JUNE 8 - Nº 159 2 Kings 12:17-21; 2 Chronicles 24:17-27
Some powerful men in Judah did not agree with the godly advice Jehoiada had consistently given to their young king. They were resentful of the high priest’s influence in his life. So, when Jehoiada died, they seized the opportunity to persuade Joash to change his priorities—and the course of the kingdom he ruled. By flattering the young king with words and honoring him with gifts, they convinced him to abandon God and the Temple he had worked so hard to restore. He began to worship idols! Tragically, during the last years of his reign, Joash led the people of Judah away from God. God was angry! He sent prophets to warn the people to turn back to Him. But they would not listen. One of the prophets was Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada (the priest who had raised Joash—see #158 - June 7). Zechariah had followed in his father’s footsteps and was now a priest as well as a prophet. He stood before the people and warned, “If you disobey God’s commandments, you will not prosper. You will not enjoy any of the blessings that He promised us. If you leave God, He will leave you!” But the people rejected Zechariah’s message. The leaders realized that in order to silence the prophet they would have to kill him. They convinced Joash to sign an edict demanding that Zechariah be put to death. This was shocking since Zechariah’s father had raised Joash and mentored him his entire life. Unfortunately, Joash was easily swayed by the new leaders. He seemed to forget the kindness that Zechariah’s family had shown to him. As Zechariah was stoned to death in the courtyard of God’s Temple, the prophet’s last words were, “May God see this and hold you accountable!” And God did! It wasn’t long before God allowed a small army from Syria (also called Aram) to invade Judah and Jerusalem. Even though Judah’s army was far superior, the Syrians were able to kill all the new leaders who had forced their way into power when Jehoiada had died. Joash made a deal with King Hazael of Syria. He promised to hand over all the Israelites’ sacred objects along with the gold that was in the Temple and the money that was in the royal treasuries if the Syrians would withdraw their troops. The Syrian commanders gladly accepted the plunder and took it to their king in Damascus. King Joash, who had been severely wounded during the Syrian attack, returned to the palace to recuperate. Some of the older officials who had been outraged when he had signed the edict to kill Zechariah saw this as an opportunity for revenge. They snuck into the palace and killed the king while he was confined to his bed. Joash had reigned in Judah for 40 years, but His body was not buried in the tombs of the kings because of what he had done to Jehoiada’s son.
Joash never really had a personal relationship with God. He obeyed God for most of his life because Jehoiada expected him to. But when Jehoiada died, he was easily swayed and quickly abandoned the faith he had been raised in. Is your faith your own, or are you just borrowing it from someone else? God doesn’t have any grandchildren! He only has sons and daughters. We each need to get to know Him personally!