Jehu continues to rule in Israel while Athaliah, the mother of the former king Ahaziah (who was killed by Jehu), is ruling in Judah after killing off her own family members, including Ahaziah’s children – her grandchildren – to secure her seat of power. However, Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba managed to grab the infant Joash, Ahaziah’s son, before he was killed along with his siblings.
After being hidden in the Temple under the care of Jehosheba’s husband, the priest Jehoiada, and their sons until “the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign,” (II Chronicles 23:1a, NLT), at last “Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws. They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, ‘Long live the king!’” (II Chronicles 23:11).
Having stationed men loyal to the young Joash (of the lineage of David) everywhere, Jehoiada was ready for what he knew would come next. “When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and the shouts of praise to the king, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar at the Temple entrance. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Singers with musical instruments were leading the people in a great celebration. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, ‘Treason! Treason!’
Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, ‘Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.’ For the priest had said, ‘She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.’ So they seized her and led her out to the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and they killed her there.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.
Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed” (II Chronicles 23:12:12-21).
With Athaliah out of the way, the temple of Baal was destroyed and the Temple of the Lord was cleansed and put to use as the Lord intended. He put the priests and Levites back in their proper positions at the Temple and “commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord… and to sing and rejoice.” First and foremost, “Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people.”
A person can hit the church doors until they fall off the hinges; get his name on the church role; and carry the biggest Bible in the entire congregation; and not one or all of those things makes him one of “the Lord’s people.” Out of all the nations on earth, God chose the Israelites to be His; even so, it was up to each one of those Israelites to choose Him as Lord.
Do you know in the very depths of your being that you’ve chosen Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior? The proof is in the living. A new creation can no more live his old life than a butterfly can once again become a caterpillar.