TODAY’S READING: II CHRONICLES 22-26
OVERVIEW: The reign of Ahaziah; the usurping of the throne by Ahaziah’s grandmother, Athaliah; Jehoiada’s plot to put Joash on the throne; Joash becomes king and repairs the Temple; the death of Jehoiada and the demise of the nation of Judah; Amaziah reigns in Judah; the war against Edom; Israel defeats Judah; Uzziah reigns in Jerusalem; Uzziah stricken with leprosy.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Little did the good king Jehoshaphat realize how far reaching the effects of his unnecessary alliance with Ahab would go (II Chron. 18). As we move into the reign of Ahaziah in chapter 22, this is now the third generation that has been evilly affected by Jehoshaphat’s “unequal yoke with an unbeliever” (II Cor. 6:14). Ahaziah followed the counsel of his wicked mother, and the counselors from the house of Ahab (22:3-4), and verse 14 says, “Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab.” That’s quite a statement in light of the fact that I Kings 21:25 says, “There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”
When Ahaziah was killed in Samaria (22:9) after only one year on the throne (22:2), his godless, wicked mother, in great “Jezebellian” fashion, had every one of his sons and grandsons killed so she could rise to throne herself. (Though her own selfish pride motivated this unbelievably horrific act, don’t discount Satan’s unseen hand working tenaciously behind the scenes to cut off the Messianic line!) What Athaliah didn’t realize is that her sister, Jehoshabeath (Jehoiada, the high priest’s wife), took Joash, the one-year-old son of Ahaziah and hid him so he wouldn’t be killed. (Note that this is God’s unseen hand working tenaciously behind the scenes to fulfill His promise of Genesis 3:15, and the Davidic covenant (II Chron. 17:11; II Sam. 7:12).)
Jehoiada kept Joash hidden until he was old enough to be able to really comprehend all that had happened, at which time Jehoiada began to strategize Athaliah’s overthrow (23:1-3). All of the Levites and princes were designated their assignments (23:4-7), and on a particular Sabbath, Jehoiada’s plan unfolded to get Joash, the rightful heir, to his place on the throne. When grandma (Athaliah) heard all of the cheering and shouting in the temple, she ran in to investigate only to find her seven year old grandson, whom she presumed dead, crowned as the king of Judah (23:8-13). As any loving grandmother would do, she immediately screams out, “Treason! Treason!” (Be careful who you listen to! Many times those who scream the loudest are guilty of the very things they are so enraged by!) – See Rom. 2:1.
Through Jehoiada’s influence, a covenant was established between he, young Joash the king, and all the people that would submit themselves to the Lord (23:16).
To demonstrate their sincerity, the Temple of Baal was destroyed, and Mattan, the priest of Baal, was killed (22:17). Jehoiada also reestablished God’s design for worship in the Lord’s Temple.
Chapter 24 and verse 2 records that “Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Sadly, the rest of the verse says that it only lasted as long as Jehoiada was alive. Once the godly influence of Jehoiada was gone, Joash turned to idolaters for advice, to the demise of the kingdom (24:15-18). Though God sent prophets to warn him, rather than repent, he further rebelled (24:19). By the time it was all said and done, all of the great things that Joash had accomplished in the early days of his reign, he had allowed to be undone by his wickedness in the latter part of his reign. As we have seen time and time again in our 365 Days of Pursuit, there are many who START well, but few who FINISH well! May we all heed God’s warning to us through the Apostle John: “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” (II John 8).
After Joash was murdered by his servants (24:25-27), his son Amaziah became the king of Judah. Note what was said of him in 25:2: “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.” In other words, he did what he did for the Lord with an ulterior motive. In time, as it always does, that ulterior motive was revealed. In one instance, after defeating the armies of an idolatrous foe, he gathered up their idols and actually began worshipping them (24:11-14)! You gotta love God’s rebuke of him through His prophet, “Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?” (25:15)
One of the most successful kings in Judah’s history was Amaziah’s 16 year old son Uzziah (26:10). Like so many others, however, he started strong, but ended defeated. He sought the Lord (26:5) and remained dependent upon Him “till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” (26:15-16). Uzziah began to think so highly of himself (Rom. 12:3), he thought God wouldn’t mind if he performed a task only to be carried out by the priests. God did mind, however! God struck him with leprosy, and he lived the remaining years of his life an outcast from both his own palace, as well as the Lord’s (the Temple)! Don’t ever think more highly of yourself than you ought to think (Rom. 12:3), and don’t ever think that you are above the Word of God.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through AZARIAH THE HIGH PRIEST who stood between Uzziah and the altar, because the only way to approach the Lord God of Israel was through the priests – II Chron. 26:17-18 (Heb. 4:14 – Jesus, our great High Priest is the only way through which any person can come to God – John 14:6).