten away at the country during his father’s reign by getting rid the sacred stone the worshippers of Baal would have congregated around.

But we’re told that he ‘did evil in the eyes of the Lord’

And the only detail we’re given is that ‘he clung to the sins of Jeroboam’

Jeroboam was the first man to rule the breakaway kingdom

-- he was afraid that when people traveled to Jerusalem to worship God they loose their loyalty to his fledgling Kingdom. So he set up an alternative place of worship.

You can read about it in 1 Kings 12:28-29

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.

Joram continued this godless practice which, in the Lord’s eyes, was evil

Jehoshophat didn’t seem to question this, or even notice it

-- he just threw his lot in with Joram and said ‘I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses’

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Neal Kight

commented on Nov 4, 2006

A very Good Thought

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