The good priest Jehoiada who had kept Joash safe and brought him up in the teachings of the Lord has died and all those with another agenda have swarmed in to influence Joash. Hook, line and sinker, Joash buys their sinful plan, agreeing with these sorry advisors, “to abandon the Temple of the Lord” and choosing to worship “Asherah poles and idols instead!” (from II Chronicles 24:18a, NLT).
“Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to Him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen” (II Chronicles 24:18b-19).
“Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, ‘This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now He has abandoned you!’” (II Chronicles 24:20).
Zechariah (not the one for whom the Old Testament book is named) faithfully delivered God’s two-pronged warning: you cannot ignore God and prosper; and He’s been patient with you people long enough. Their reaction? “Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah” (II Chronicles 24:21a).
Instead of falling on their faces in repentance, these evil and influential men “plotted to kill Zechariah.” Knowing this was one of the sons of Jehoiada who, alongside their father, helped to bring up the king, how did Joash react?
“King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple. That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty – by killing his son” (II Chronicles 24:21b-22a.
“Zechariah’s last words as he died were, ‘May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!’” (II Chronicles 24:22b).
“In the spring of the year the Aramean army marched against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the nation. Then they sent all the plunder back to their king in Damascus. Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lord helped them conquer the much larger army of Judah. The people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so judgment was carried out against Joash” (II Chronicles 24:23-24).
“The Lord helped them conquer… Judah.” God used the Arameans as His instrument to inflict punishment on the unfaithful people of Judah. Joash would certainly be among the casualties, but not by the hands of the Arameans.
“The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed. Then he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery. His son Amaziah became the next king” (II Chronicles 24:25-26, 27b).
Over and over we see people of the Bible reaping what they’ve sown. Joash, who started out as a good king, turned from God and even murdered the son of the very man who had protected him when he was an orphaned infant. Joash’s life which had started out in honor ended in disgrace, with his body not even being buried in the royal cemetery. We’ll see how his son Amaziah fares next.
We need not think the United States or any other country can turn away from God without horrible consequences. “Anyone who isn’t with Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn’t working with Me is actually working against Me” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 12:30).