Today’s readings are 2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 12, Psalm 50, and Matthew 9.
In 2 Chronicles 24 and 2 Kings 12 we read about Joash who became the king of Judah at just the age of seven. Can you imagine? Although young, Joash led well early and throughout most of his reign. There was a priest named Jehoiada who mentored Joash and 2 Chronicles 24:2 tells us that while Jehoiada was alive Joash “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Joash helped lead a charge to gather offerings like Moses instructed generations earlier so they could use the money to repair the temple. Again, Joash led well during most of his reign, but unfortunately, he did not finish well much like King Asa I wrote about 2 weeks ago.
What changed to cause King Joash to turn from the Lord? With King Asa, we are unsure. However, with King Joash it is apparent once Jehoaida died, then everything changed. Some princes of Judah came and influenced Joash negatively immediately afterwards. The Lord even tried to send Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, to help bring Joash back to his senses to return to the Lord, but instead Joash ignored Zechariah and even had him stoned. When Joash was only forty-seven and could have reigned for many more years potentially he was assassinated by his own servants after the Lord allowed a great army of Judah to be taken down by the lesser Syrian army because Joash and Judah had forsaken Him (2 Chronicles 24:23-25).
What can we learn from this? I’ve written on this before but often we put our hope in earthly leaders, even ones who seem to be and even are God following. However, we are all sinners and earthly leaders and mentors, even though often good and well-intended, will eventually make a mistake to disappoint you or like Jehoaida they will pass away because they are human. We must make sure that the leaders we are following are leading us to Jesus and even when they are trying, it is up to us personally to make sure Jesus is who we are really following and putting our hope and trust in. Jehoaida may have led Joash very well and did all he could, but Joash evidently did not see the Lord as the leader of his life or he would not have fallen away from his faith so quickly once Jehoaida passed.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there
is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he
returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans
Blessed is he whose help is the
God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them.
who keeps faith forever.
We can also learn from Joash’s downfall to be very careful who we surround ourselves with and their influence. While we can likely say Joash must not have been very convicted in his faith and relationship with God since he departed from it very quickly after Jehoaida’s passing, he also surrounded himself with princes of Judah who evidently were not God-following who influenced him negatively, ultimately leading him astray (2 Chronicles 24:17-18). Nearly all of us can be susceptible to falling astray and making poor decisions if we do not surround ourselves with good people and good counsel. We must make sure those who we are spending the most time with and turning to for advice are God-following and ultimately that we look to Jesus and put our hope in Him and Him alone.
Some trust in chariots and some
but we trust in the name of the
Lord our God.
(I would also encourage you to read Psalm 50 which includes much more about how everything in the world belongs to God, thus calling us to glorify Him by putting our trust, hope, sacrifices, and thanksgiving in Him alone.)