Athaliah's ambition becomes reality when her son Ahaziah dies. She kills all the male heirs to the kingdom (so she thinks), seizes the throne of Judah, and reigns for six years. Idolatry thrives under her leadership. In the meantime, a priest named Jehoiada waits in the wings of time-for seven years.
God's promise to David concerning a perpetual heir upon the throne requires His activity. The death of all of Ahaziah's heirs appears to annul His promise. A promise made by God, however, is always kept by God; God is working "behind the scenes" to fulfill His promise.
Ahaziah's sister rescues Ahaziah's infant boy and hides him away. When Joash, Ahaziah's sole surviving son, descendant of David, finally turns seven, Jehoiada "strengthened himself" (2 Chron. 23:1). He leads a coup. Athaliah's wicked reign ends with a whimper; the people shout, "Long live the king"! Athaliah pathetically attempts to call the coronation of David's heir treason, to no avail, and she dies. Jehoiada and the people destroy the temple of Baal and tear it down. Joash begins reigning as Judah's eighth monarch at seven years of age.
Joash follows the LORD all the days of Jehoiada. Under Jehoiada's leadership Joash repairs the temple. Sadly, after Jehoiada's death, Joash and Judah turn away from the LORD and worship Asherah poles.
Jehoiada's life would have slipped by unnoticed had he not protected Joash until the day that he would oversee Athaliah's overthrow. At this juncture he left a legacy, "Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest" (2 Chron. 24:2). Jehoiada became a man of influence for two reasons: he was patient, and he feared God.
This story reveals simple truths about God and His ways:
God works through ordinary but convictional people. Ahaziah's sister hides Joash, and Jehoiada waits until the boy turns seven years old before he acts.
God works when all the odds appear against Him. Athaliah thinks that she has wiped out David's descendants, but she learns that no one trumps God.
The enemy's goal is always to "steal, kill, and destroy," especially in relation to the line of the seed of the woman, but God is greater. His plan will not be thwarted; His promise will prevail.
Review 1 Kings 21:23-26. What does the fulfillment of this promise years later reveal about God?
How long does Joash serve the LORD? How does he repay Jehoiada for the good that he had done for the king and for Israel? Why does the king of Judah defer to the leaders of Judah? What does this reveal about human nature?
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