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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for July 4, 2 Kings 12-14

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oday's readings are 2 Kings 12-13, 2 Chron 24. Tomorrow's are 2 Kings 14, 2 Chron 25. 

2 Kings 2 calls King Joash, "Jehoash" for reasons unexplained. He's a good king even though he fails to remove the "high places". These are sites of pagan and idol worship and some of Joash's people still participate in them. As good a king as Joash is, this oversight will have consequences further down the road. 

Note that in 2 Kings 12:2, Joash seems to rule well becasue of the influence of the priest Jehoiada. 

Joash enacts reforms that include rebuilding the temple. But as he grows older, he begins to make questionable decisions. In 2 Kings 12:17-18, afraid of being invaded, he gives sacred gifts in the temple to the king of Syria, Hazael.

Joash loses his throne and his life in a coup, the same manner in which he gained the throne.

Meanwhile, 2 Kings 13 tells us that Jehoahaz becomes king of Israel. Syria oppresses Israel. Wisely, Jehoahaz turns to God for help. God sends a savior to deliver Israel from Syria. 

We see another pattern here. When God's people cry out to Him in repentance, He saves. For Israel, it is an immediate delivery from their situation.  The rescue is temporary fro Jehoahaz, however, because his heart is not totally sincere. This is evidenced by the fact that he continues to sin and the people of Israel continue to worship idols. Jehoash takes over after Jehoahaz. He is another bad king. 

In 2 Kings 13:14-25, Elisha prophesies one more time before he dies. Events happen exactly the way Elisha says they would. This is evidence that God is still moving among His people, still in sovereign control of all that happens, still refining His people.

2 Chron 24 gives us some background information on Joash. We find that his slide backward starts when Jehoiada, the priest and his mentor, dies. Judah ends up "abandoning the house of the Lord" (2 Chron 24:18). 

God sends a prophet, Jehoiada's son, to draw Joash back in line. Joash kills him. Syria invades and Judah's army is defeated because they had forsaken the Lord (2 Chron 24:23-24). Joash, a good king gone bad, is assassinated by his servants.  

Joash's story shows us that our faith must be our own. While it is good to have mentors, they should never be the focus of our faith nor the source of the strength of our convictions. A mentor should point us toward the Lord, not his own teaching. Apparently something similar happened to Joash. Apparently Joash's faith had more to do with his relationship with Jehoiada  than it did with his relationship to God. As soon as Jehoiada departed, Joash fell to pieces. Our spiritual welfare should never be dependent on another person, but on our intimacy with the Father.

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