READ: 2 Chronicles 22-23
THINK: At first glance this story reads like a soap opera or a bad Lifetime movie. If you can make out the thrust of the story between all of the crazy names, it has all the aspects of a captivating melodrama. There is power struggle, family drama, murder, and evil mom conspiring to take the throne for herself, a brave rescue, and a bold plot to kill the wicked queen and insert the true king who will lead the people back in the right direction once again. If only they lived happily ever after, you could have pitched this script to Disney.
But this does serve as a very powerful example for all of us of the power of influence. King Ahaziah listened to his mother Athalia and also chose as his advisors a number of people who had advised King Ahab very poorly. All the people he surrounded himself with pushed him to do evil and serve Baal instead of God. And they influenced him to lead poorly and turn the country in the wrong direction. And it’s not shocking, then, that Ahaziah did not last long on the throne of Judah. He met his untimely end as a consequence of his rebellion and his sin.
It’s easy to sit back and call Ahaziah stupid. He was, and we have the advantage of hindsight in looking back a few thousand years at his situation. But we would do well to recognize that we are susceptible to the same thing. The people we choose to surround ourselves with will absolutely influence the direction and quality of our lives. They will shape the choices that we make and the people that we become.
We need to build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus. But we also need to be careful to make sure that the people we’re closest to and the people we’re allowing to pour into us and shape our lives are people who are calling us to be more like Jesus instead of less. It’s easy to be influenced. It’s easy to be an Ahaziah. And there are plenty of Athalias out there waiting to pull us away from God. So, we need to be on guard and be careful about engaging in God-honoring relationships that build up our faith. The consequences – both good and bad – could not be more real.
PRAY: Ask God to help you find and engage in relationships with Christian mentors and peers who build you up in your faith and consistently call you to be more like Jesus. And thank him for the ones who are in your life! Make a list of some of those key relationships, and then say a prayer for them today. And if you get the chance, thank them for their role in your life.