This Week's Article
Joash: Value of a Strong Mentor
“Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest... But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and he died. He was one hundred and thirty years old at his death...” (2 Chronicles 24:1-2, 15).
I love to watch the grand slam tennis tournaments: Australian, French, U.S., and English (Wimbledon). Watching a match at Roland Garros the other day, the experienced commentators stressed over and over that to be a top seed at the top of the draw, you need to follow the rules, train with total determination, commit to a great work ethic, and have “a good role model.” King Joash of Judah had a wonderful role model and mentor.
God had designed in Judah a way of life for His people in a healthy relationship between the priests leading the religious life of the nation and the kings managing and protecting the kingdom. But Judah went into sin. King Ahab and his evil wife, Jezebel, had expanded the worship of Baal in Israel. King Jehoram of Judah took their equally evil daughter, Athaliah, to be his wife. When Jehoram died, his son, Ahaziah became king but he ruled only a year before being killed in battle by Jehu. At his death, the ambi-tious Athaliah assumed the rulership of the country. She killed off all the royal family, including her own grandchildren, to secure the throne for herself. But one baby boy, Joash, a son of Ahaziah, was saved by his aunt, Jehosheba, the wife of high priest, Jehoiada.
Would God keep His Davidic leader on the throne? . Athaliah when she came to power after her son Ahaziah’s death, used her position to desecrate the Lord’s house and to destroy any possible future king of David’s line. Here was a grandmother taking her own grandsons’ lives. The worship of Baal involved human sacrifice. Athaliah had to have become calloused beyond all imagination and natural feeling and affections, even for her own grandsons.
But God’s promises and plans cannot be defeated. A good priest, Jehoiada, had married a good wife Jehoshabeath, who was the daughter of King Jehoram. She saw what was happening and quickly took a son of her brother and fled to the temple to preserve the Davidic line. That little boy one year old was Joash. For the next six years, during Athaliah’s reign of terror, she and her husband Jehoiada hid and protected him from the wicked Athaliah in the house of the Lord.
When time was right, Jehoiada courageously brought Joash before the people for his coronation. It is a marvelous story of bravery and wisdom, of how Jehoiada set the whole thing up by establishing covenants with the leaders, securing the safety of little Joash, and doing all in his power to make sure that the evil rule of Athaliah would end. This was a coup.
When Athaliah heard the noise of the people praising the king, she went into the temple and the boy king was standing by his pillar at the entrance with the captains and the trumpeters and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, Athaliah cried ‘Treason! Treason!'” She was quickly removed from the temple and killed by Jehoiada. “So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword (2 Chron. 23:21).
Joash ruled well as long as Jehoiada was alive. But when his faithful advisor and mentor died, he listened to evil voices, turned from doing good, and served idols. Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest. He prophesied but they refused to listen. With Joash’s approval, they stoned the son of his faithful mentor. At the end of the year, the army of the Syrians came up against Joash and he was wounded in battle. “Thus they executed judgment on Joash.” When they had departed from him, leaving him severely wounded, his servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed. What then should we take away from the story of Joash:
Number one. Find a trustworthy mentor and be grateful for the blessing of that relationship God has given you. It is not a mark of weakness and subjection, but of wisdom and discretion, to have mentors (parents, older friends, and others) counseling, guiding, correcting, helping, loving you.
Number two, the story of Joash reveals a man who never internalized his faith and made it his own. When the Lord removes our mentor (friend or other significant person), the scaffolding around us falls and our faith can collapse. Joash shows us there comes a time in our lives when we must personally own our faith.
Number three. When you are free from your parents’ or mentors’ influence, realize that’s when we are most vulnerable to listen to the world, and the world’s message. Do not listen to the world in times of personal indepen-dence, prosperity and security. The best life of blessing and happiness is found in faithfulness to God.