Today Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and the mother of Ahaziah who was murdered by Jehu, tries to eliminate the house of David in retaliation for Jehu’s destruction of the house of Ahab. However, the Lord is not going to let someone wipe out the heirs of David because He is working His plan of sending the Messiah through David’s bloodline. So as Athaliah is killing all the royal heirs, Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, steals away her nephew Joash. Jehosheba and her husband, Jehoiada the priest, hide Joash for six years; and when Joash is seven years old, his uncle organizes a revolt.
Jehoiada takes Joash to the temple and declares him the new king of Judah – “And he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony; they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!’” Afterwards, Jehoiada has the wicked Athaliah killed, and he leads Judah in a religious reform – “Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people, and also between the king and the people.”
Jehoiada rids the land of the worship of Baal. “Also Jehoiada appointed the oversight of the house of the Lord to the hand of the priests, the Levites, whom David had assigned in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was established by David.” When Joash is older, he collects funds to repair the temple of the Lord. Joash walks in obedience to the Lord all the days that the priest Jehoiada is alive, but when Jehoiada dies, Joash begins listening to the wrong voices. He listens to the advice from the wicked leaders of Judah who all have their own agendas, separate from the Lord, which leads Joash away from God and leads Judah back into idolatry – “Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord, and they testified against them, but they would not listen.”
Then Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, pronounces judgment on the people for turning from the Lord. “So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him but killed his son; and as he died, he said, ‘The Lord look on it, and repay!’” The Lord is looking upon it and He will repay just as He promised His children in the wilderness – “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
The Lord sees all the evil and injustice in the world, and He will serve justice in His own way and in His own timing. When Jesus arrives on the scene and He is standing before the unbelieving religious leaders, He will say to them – “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary” (Luke 11:47-51).
God has seen the injustice that has occurred since the beginning of time in the Creation Era when wicked Cain killed his righteous brother Abel. He has seen all the injustice in the Old Testament, all the way to the murder of Zechariah, the last martyr mentioned in chronology of the Hebrew Bible, just as He sees the injustice in the world today. And as much as the Lord desires for people to repent and to turn to him so that He may show them mercy, His mercy demands justice. Therefore, we can trust that the day is coming when He will make all things right, in His way and in His timing. Jesus will return one day and destroy all sin, suffering, and death, but the righteous will be saved. So we can live in this fallen world with hopeful anticipation of the day when final justice will be served. However, this should also compel Christians to be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth by showing compassion and love toward others, and by sharing the Gospel with them while there is still time for repentance – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
We end the reading with the Lord beginning to cut off Israel by the hand of Hazael, the new king of Syria, due to their rebellion against Him. Tomorrow Hazael attacks both Israel and Judah, and we hear Elisha’s final prophecy. Keep reading. (2 Kings 11:1-3, 2 Chronicles 22:10–12, 2 Kings 11:4-12, 2 Chronicles 23:1-11, 2 Kings 11:13-16, 2 Chronicles 23:12-15, 2 Kings 11:17-21, 2 Chronicles 23:16-21, 2 Kings 12:1-16, 2 Chronicles 24:1-22, 2 Kings 10:32-36)