Entry Eighty-Seven: Joash, Joel, & Jeroboam II

Submitted by johnlo on Sun, 2008-06-15 07:37

ENTRY EIGHTY-SEVEN – JUNE 13, 2008

 

87-THE DIVIDED KINGDOM - PART VII (aka "The Era of Joash, the Prophecy of Joel, and the Reign of Jeroboam II") - II Kings 10-14; II Chronicles 22-25; Joel

 

If you think the last entry read like a bad B-grade movie, this one sounds like a soap opera from hell! We’ll cover topics such as UNSUNG HEROES, BARELY MAKING IT TO HEAVEN, GETTING OUR ZEAL BACK, and GODLY LEADERSHIP. (four days of reading - by the way...sorry this was two days late...i am in Jakarta and had trouble getting to an internet hookup...)

 

  • Please note that since I am following F. LaGard Smith's order, I will be jumping back and forth between the Kings and Chronicles texts frequently and I normally won't refer to the specific passage unless it affects the meaning.

 

  • Due to the fact that all of Ahaziah’s princes were killed except for one, the wicked Athaliah, (widow of Jehoram, mother of Ahaziah, and daughter of Jezebel), killed everyone else in line for the throne, including her own children, and installed herself as the queen mother! God kept his promise to David and didn’t let the line die out completely – one of Jehoram’s daughters (probably from a different mother!) kept Amaziah’s infant son, Joash, alive and hid him in the temple. Joash’s loving auntie was named Jehosheba, and she is a hero to all of us who struggle to do what is right in difficult circumstances! What a great example of risking your life for God and his kingdom! Wow! She had married a good man, for one thing – Jehoiada, who was a priest, and she preserved the line of David (and Jesus) with her selfless act. She kept him hidden for six years, which shows it wasn’t just a one-time act, but an unselfish life. Amen for unsung heroes!!  (If you are looking for an inspiring character to name you daughter after, Sheba wouldn’t be a bad choice, although Jehosheba might get some odd looks!)

 

  • Jehu used deceit to trick the priests of Baal in order to kill them all. I am not sure that God asked him to do that. I know that God wanted him to get rid of idolatry, but there were surely other ways to do it. This is an example of having the attitude of “the ends justify the means”, which is not godly. We must ensure that we don’t do “godly acts” without regard for godliness itself, amen??!! Having said that, God was apparently very happy that Jehu wiped out the worship of Baal, and he promised Jehu that he would have someone on the throne of Israel up to at least the 4th generation. I think that means that Jehu had a longer succession than any other king of Israel. If I find out I am wrong about that, I will correct myself later <smile>.

 

  • Sadly, Jehu wasn’t able to rise above the original sin of Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom, who installed the worship of the golden calves. This is an example of someone who changed, but didn’t change enough to cause a restoration on the scale of Jehoshaphat or Josiah (but his name did start with “J”!). <smile>
  • Sometime in our Christianity, we change a lot, but not enough to help others cause we still have so many obvious weaknesses. We may make it to heaven ourselves, though only as one escaping through the flames (I Corinthians 3:15).

 

  • Meanwhile, in the southern kingdom (Judah), the good priest, Jehoiada, was moving into action. He got the military leaders on his side, then anointed the young boy as king! Joash was only seven years old, but when he was crowned, all shouted, “Long live the king!” Athaliah, his evil grandmother, shouted, “Treason!” as if she were innocent! She died an ignominious death, exactly like her mother, Jezebel. Talk about bad genes! So, Jehoiada had chosen a good wife, while Jehoram had not. Better be careful to marry a spiritual person and watch your motives – we are all susceptible!!

 

  • With Jehoiada the priest in charge of Judah while Joash was still young, and Jehu in charge of Israel, the worship of Baal was wiped out, at least temporarily, in the two nations. The people of Judah made a covenant to be the Lord’s people once again. The Law was followed and there was rejoicing among the priests and Levites. However, the people were quiet because the queen had been slain. As for the answer to the question, “Does mentoring make a difference for the better?”, this part of the story ends with the statement, “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”

 

  • According to Dr Smith, a locust invasion took place in Judah during the early years of Joash’s reign. He puts the book of Joel into this time period. Joel urges the people to fast and pray before another invasion comes, this time not from insects but from invaders.
  • The second part of chapter one is a true call to repentance, and the second part of chapter two is a call for rededication. “Rend your heart and not your garments” has always been a poetic line that I remembered. In those days they would tear their clothes when they wanted to show mourning or that they were sorry. Joel was telling the people to stop with the dramatics and just rip their hearts (rather than their clothes), which is good advice for us as well. Joel was appealing to the people to repent since God is a compassionate God who might stay the judgment to come. We will reap what we sow, and if we don’t repent, there will be consequences.

 

  • God then promised blessings in chapter two, as well as the spirit, which would eventually be poured out when the Messiah would come. In chapter three he promised punishment of the enemies, and then my favourite part – from 3:9 is the section to “Rouse the Warriors”. This passage was preached back Douglas Arthur in 1984 to inspire people to go to London for the HOPE campaign, or perhaps it was preached the next year to inspire people to go into the ministry. Whatever the topic, it inspired me to do both, and it was one of the lessons that helped me make my decision early on to go to Asia. I especially love the way it reverses the better-known passage from Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 about beating your swords into ploughshares; this one says, “Beat your ploughshares into swords!” This is really the need of the hour now that we have been through our “reorganization”. We have rejected the things we should reject, and we should all strive to have Jesus’s heart of zeal for one another and those who do not yet know God.

 

  • Joel ends with the classic, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!” and “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill.”
  • What an encouraging book, IF WE ARE INCLINED TO REPENT!!

 

  • Back to the historical narrative – Joash took two wives, had kids, and repaired the temple in Judah, and Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel. The account of repairing the temple was inspiring in that the workers were so honest that no one had to check up on them. As long as Jehoiada lived, the priests were honest and the burnt offerings continued daily. Unfortunately for Judah, when this hero died, Joash turned pagan and even had Jehoiada’s son killed when he prophesied against the king’s sin – WOW, what betrayal; what ingratitude! The son cried out as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.” So sad! But isn’t it true that so often we are like sheep without a shepherd (Math 9:36f).  When the leader is good, the sheep follow God, but when the leader is bad, the sheep are lost. This is the way of the world. And all the more reason to make sure that leaders are godly!!
  • Because of Joash’ unrighteousness, the Lord delivered them into the hands of their enemies, the Arameans. The fighting only ended when Judah paid off the King of Aram!

 

  • Jehoash replaced his father, Jehoahaz, as king of Israel, and went to see Elisha on the prophet’s deathbed, and prophesied that Israel would eventually defeat Aram in battle. After that, the great prophet finally passed away. But in Judah, the evil king Joash was assassinated - his officials conspired against him for killing the priest, and he wasn’t allowed to be buried in the tomb of the kings! As the wise Willetta said in book/movie, THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YAYA SISTERHOOD, “Sooner or later, everybody’s bill comes due.” Amen.

 

  • Amaziah, his son, became king when he was 25 years old. He was a better king than his dad, although not completely righteous, the way David had been. He wanted to fight against Edom, and he hired mercenaries to help. God stopped him, however, and told Amaziah that HE was enough and to send back the mercenaries. Amaziah had a logical concern: he had already PAID for the mercenaries!! Almost four tons of silver! So he asked the prophet, “But what about the hundred talents of silver I paid for these Israelite troops?  God’s answer was beautiful – “The Lord can give you much more than that!”  And Amaziah’s men won the battle, with God!

 

  • What about us? In the area of faith, do we ask God to help us, only to call in mercenaries in case God isn’t strong enough? What about the way we view possessions, or money in general? If Jesus would tell us to gouge out our eye if it causes us to sin, surely he would say at least that for a THING or a job or a dream that is causing us to sin?

 

  • Amaziah’s decision was not without consequences – the mercenaries rioted and wreaked havoc on their way home. When we make decisions for God and do things his way, we may not be the most popular person with our associates. However, we are aiming for popularity with God, amen??!!

 

  • Once again, we see an example of a good king gone bad. Amaziah started out well, but then fell into idolatry after the battle and brought home the fallen gods of Edom to worship in Judah! How stupid!! And God asked him, “How will those gods protect you when they couldn’t even protect the Edomites?” Duh!! So God caused Israel to defeat Amaziah and the men from Judah. He hadn’t learned the lesson above, about reaping what we sow.

 

  • The last event of this entry is that Jehoash died and his son, Jereoboam II, succeeded. Now we could have told him that you don’t name your son after the king that sent the country spiraling into idolatry, but somehow I don’t think he would have listened. (Next entry on the 17th)

 

karenlouis@seachurches.org