Friendship with Man and Faithfulness to God
2 Chronicles 19:2
And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Should you help the ungodly…

The Apostle John fleeing from the baths because he saw the enemy of Christ entering, is a familiar picture. But how far are we to carry such unwillingness to be associated with the ungodly or the unbelieving? Jehoshaphat is here strongly rebuked for his intimacy with Ahab and the help he had been giving that wicked monarch. Let us consider -

I. HOW FAR OUR FREEDOM EXTENDS. It surely extends to:

1. The interchange of common courtesies. "Be courteous" is a maxim that will apply to every one. "Civility brings no conclusions," and may be shown to all people, without implying any sanction of their heresies or immoralities.

2. Fidelity in service and equity in negotiation. It was once thought right to take advantage of a man if he were a Jew or an infidel. But unrighteousness can never be anything but hateful to God and injurious to man, and justice and fair-dealing can never be otherwise than commendable. Moreover, the Christian servant or slave was urged by the apostle to show a right spirit "not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward" (1 Peter 2:18).

3. Succour to those who are in need. Pity for those who are in distress, and the helping hand stretched out to those that are "ready to perish," can never be contrary to the mind and the will of Jesus Christ.

4. Alliance for the promotion of a good common end. Here it may be objected that this would justify Jehoshaphat in his "offensive alliance" with Ahab, as they were seeking the lawful common object of crippling Syria. But it must be remembered that by helping to sustain the kingdom of Israel Jehoshaphat was perpetuating the division between the twelve tribes, the dismemberment of the country; and he was sustaining a power which was recreant to its high mission, and was positively and seriously hostile to sacred truth, to the kingdom of God. We may lawfully associate with ungodly men as fellow-citizens who are united in such rightful objects as saving life, as promoting health, as providing food, as extending trade and commerce. In so doing we are not in any way compromising principle or sustaining wrong; we are not "helping the ungodly" or "loving them that hate the Lord."

II. WHERE THE LINE OF PROHIBITION IS DRAWN. We have clearly no right to ally ourselves with sinful men when by so doing:

1. We advance the cause of unrighteousness or ungodliness. Better sacrifice anything we have at heart, better leave our personal preferences or our temporal interests entirely disregarded, than do that which will give an impetus to the cause of infidelity or immorality. In such a case we should certainly draw down God's displeasure; we need no prophet to say to us, "Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord."

2. When we show ourselves indifferent to the honour of our Divine Saviour. Jehoshaphat's ostentatious companionship with such an enemy of God as Ahab amounted to a tacit intimation that he could, when he wished to do so, be forgetful whose servant he was; he laid by that consideration to serve his momentary purpose. There may be some one who is a very pronounced enemy of Jesus Christ who seeks our friendship. To be very intimate with him is to put a slight upon our attachment to our Lord; it is to put him in the second place. Then fidelity to Christ will keep us at home; will lead us to seek other intimacies, to find our friendships with those who do not "hate the Lord."

3. When we expose our own character to serious risk. For one who is of a weaker mind and will to be associated intimately and for any length of time with an enemy of the Lord, can have but one result. It must issue in spiritual degeneracy; it may, indeed, end in spiritual ruin. Let those who contemplate the formation of a lifelong friendship beware how they trust their souls to any one who can be called "ungodly," how they "love them that hate the Lord." A sensitive, yielding spirit had better be "drowned in the midst of the sea" than be immersed in an atmosphere of worldliness or of unbelief, where all true piety and all living faith are daily being weakened and are constantly withering away. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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 thee from before the LORD.

WEB: Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, "Should you help the wicked, and love those who hate Yahweh? Because of this, wrath is on you from before Yahweh.

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