Thursday, September 17, 2015
Jehosheba - conclusion
This week we have studied part of the story of Jehosheba; it's really the beginning of the story of Joash, a king of Judah. Are you wondering what happened after the six years that they kept the boy king hidden away in the temple? (If you have read our passage, II Kings 11, in yesterday's study, then you already know!)
Jehosheba's husband, Jehoiada, was the high priest, and he called together the commanders of the different guards and military units. He showed them Joash, and explained that he was the rightful heir to the throne. Then he gave them instructions for the Sabbath: some were to guard the palace entrance; some were to guard a city gate, and some were to keep watch at the temple's rear gate. The rest were to be inside the temple, situated around Joash and Jehoiada.
Jehoiada planned to crown Joash king, and he knew that Athaliah would hear of it, and come running! So he instructed the soldiers to kill anyone who came too close to the boy. He gave them the shields and swords that King David had made many years earlier. (You knew then that there was something special happening, right?) Once the soldiers were in place, Jehoiada, clad in his finest robes, presented Joash to the people; he gave him a copy of the covenant of God, and then placed the crown on his head.
The people laughed, and clapped, and shouted for joy. When he was anointed, they cried out "Long live the king!"
Cue the ominous music here. Athaliah heard all the commotion, and when she realized what was happening, she ran to the temple. She saw Joash, the new king, standing by the pillar, and she heard the people shouting and blowing trumpets and celebrating. She tore her outer clothes and shouted, "Treason, treason!" Jehoiada told the soldiers not to harm her within the temple walls . . . I imagine that when she saw the soldiers advancing to capture her, she ran. The Bible tells us that they executed her outside the temple.
Jehoiada took this opportunity to chide the people for wandering so far from God, and he instructed them on how to be the Lord's people. He made covenants between the king and the people and the Lord.
The people were so ready to make things right that they went straight to the grove and altars of Baal and tore them down. After they had destroyed all of them, they killed the priest of Baal, too.
Our passage notes that Judah was peaceful for a while after that. Joash began his reign, advised by Jehoiada, and the people were content.
Some people think that the Old Testament is not relevant for today. Some are put off by the bloody killings and the sacrifices. It does seem that much of the history of the people of Israel is written in blood; but there is much for us to learn here.
Is there anything familiar in the story of Athaliah trying her best to wipe out an entire family, and put an end to God's plan for redemption? Does it sound familiar when we read about the priests of Baal leading others to worship idols instead of the true God?
The negative forces in today's culture make us wonder where we are headed as a people, and as a world. We can count on our fingers the leaders who show integrity and morality. Dishonesty is overlooked in the workplace, and in the political arena. We may look around us and think that kindness is truly the exception, and not the rule.
But this is not a battle that God will lose. He will prevail. He will triumph in the end!
Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the Lord's purpose
that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal
procession in Christ. (II Corinthians 2:14)
What specifically can we learn from courageous Jehosheba?
But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of
Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who
were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bed-
room. Because Jehosheba . . . hid the child from Athaliah so she
could not kill him. (II Chronicles 22:11)
Imagine what it must have been like for Jehosheba . . . for six years she defied a powerful and ruthless queen. Did she pray each day for God to remain faithful; did she remind herself that God always does what He says He will? We can see that she did not allow difficult circumstances to weaken her faith. She had courage to act on behalf of an innocent boy.
Let's ask God to speak to us through the story of Jehosheba. Ask Him to give us grace to be like her; ask for courage to cherish, protect, and nurture life, and those who need our intervention.
Let's allow her story to encourage us to do what's right -- no matter what risks are involved.