Day 87—A Boy King—“God’s Long Faithfulness” 2 Kings 11:1-13:25
March 28, 2021, 6:11 AM

Day 87—A Boy King—“God’s Long Faithfulness” 2 Kings 11:1-13:25

“All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1: 8-9. The book of Ecclesiastes is believed to have been written by Solomon.

This is kind of how it feels to read the continued saga of the northern kingdom of Israel. Yet there are some interesting tidbits we might miss—the reign of Athaliah, the daughter of jezebel and Ahab, for seven years. This is the first queen we read about in our scriptures over the nations of God’s chosen people. But apparently genetics has played a part in the cruelty Athaliah is known for, and it results in the killing of the royal household—all the sons of Ahab of Ahab, some who are presumably her brothers, but all who would be considered relatives, are ordered to be killed, and we read about the massacre in yesterday’s readings.

And yet one son survives, a baby named Joash, or Jehoash. He is hidden for six years while Athaliah reigns, but at the age of seven he is brought out of hiding by the high priest Jehoida, and anointed as king. The description of his anointing as king is one of the most complete records that exists of the ancient ceremony, even though it occupies only one verse: the crown is placed, he is given the covenant (historians are not sure if this is a covenant with God or with the people; it is not made clear), he is proclaimed king, then he is anointed and all the people begin to cheer and clap, calling our “Long live the king!”

Now, awkwardly, this happens while Athaliah is still queen, so she must be killed before Joash can take the throne, and this takes place outside the temple after she realizes she has been usurped.

King Joash seems to have gotten a good start, watching over the finances, ensuring the repair of the temple, although it took him 23 years to discover the problem, and he didn’t ask very many questions when he confronted the priests, indicating a weakness in his character in my eyes. Nevertheless, he established what sounds like one of the first ancient piggy bank, although it would not have been a pig in any case, but it is described much like a modern-day alms box or chest. The money was then fairly distributed to workers who repaired the temple.

I was absolutely mystified by Joash’s emptying of all the votive gifts, all the gold and all the treasures of the kingdom of Israel in order to buy off King Hazael and to discourage him from attacking and attempting to overtake Jerusalem. Buying off a bully never works in the real world, but it seems to have kept Hazael at bay.

But Joash’s weakness is seen again as he pays homage to Elisha at Elisha’s deathbed. Elisha is angry that Joash doesn’t strike the ground with his arrows enough times to foretell multiple victories over Aram, kind of like Moses speaking to the rock rather than striking it.

As we continue our trip through the kings and kingdoms of ancient Judah and Israel, it is worth reading the contemplation today and remembering this line from A.W. Tozer: “God’s compassion comes out of his goodness, and goodness without justice is not goodness.” He continues “Mercy does not become effective toward a man until justice has done its work,” which means that there is no magic wand of redemption, and that there is a always a price for a wrongdoing, especially in the case of leaders. Remember David had to repent of his sin with Bathsheba and even then there were consequences. Sin always has consequences, but repentance and redemption remain a sign of hearts connected to God.

During this Holy Week, we have a few final days to examine our own hearts, to repent, or turn away, from any actions that bring ‘death’ to others, to bring our repentance before God and to acknowledge that the sacrifice of Jesus allows us to cast off those actions, thoughts or other things that make us veer off the path of God’s love. This week walk the path of love. Pay attention to the price of love. Choose the way of love. These ancient kings did not have an example of pure love in Jesus, but we do.

Be blessed, and be a blessing to others,

ML

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