And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 2 Chronicles 24:2
We know King David. And Solomon. Maybe even Hezekiah and Josiah. But there were many other kings in Judah, and admittedly, many were terrible. However, there were some good kings, not perfect kings, but good kings. These good kings can serve as examples of things we can do even in our culture, in our lives to honor God. So far we’ve studied Asa and his son, Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, began his reign with the execution of his brothers. 2 Chronicles 21:20, in recording his reign ends with “and, to no one’s sorrow, departed.” His son, Ahaziah, was no better and after his death in an ill-advised battle, Jehoram’s widow seized the throne and “destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah.” (2 Chronicles 22:10)
Except one. Princess Jehoshabeath who was the wife of a priest named Jehoiada hid her toddler half-brother, Joash, in a room in the temple. Six years later, when Joash was seven years old, Jehoida led a group of men to overthrow Athaliah and establish Joash as the rightful king.
Joash leaned heavily on the advice of a godly mentor. You can read more about Jehoiada and his devotion to God in 2 Chronicles 23. He covenanted with the people and with Joash that they would be a people of God. He re-established the proper role of the priests and Levites. Everyone in Judah breathed a sigh of relief. He also chose wives for Joash. We can certainly argue that having two wives was outside God’s design, but it’s a subtle indication that Joash depended on the priest’s counsel.
The relationship between Joash and Jehoiada underscores our need both to be and to enlist a mentor. Of course, we are more likely to call it discipleship and maybe even do it in a small group setting, but that doesn’t erase the need or the importance of building deep relationships with other believers. That is the model Jesus established in His earthly ministry and we see it in the life of Paul later in the New Testament.
Joash had a heart for worship and for the house of God. Afterward, Joash took it to heart to renovate the LORD’s temple. 2 Chronicles 24:4 The Temple was the place God Himself chose to dwell and the respect the people showed to the place was a reflection of their devotion to the One who dwelt between the cherubim. Joash reinstituted the collection Moses had set up to pay for the upkeep of the tabernacle. Verse 13 says the collection was enough to restore the house of God to its original condition and it was reinforced as well. The original condition was what Solomon built. This was no small undertaking and a significant expense.
We tend to shy away from venerating the place we worship. It’s “just a building” and certainly the church of God is the people of God. However, do we have an intense desire to restore, to revive our worship? Do we long to meet with God, to be where He meets with His people? Are we generous with our contributions so that His full glory can be made known?
Joash walked away. Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. 2 Chronicles 24:17-18a. The unsettling conclusion seems to be that Joash’s faith and devotion to God were shallow at best. When flatterers came, he knowingly, willingly walked away from truth and embraced a lie. That is the very definition of apostasy.
And it got worse. When Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, called him out, Joash had the priest murdered. This brazen act ultimately resulted in Joash’s assassination at the hands of his own servants. He was buried without honor.
This is a cautionary lesson for us. Are we clinging to truth or are we enamored with lies? Are we following the God of Scripture or a god we created? How do we react when we are called out for our sins? Do we become defensive and lash out at the messenger or do we thank God for sending correction?
Following Christ is a lifetime occupation, not just a fad for a season. Next week, we’ll see how Joash’s failures impacted his son, Amaziah.