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Some Dead Flies in the Lives of Good Kings

Posted by Matt Postiff December 19, 2013 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 

In Ecclesiastes 10:1, Solomon teaches a little nugget of wisdom:

Dead flies putrefy the perfumer's ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor."

Some examples of such folly are recorded in 2 Chronicles 16-20. Asa and his son Jehoshaphat were generally good kings in the southern kingdom (2 Chronicles 14:2, 17:3). However, they each had some dead flies:

  • Asa made a treaty with Syria and did not rely on the Lord (16:1-10).
  • Asa became angry when confronted by the prophet Hanani and imprisoned the prophet and became oppressive to those of his own people (16:10).
  • Asa had a foot disease, yet did not seek the Lord about the matter but rather relied on the physicians (16:12).
  • Jehoshaphat allied himself with wicked Ahab in a battle against Ramoth Gilead (18:2-3). Apparently, he did not imprison the prophet like his dad had done (19:2-3).
  • Jehoshaphat allied himself with very wicked Ahaziah to build ships to sail to the west; another prophet rebuked him for this alliance (20:35-37).

These are some obvious illustrations of the need for separation in the believer's life—separation from sin and sinful partnerships. They are also good lessons that a few foolish decisions can do severe damage to one's reputation. How can we avoid similar sins?

First, as you make a decision (like to make a treaty or ally yourself with someone or some group), ask yourself if you are relying on the Lord most, or upon some other support, such as pragmatism or medicine or covetousness?

Second, as you make those decisions, ask yourself if they are necessary things to do. The treaty was not necessary for Asa; the ships were not necessary for Jehoshaphat. You can avoid trouble if you avoid doing unnecessary things. You can avoid the difficulty of having to separate from something if you never start that something.

Third, do you become defensive or angry when someone questions or confronts you about the decision you made? That's a sign that something is wrong—if not the decision itself, then your attitude about it.

Fourth, ask yourself if the people with whom you are allying yourself are of like mind in their desire to follow the Lord. Do they believe as you do? Do they live righteously? Are they serving God or money?

Let's ask for help from the Lord to avoid the dead flies.

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