Beware!There are two dangers present in our theme of encouragement. The first danger is encouragement's opposite: discouragement. (We'll consider this tomorrow...) The second danger is that we can also be encouraged to do the wrong things.
The sad history of Israel and Judah's kings is that many more of them were evil rather than good. Many of the evil kings were encouraged in their evil by negative influences:
- Solomon's son Rehoboam listened to his friends rather than his father's advisors - it split the kingdom.
- Ahab was led into terrible evil by his wife Jezebel. And Solomon was led astray by his many foreign wives and the need to honour their gods in order to preserve the political ties he'd made by marriage.
- The young man in proverbs is led astray by the bad company.
- Adam and Eve were beguiled by the serpent who disguised their rebellion as "self-actualisation."
The king in our passage today is Ahaziah who was a king in the Southern Kingdom. He reigned for one year before being put to death by Jehu. He was only 22.
The Chronicle writer (who looks at Israel's history from a spiritual perspective) gives a clear opinion on Ahaziah's short-lived and disastrous reign: His mother Athaliah encouraged him to do wrong.
Athaliah was the grand-daughter of Omri who, from secular history, was one of Judah's most successful kings, but who, from a spiritual perspective, had walked in ways displeasing to the Lord. Athaliah, having learned from a bad example, went on to be a bad example. (If Omri was her grandad, then Ahab was her dad or uncle, another bad example...)
Encouragement is active influence. We can use it for good or for evil. As parents we need to use this power very responsibly. We also need to recognise that some of our "encouragers" should not be listened to - just ask Ahaziah and Adam and Eve!
|Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. 3 He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. (2Chronicles22:2-3)|