2 Kings 12:2-3 “Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.“
In the days of prophets and kings there arose in Israel a man named Jehoash, he was the 8th king of Judah and reigned from 837-800 BCE. He was the sole surviving son after his grandmother Athaliah ordered the massacre of his royal family. After his father Ahaziah died, his aunt Jehosheba, the wife of the temple priest Jehoiada hid him in the Temple for 7 years. Jehoash began his reign as king of Judah after Athaliah died in a coup.
The Tyrian cult of Baal worship had been introduced into the land by Jehoram and Athaliah only strengthened that practice. Under the guidance of the priest Jehoiada, Jehoash suppressed the worship of Baal, he had the Baal high priest Mattan killed, and the process for restoring the Temple in Jerusalem finally occurred which elevated it into national importance.
After Jehoiada died, Jehoash began taking instruction from the princes of Judah rather than the priests. This led Jehoash to turn from honoring Yahweh to once again honoring the idolatrous worship of the asherim. Eventually King Hazael of Syria marched on Jerusalem and Jehoash in fear surrendered all the gold of the royal and sacred treasuries. The son of Jehoiada, the prophet Zechariah, had brought judgement against Jehoash for turning so quickly from the instructions of the priest and so Jehoash had him stoned to death. Eventually Jehoash was assassinated at the age of 47 and was succeeded by his son Amaziah to the throne of Judah. In 2001 a recovered tablet which was described as the instructions for repairing Solomon’s temple during the time of Jehoash was controversially published and many experts still believe it to be authentic today.
2 Chronicles 24:20 “Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood up before the people and said to them, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has forsaken you.’ ”
What was it about Jehoash that led him to rise so quickly and then fall with such disgrace?
The pattern we witness in Jehoash is not so different than what we see in some people today. Under the right supervision and instruction, Jehoash thrived, God blessed the land and the people benefitted from the righteousness of the king. During the time of “doing right before the Lord”, Jehoash allowed certain aspects of darkness to remain.
What may have seemed small to him at the time became prominent when opportunity arose.
The Flaw of incomplete Righteousness
The obvious was destroyed, Baal worship was a scourge upon the people but the idolatrous high places remained. They were probably not of such great concern, located at the top of the mountains they seemed far away and obscure. Why bother with something that didn’t seem quite so threatening? The hindsight we now have is what Jehoash needed then… the princes of the land were still worshipping at these high places and the corruption of idolatry remained in the background of what appeared as an awakening toward honoring the Lord.
When Jehoiada died a vacuum for wise instruction formed in Jehoash’s life, the remnant of idolatry rose up to the surface and corruption quickly set back in.
Luke 11:49-51 “Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.“
Jesus remembered the treachery of Jehoash. He was watching as His anointed prophet Zechariah was murdered as well as every other prophet who brought the Word of the Lord to the people.
How did Jehorash go from “doing what was right in the sight of the Lord”, to the King of Kings bringing condemnation upon him?
<<< His righteousness was incomplete. >>>
How many times do people recognize some aspect of their lives that needs correction and begin to be obedient but can’t move forward from all that brings shame in their lives? Sometimes it’s fear that keeps us from committing completely.
- Fear of rejection by others.
- Fear of a tarnished reputation.
- Fear of losing what we have.
There are so many reasons and yet those parts that we refuse to give up become sources of corruption as we strive to move forward.
Luke 11:34-35 “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.”
Each part of our body has a different function and yet serves the greater whole. If one part suffers, the whole body suffers. So it is in our spiritual walk, if one part of our walk is wicked and others are good, the path we walk is not on solid ground. We may focus our attention on that which is good but it is the part we have not been obedient in that continues to draw us further away from God and further into isolation. The further we fall away from God’s leading, the more our decisions become based off of our current reality. The wisdom of the world takes over and all the fear and anxiety with it.
The only way to grow strong is to subject our lives to God’s scrutiny. By allowing the Holy Spirit to not only convict but direct us back toward righteousness, what we find waiting is a gracious and loving Lord.
It’s never too late to change course, humility and a contrite spirit is key. Trust in God’s Holiness and leading, knowing that it brings good in your life and you’ll find the freedom you’ve been looking for.