God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5 - 2 Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 24: Jehoiada Leads a Nation to God who Soon Forget that God

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 24

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Judah obeys God as long as their leader guides them in the truth.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Joash became king over Judah at seven years-old. Jehoiada trained him well.
Joash renovated the Temple.
After Jehoiada died at 130 years-old, Joash and Judah abandoned the Temple and stoned Jehoiada's son. God allowed a small band of Arameans defeat Joash's army.
Joash's servants assassinated him. Amaziah succeeded him.
In Israel, Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, reigned. He continued Jeroboam's sins. Hazael hurt them. Jehoahaz prayed for healing. However, Israel continued evil.
Jehoahaz's son Jehoash also did evil. However, Elisha prophesied from his death bed that God would help Jehoash defeat Aram three times.
God protected Israel because of the Promise.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Joash ruled well while Jehoiada the priest was there to guide him.

Joash became king at seven years-old. This is an extremely early age to become the leader of a nation, no matter the size. Jehoiada, the man responsible for Joash's ascension to the throne, trained him to worship and obey God. He was so loved by Judah that they buried him in the royal cemetery. When leaders surround themselves with godly advisors, God can set things right.

Joash did not keep Jehoiada's memory alive and left God soon after Jehoiada died.

This part of the history of Judah is heartbreaking. Jehoiada left a large imprint on the nation by bringing them back to God after several years of Baal worship. Unfortunately, his influence was quickly forgotten. Judah's leaders convinced Joash to return to worshiping Asherah, the goddess of sex and motherhood. Joash abandoned The Temple in Honor of God, what he had refurbished during Jehoiada's lifetime. Even great leaders cannot change a nation after they die. Although it may be depressing for a leader to know their legacy may not hold, it should be a greater warning for people to remember we must stay vigilant toward God. One generation can lead a nation down an irreversible path to leaving God.

God protected Israel because of the Promise, not their righteousness.

This is a humbling, troubling, and awe-inspiring thought. Israel, who for generations followed in Jeroboam's sin and worshiped gods other than the one who took them out of Egypt, was protected by God. The reason He protected them was a Promise He made hundreds of years ago to a man named Abraham. What a God! God will put up with generations of misbehavior because of a promise He made hundreds of years ago. I only wished Israel had understood how awesome their God was.
For us, yesterday we celebrated Independence Day. We honored our past, celebrated our nation's ancestors, and enjoyed a day of relaxation (at least many of us did). At the same time, there are a growing number of people questioning the legitimacy of our respect and honor paid to these (mostly) men. As I wrote earlier, we are not blessed by God because of our righteousness but because of our ancestor's righteousness. Even though we could delve into the minutiae of their actions and argue for hours on end whether they had a legitimate cause to rebel; whether the country they set up is a "Christian nation," a "nation of Christians," or a completely secular society; or if they lived up to their own standard, we cannot forget that our founding fathers came here to worship God in their own way. Just like God took non-perfect person in Abraham and called the nation of his children His Chosen People, our ancestors were blessed by God because of their faith, not their perfect obedience to a Law, and we continue to be blessed because of their willingness to obey Him. This does not mean we are now a Chosen Nation or we get a pass on our lives. What it does mean is that God's ability to forgive our faults is both humbling and awe-inspiring. Let's not become like Israel and let God's forgiveness lead us to complacency!

Who are the leaders who helped you become the person you are today?

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