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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Chronicles 19

Verse 2

DISCOURSE: 409
JEHOSHAPHAT’S CONNEXION WITH AHAB REPROVED

2 Chronicles 19:2. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon time from before the Lord.

IT is happy when pious children rise up in the places of their parents, and, unmoved by the sufferings which their fathers have experienced, dare to tread in their steps with fidelity and zeal. Hanani, the father of Jehu, had been cast into prison for faithful reproof which he administered to King Asa [Note: 2 Chronicles 16:7-10.]: yet does Jehu give a similar reproof to Asa’s son and successor, Jehoshaphat: and, us he was enabled to temper his reproof with seasonable commendation, he succeeded in convincing the monarch of his fault, and in stirring him up to a more becoming conduct.

The conduct here blamed, was, Jehoshaphat’s uniting himself with Ahab against the king of Syria: but the terms in which the censure was conveyed, are of more general import, and may be applied to all alliances with the ungodly. We will endeavour therefore to improve them, by shewing,

I.

What is that intimacy with the ungodly which God forbids—

We are not to suppose that all connexion with them is forbidden; for then, as the Apostle says, “We must needs go out of the world,” since the necessities of our nature constrain us to keep up some sort of intercourse with them. Moreover, there is an attention to them which compassion itself demands, and which our blessed Saviour himself manifested to such a degree, as to incur the reproach of being “a friend of publicans and sinners.” Nor are we to forget, that courtesy is one of the most amiable and important of Christian graces. “Be pitiful, be courteous,” is the command of God himself: and they who are grossly deficient in relation to this duty, as too many professors of religion are, have greatly mistaken the true genius of Christianity, which is, in every possible modification of it, a religion of love.

Yet is there a very broad line of distinction to be drawn between the extremes of unmeasured union with the world, and a contemptuous abstraction from it. Though the righteous are not to despise the ungodly, they are carefully to avoid,

1.

An alliance with them—

[Under the law, all intermarriages with the heathen were strictly forbidden: and under the Gospel the same law applies to the ungodly: the Apostle’s direction respecting those who are seeking a matrimonial alliance, is, “Let them marry, only in the Lord [Note: 1 Corinthians 7:39.].” In many places of Scripture are the evils arising from unequal marriages of believers with unbelievers, strongly marked [Note: Gen 6:2-3 and in Jehoshaphat’s own son; 2 Chronicles 21:6.]: we must not wonder then that such contracts are expressly forbidden [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.].]

2.

A conformity to them—

[They who are of the world, both speak of the world, and act agreeably to its dictates: they have no higher objects in view, than “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.” But these are wholly unsuited to the Christian’s state: they are in direct opposition to that holy and heavenly course which he is commanded to pursue [Note: 1 John 2:15-16.]: and therefore he is enjoined “on no account to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, that he may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God [Note: Romans 12:2.].”]

3.

An unnecessary association with them—

[We should not choose them as our friends and companions: for “how can two walk together, except they be agreed?” We almost of necessity imbibe the spirit of our associates; and therefore we should select for our acquaintance those who will help us forward, and not those who will retard us, in our heavenly course. We can never too attentively consider that instructive declaration of Solomon, “He that walketh with wise men, will be wise; but a companion of fools will be destroyed [Note: Proverbs 13:20.].”]

That such intimacy with the ungodly is not prohibited by God without reason, will appear, whilst we shew,

II.

Why it is so displeasing to him—

God was greatly offended with Jehoshaphat, and severely punished him for his fault. It was in consequence of his alliance with Ahab that his eldest son Jehoram slew all his younger brethren [Note: 2 Chronicles 21:4.], and that all his grandchildren were slain by Jehu [Note: 2Ki 10:13-14 and especially 2 Chronicles 22:7-8.]. And in every instance, such intimacy with the ungodly is offensive to him;

1.

On account of the state of mind it implies—

[It is evident that any person professing godliness, and at the same time affecting the society of the ungodly, must be in a very degenerate state. Such a state of mind indicates in a very high degree, a want of love to God—a want of aversion to sin—a want of self-knowledge—and a want of common prudence.

How low must be his love to God! Would any man who loved his parents and his family select for his intimate friend a man that was the avowed enemy of them all? Yet the character of the ungodly is, that they are “haters of God [Note: Romans 1:30; Romans 8:7.]:” how then can any one who truly loves God, take such a person for his bosom friend, or maintain, except from necessity, any intercourse with him?

And small indeed must be his aversion to sin, when he can find pleasure in those who belong to “a world that lieth in wickedness,” and whose whole life is a continued and voluntary course of sin.

His self-knowledge too must be at a very low ebb, if he think that he can frequent such company without having both his principles and his practice greatly vitiated.

Even to common prudence he is almost an utter stranger: for would any man on the brink of a stupendous precipice go unnecessarily to the utmost edge of it, where it was exceeding rough and slippery, rather than pursue a path which was comparatively both safe and easy? Yet this is his conduct, who chooses to mix unnecessarily with a tempting and ensnaring world: and the absurdity of it is strongly marked in the expressions of our text, where an appeal is made to the common sense and reason of mankind; “Shouldest thou love them that hate the Lord?”]

2.

On account of its pernicious tendency—

[We form very erroneous calculations on this subject. We are ready to think that we shall ingratiate ourselves with the world, and recommend religion to their favourable acceptance: but the very reverse is the case; we lower ourselves in their estimation, and make them think better of their own religion than they would otherwise do. They take for granted that religion sanctions all that conformity to their customs that they see in us; and consequently that they are much nearer to the standard of true religion than they really are: nor are they a whit more reconciled to those practices which they do not choose to follow, and which, in spite of all our efforts, they will account over-righteous, unnecessary, and absurd. It will be found almost invariably that little, if any, good accrues to the ungodly from such sacrifices, and that great injury is sustained by those who make them.
In the chapter preceding our text, we may see the experiment fairly made. Jehoshaphat having joined affinity with Ahab, paid him a friendly visit, and was hospitably received by him [Note: 2 Chronicles 18:1-2.]. Presently Ahab proposed to him an union of their forces in an attack on the king of Syria; to which proposal Jehoshaphat, unwilling to refuse him, accedes; but, being a pious character, recommends that an inquiry should be first made of God for his direction. To this Ahab apparently agrees; but consults none except his own idolatrous prophets [Note: 2 Chronicles 18:3-5.]. Jehoshaphat, not quite satisfied with their advice, asks if there be not a prophet of Jehovah by whom their inquiry may be made? Ahab acknowledges that there is; but that he cannot endure that prophet, because he never prophesied good concerning him, but evil. This aversion Jehoshaphat tries to soften; and for a moment prevails [Note: 2 Chronicles 18:6-8.]: but, as soon as Micaiah has delivered his message from the Lord, Ahab is filled with rage against him, and orders him to be put in prison, and to be fed with the bread and water of affliction: and Jehoshaphat, contrary to God’s revealed will, proceeds with Ahab to execute the plan proposed [Note: 2 Chronicles 18:16-17; 2 Chronicles 18:25-28.]. Now here is an exact representation of what generally takes place in such connexions: the compliances that are required by the ungodly, are too faintly refused; whilst the barriers interposed by the godly, produce no adequate effect. The two parties may not unfitly be compared to persons pulling against each other on a steep declivity: the one who is on the more elevated site, may think he shall prevail; but a moment’s experience will suffice to shew him, that his adversary draws against him with a ten-fold advantage, both as it respects the comparative force which he is able to exert, and the greater facility with which a descending motion may be produced. Thus it is between the godly and the ungodly, when too intimate a fellowship subsists between them: the conscience of the one is ensnared and violated, whilst the other retains all his principles, dispositions, and habits.]

3.

On account of its opposition to his revealed will—

[Nothing can be plainer than God’s declaration respecting the friendship of the world: it is actually a state of “enmity against God:” yea, the very desire to possess its friendship is constructive treason against God himself; and actually constitutes treason, as much as the holding of forbidden intercourse with an earthly enemy constitutes treason against the king [Note: James 4:4. See the Greek.]. It is in vain to dispute against such a solemn declaration as this, or to think that we can ever reconcile such opposite interests as those of “God and Mammon.” We must hold to the one, or to the other: and if we choose the friendship of the world, then must we expect to be dealt with as the enemies of God. If we are found associated with the goats in this world, it is in vain to hope that we shall be numbered with the sheep in the world to come [Note: Matthew 25:32-33.].]

Address—

[The character of Jehoshaphat was on the whole good: “good things were found in him; and he had prepared his heart to seek God [Note: ver. 3.].” Now it is to persons of this character more particularly that our subject must be addressed: for the ungodly, when mixing with the world, are in their proper element; and the established Christian feels but little temptation to go back to worldly pleasures, or to worldly society. But the temptation to young and inexperienced Christians is great. Be it remembered however by all, that the true disciples of our Lord “are not of the world, even as he was not of the world.” They cannot say to an ungodly man, “I am as thou art;” for they are as different from him as light from darkness. “By the cross of Christ, they are crucified unto the world, as the world also is to them [Note: Galatians 6:14.].” Let me entreat you then, Brethren, not to “be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, but to come out from among them, and be separate [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 6:17.];” and endeavour to be in reality, what all the Lord’s people are by profession “a city set upon a hill,” and “lights shining in a dark place.”]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 19". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-chronicles-19.html. 1832.