2 Kings 12
-Joash (or Jehoash), king of Judah, is the focus of this paradoxical chapter in the history of the kingdom of David’s sons. It seems at the beginning that Joash is centered in the LORD and he does what is right in the sight of the LORD. He is instructed and receives wisdom from Jehoida, all the days of the great priest’s life, which ended up being 130 years (2 Chronicles 24:15). Repairs to the Temple were amply provided and wise counsel seemed to win the day during this forty year reign of Joash as long as Jehoida was around as a representative of God. There was trustworthiness and people dealt faithfully with one another (2 Kings 12:15). It was a time of renewal and restoration in the land and prosperity was occurring.
-However, and we get a more complete picture of these events in 2 Chronicles 24:17-26, the tide turned in the life of Joash after the death of Jehoida, who “had done well in Israel and to God and to His house.” The officials of Judah came now and bowed down to the king and began to listen to what became his unwise counsel. “They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their guilt.” God sent them prophets to bring them back to the LORD, but they refused and even killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoida, in the court of the Temple by stoning him to death. As Zechariah died he asserted, “May the LORD see and avenge!” This happened as Hazael, king of Aram, came up against Jerusalem after capturing Gath (A Philistine city to the south and west of Jerusalem). They demanded tribute, and Joash was forced to pay out all the sacred things that his predecessors Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah had dedicated, all the gold that was found among the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house. This appeased the Syrians (Arameans) and they left, but the kingdom was now in distress. Joash’s servants, Jozacar and Jehozabad, ended up striking down the king at the house of Millo as he was going down to Silla. Thus ended the life prematurely of Joash, king of Judah, at the young age of 47, and he was buried in the city of David (Jerusalem), though not in the tombs of the kings because of the blood of the son of Jehoida the priest (Zechariah) and his wayward ending.
-*Application* Joash’ example to us reminds us to finish strong in the LORD. He had proper instruction and knew the right way to go, yet opted for idolatry and distress in his later years of leadership. We know it all starts with the heart. Sometimes people can fool us when they are under good authority, but then, when they gain power, they reveal their corruption and evil intent over the long-run. This seems to be what happened in the reign of Joash. He grew up in privilege and times of prosperity, but it seemed to ruin him in the end. It is all about the finish. It is not about how or where you start that ends up really mattering. Resolve to finish your race and complete your course faithful and strong in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24, 2 Timothy 4:7, Hebrews 12:1-2).
Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 12:2