I’ve been watching a series of talks from business leaders, specifically online business leaders about starting and growing businesses. Then, in reading Psalms, I came across this verse:
Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness; let him rebuke me – is is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. … Psalm 141:5 (ESV)
This seems a bit extreme, but I understand what it’s saying. It’s so much better to have someone who is wise bring harsh truth to you then to have an unwise person build you up. The blessings of listening to righteous correction bring rewards and blessings in our lives.
It is good to point out that it is righteous wisdom that we should be listening to, not just any voice. The counselors that we chose to surround ourselves and how well we listen to them are very much indicators of where our lives will be going.
In 2 Chronicles 24, we meet a very young king named Joash. He ascends the throne at only 7 years old. This king isn’t left to his own devices; the priest of the time is Jehoiada who also honors the Lord (v. 16). While Jehoiada is alive, Joash does what’s right in the eyes of the Lord.
Joash tells the Levites to collect the taxes to restore the temple, but they don’t act. Joash then skips the middle man and tell the people to bring the taxes to the temple. There is great rejoicing and the money comes in quickly to fix the temple.
Fast forward to Jehoiada’s death. This young king who was passionate enough to track down the money for the temple now begins to change. He listens to the wrong people and allows the pagan sacrifices to begin again. The Bible doesn’t say why he changed or how the wrong influence came to him. Maybe he was rebellious, or maybe he was just tricked. Either way, he didn’t continue in the path the Lord set him on. His sin got to the point where he had the son of Jehoiada, Zechariah, killed for bringing condemning words against him.
Joash’s rebellion led to the Lord destroying him with the Syrian army and his own servants (v. 24-25). In the battle with the Syrian army, Joash was wounded. Two servants took it upon themselves to kill him in retaliation for the death of Zechariah. Joash wasn’t even buried with the same honor as Jehoiada due to the king’s choices to dishonor the Lord.
We must always be aware of the influence that other have on us, particularly ones that are in a mentorship role. Some of us, some of the time, are able to stand up to the voices of our friends and mentors if they are not leading us in helpful directions. Most of us, however, are far more go with the flow.
It’s not necessarily bad to be go with the flow as beings surrounded by righteous people can help us deepen our walk with the Lord. The problem is when the counselors and people that influences are not after the heart of the Lord. Then their advice may sound good, but it won’t lead us into a life of blessing.