I have recently finished studying the books of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament. I am in awe of all that God taught me through these books! Jehoash (also shortened to Joash) is on my mind today. “Jehoash?” you may be saying, “I don’t even know how to pronounce that name, much less have anything to say about him!” I understand! And don’t worry about the pronunciation -- most of us louse up the Hebrew names anyway (which are beautiful when pronounced correctly). I will do my best to give you enough detail to share the lesson the Lord taught me, and maybe whet your appetite to study him as well if you haven’t already.
Jehoash had a blessed beginning:
- He was hidden and protected from the evil and destructive Athaliah who wanted to secure the kingdom of Judah for herself (as queen) by killing the royal line, to include Jehoash (2 Kings 11:1-3).
- He grew up in the house of the Lord. His formative years were spent there (7 years).
- He was raised by Jehoiada the priest.
- Became king of Judah when he was 7 (yes, seven!) years old, and reigned 40 years.
At first glance, it’s easy to conclude “Wow! With such a beginning, he must have been a strong man of faith when he was older.” But there was a problem with Jehoash. Scripture tells us: “Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 12:2, emphasis added). In other words, as long as Jehoiada was around, Jehoash did what was right.
Once Jehoiada was no longer around to demonstrate godliness and be a positive influence, Jehoash was swayed by the negative influences around him:
“But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them” (2 Chronicles 24:17).
The result was that the house of the Lord was abandoned and the people followed after idolatry. God eventually sent Jehoiada’s son Zechariah to bring a warning. Look at the surprising response: “[Judah] conspired against him and at the command of the king [Jehoash] they stoned him to death” (v. 21). How heart-wrenching, all because Jehoash succumbed to ungodly influences!
It is very possible for a person to do right only because of the influences around him or her, and not because it is truly in their heart to love and please God.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (Proverbs 29:25)
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)
Are you like Jehoash? Do you need to step up your trust in God and do what is right even in the face of potential rejection, criticism, humility, or whatever you seem to stumble over into fear of man? Ask the Lord to help you seek His favor rather than the favor of men.
What about your children? I know I have been writing a lot about and for mothers recently, but that is the chapter of life I am in! Pray for our children NOT to be like Jehoash, but to be so solid in their faith and love for God that they will do what is right even when faced by ungodly pressures.
Blessings as you seek to follow HIM fully--