Today’s lesson from 2 Chronicles is a basic warning to us… Mix with the wrong people at your own peril! We’ll meet some bad kings, bad mothers with bad blood, who were evil to the core. They lacked a true and honest relationship with God. Let’s dig in…
2 Chronicles 21 – Jehoram Rules in Judah
When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.
2 Jehoram’s brothers—the other sons of Jehoshaphat—were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 3 Their father had given each of them valuable gifts of silver, gold, and costly items, and also some of Judah’s fortified towns. However, he designated Jehoram as the next king because he was the oldest. 4 But when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah.
5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 7 But the Lord did not want to destroy David’s dynasty, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever.
8 During Jehoram’s reign, the Edomites revolted against Judah and crowned their own king. 9 So Jehoram went out with his full army and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he went out at night and attacked them under cover of darkness. 10 Even so, Edom has been independent from Judah to this day. The town of Libnah also revolted about that same time. All this happened because Jehoram had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had built pagan shrines in the hill country of Judah and had led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to give themselves to pagan gods and to go astray.
12 Then Elijah the prophet wrote Jehoram this letter:
“This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. 13 Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will suffer with a severe intestinal disease that will get worse each day until your bowels come out.”
16 Then the Lord stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians, to attack Jehoram. 17 They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including the king’s sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared.
18 After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with an incurable intestinal disease. 19 The disease grew worse and worse, and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great funeral fire to honor him as they had done for his ancestors.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.2 Chronicles 21 NLT
2 Chronicles 22 – Ahaziah Rules in Judah
Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.
2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.
5 Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined Joram, the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded Joram in the battle, 6 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.
7 But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu grandson of Nimshi, whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.
8 While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. 9 Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.” But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.
Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah
10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family. 11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.2 Chronicles 22 NLT
2 Chronicles 23 – Revolt against Athaliah
In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He summoned his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri. 2 These men traveled secretly throughout Judah and summoned the Levites and clan leaders in all the towns to come to Jerusalem. 3 They all gathered at the Temple of God, where they made a solemn pact with Joash, the young king.
Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the king’s son! The time has come for him to reign! The Lord has promised that a descendant of David will be our king. 4 This is what you must do. When you priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, a third of you will serve as gatekeepers. 5 Another third will go over to the royal palace, and the final third will be at the Foundation Gate. Everyone else should stay in the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 Remember, only the priests and Levites on duty may enter the Temple of the Lord, for they are set apart as holy. The rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7 You Levites, form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to enter the Temple. Stay with the king wherever he goes.”
8 So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended. 9 Then Jehoiada supplied the commanders with the spears and the large and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of God. 10 He stationed all the people around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar.
11 Then Jehoiada and his sons brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws. They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”
The Death of Athaliah
12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and the shouts of praise to the king, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. 13 When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar at the Temple entrance. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Singers with musical instruments were leading the people in a great celebration. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
14 Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.” 15 So they seized her and led her out to the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and they killed her there.
Jehoiada’s Religious Reforms
16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. 17 And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
18 Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed. 19 He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.
20 Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. 21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed.2 Chronicles 23 NLT
An Ancient Soap Opera
Long ago, during my prodigal years, I was hooked on several soap operas. There always seemed to be a consistent line of notoriously evil, greedy or rotten people, who didn’t have anything better to do than to disrupt, and ruin, the lives of the good folks. Albeit, it made for good drama and the selling of advertised goods.
All this Idolatrous mayhem stems back to when Jehoshaphat, in attempts to partner up with King Ahab of the northern kingdom, had his son, Jehoram, marry Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. It’s interesting that Ezra, in trying to keep this story as positive as he could, avoided mentioning that Athaliah’s mom was the evil Queen Jezebel. Talk about bad blood!
- King Jehoram adopted Jezebel’s worship of pagan fake gods and idols.
- Nevertheless, God wanted to preserve David’s Royal lineage because the Messiah would eventually come from there. When you read Jesus’ family tree in either Matthew 1 or Luke 3, you can see that His lineage isn’t perfect. Yet, Jesus was perfect, never sinning while He was here on earth. Which goes to show, if you’re focused on God, study scriptures (aka the Bible) and seek Him first, you’ll be OK.
- Elijah was a prophet in the northern kingdom. He wrote Jerhoram a letter. However, Elijah was swept up (raptured) into Heaven during Jehoshaphat‘s reign. Thus, it was prophetic.
- God stirred up the Philistines, Arabs and Ethiopians to attack Jehoram and later he dies in agony suffering from an incurable disease. He died and no one came to his funeral.
- His son, Ahasiah, reigned for only a year and he followed the evil, pagan ways of his grandmother and great grandparents.
- Because the kings of Judah wanted to partner with the evil kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, they got caught up in God’s wrath. Ahasiah died in battle.
- Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter, killed all the heirs and put herself on the throne as queen. She ruled for 6 years and it was a mess. All because of idolatry.
The Influence of a Godly Man
Here’s where the soap opera gets soapy. Enter Jehosheba, Ahaziha’s sister, who also happened to be wife of the priest, Jehoiada, took her nephew, Joash, and hid him in the temple. You can read the whole story in 2 Kings 11. The point here is that when Joash was crowned, he is given the Word of God as designated by Moses in Deuteronomy…
18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees.Deuteronomy 17:18-19 NLT
What a concept! Imagine if our politicians didn’t just swear their oath of office on a Bible, but were handed a Bible as an instruction book on how to make wise decisions!
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
When the right king is restored to the throne, revival returns to Judah. The same is true in us… Remove the Athaliah – the usurper in your life – return Jesus to the throne – and He’ll bring renewal.
Worship was treated seriously again. God was not just worshipped in name only – but in Spirit and truth.Sandy Adams
Stay Rooted in Your Relationship with God
The lesson here is to NOT…
- partner with idolaters
- listen to false teachers
- ignore the Bible, the Word of God
- ignore the Holy Spirit, who helps guide us in the right direction
- divert from the narrow road
Do YOU have a Relationship with God?
Jesus didn’t suffer torture and die so we could have religion! He died so He could have a Personal Relationship with YOU!