Online Bible Commentary
Should we, as Christians, love and help everybody?
2 Chronicles 19:1 When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you.
3 There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God."
4 Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers. (NIV)
King Jehoshaphat of Judah has just returned from battle. He joined with Israel’s King Ahab in attacking the country of Aram. Jehoshaphat was dressed in his royal robes for all to see, but was saved by God. On the other hand, Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier, but was killed.
Ahab was killed in the battle because he had led Israel into idol worship. Ahab married the Phoenician princess Jezebel. He was a mere puppet in her hands. Upon becoming queen, the first thing she did was to establish the Phoenician religion in Israel. Jezebel had God’s prophets in Israel put to death and established the worship of Baal and Astarte. “Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him” (1 Kings 16:33).
So Israel worshiped a different god than Judah. This angered God, and when Jehoshaphat returned from helping Israel he was rebuked by the prophet Hanani. Hanani said "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you” (vv.1-2).
Hanani did find some good in Jehoshaphat though, commending him for trying to rid Judah of the idol worship that was present when he assumed the throne and for setting his “heart on seeking God” (v.3). Jehoshaphat then redeemed himself by going out and turning the people of Judah “back to the LORD, the God of their fathers” (v.4).
In verse two the word translated “wicked” in the Hebrew is “rasa”. It means wicked, evil, or guilty. The verse means we should not help the wicked, evil, or guilty people in showing their hatred to the Lord.
The word translated “love” is the Hebrew word “ahab” which means “to love, to be a friend or ally”. The word translated “hate” in the Hebrew is “sane”. It means to hate, to be an enemy, to be an adversary, or to be a foe. In other words, we are not to help, or support, wickedness, and we are not to be an ally of God’s enemy.
The enemy of God is idol worship, worshiping another god. Israel worshiped the idol of Baal and Jehoshaphat was guilty of helping the idol worship to continue and thrive.
There is a lesson in this passage for us today. It has to do with who we love and help. As Christians, we are taught to love all people. Jesus loves all and wishes all to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While this is true, we should stop at helping people to promote idols or being an ally of those who worship idols.
So, what is idol worship? Idol worship is worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. God created the world and all it contains. God created the animals, the environment, mankind, etc.
What are some idols in today’s world? Any religion that does not worship the God of the Bible is an idol. Humanism and secularism are idols. They are the worship of man over God. Mysticism is an idol. Sex, outside of God’s marriage design, is an idol. Money and power can be idols. Anything we put before God or God’s word is an idol.
This passage teaches us that we are not to help in the promotion of idols or ally ourselves with those who worship idols. If we do, like Jehoshaphat, we risk the wrath of the Lord.