Read: 2 Chronicles 21:4-24:27
Restore Church JAX Launches Today
Zoë and I are in Jacksonville, NC, to support Roger Burns and his team as they launch a new church. As part of the team, I was privileged to serve as Roger’s project manager, essentially handling the nuts and bolts of legal stuff to support the business entity, but more importantly, I was blessed to encourage, exhort, pray, work and laugh with Roger. Please take a moment and pray for Restore Christian Church, for their desire to transform this busy city outside of Marine Corps Air Station New River and Camp LeJeune, to bring new hope and the message of Jesus Christ to this part of the world.
This is probably one of the shortest histories of a king of Judah (Ahaziah, below, was even shorter!). Jehoram was evil. He killed his brothers and other leaders, adopted the godless ways of Ahab, i.e., the Northern Kingdom.
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:20
His terrible reign as king earned him stern words from Isaiah, the great prophet. Called out for the evil that he perpetuated, Isaiah prophesied the results:
So now the Lord is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’” 2 Chronicles 21:14-15
And so it came to pass–Jehoram died a painful and horrible death.
Only Ahaziah remained from Jehoram’s family, so he was made king when he was 22 years old. His reign was only one year long.
He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing. 2 Chronicles 22:4
For all the good that Jehoshaphat did for Judah, marrying Athaliah was a huge mistake! Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab and Jezebel–she was Ahaziah’s mother. She was a horror just like her mother was to Elijah. It was her prompting the accelerated Ahaziah’s downfall and death. In her rage she began to destroy the rest of the royal family of Judah. Joash was hidden away for six years, ultimately becoming king. In the meantime, Jehoiada the priest acted as chief advisor or guardian, doing the best he could to protect Joash and do God’s will. When they finally crowned Joash as king, Athaliah rebelled,
Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” 2 Chronicles 23:13
Under direction of Jehoiada the priest, Athaliah and all who followed her were put to death. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars (2 Chronicles 23:15). Further, Jehoiada organized the priests, commanders, nobles and rulers throughout the land so the people lived in peace.
Based on the narrative of Jehoiada, there are probably few better servant leaders among the historical characters we read about in the Bible. There’s no indication that he did anything for fame, fortune or personal gain. Everything he did honored God and Joash as king. Amazing. (Note to self: here’s another man of God to study further.)
Joash listened to the wise counsel of Jehoiada and did well in the eyes of the Lord as long as Jehoiada was around. He became king when he was only 7 years old and reigned for 40 years. Jehoiada was much older, as you can imagine. He led well and died at the ripe old age of 130 years!
After Jehoiada died, Joash and the people abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols (2 Chronicles 24:18). I don’t know how much time passed between verse 16 and 17, but it’s obvious that everything changed after Jehoiada died. For all his great leadership, he did not have an effective succession plan. (Another note to self: leave an effective hit-by-a-bus strategy!)
The Lord’s anger was aroused and he sent Zechariah, son of Jehoiada to confront Joash. Zechariah told Joash that since he had forsaken the Lord, the Lord has forsaken him. Angered by this prophecy, Joash had Zechariah stoned to death in the courtyard of the temple. Joash turned completely evil:
King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.” 2 Chronicles 24:22
Ultimately the Arameans mounted an attack and the Lord delivered Judah into their hands. When the Arameans withdrew Joash was wounded and his own officials conspired against him and killed him. Joash started out well, but finished in horrible defeat.
What an uplifting post! The leaders of God’s people are 0 for 4 in these few chapters. How did they lose sight of that which was good?
Lord, help us to learn from these mistakes, the missteps of our ancestors.