2 Kings 11:1-3 (NIV) 1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.
On verses 1-21: After talking about the kingdom of Israel and how Jehu became its king in 2 Kings 9 and 10, the author of 2 Kings turns our attention once again to the kingdom of Judah. Judah’s King Ahaziah was killed by Jehu of Israel, but instead of Ahaziah’s brother or son taking over Ahaziah’s throne in Judah, Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah seizes power for herself.
Why would Athaliah the queen mother do such a thing? Here it helps to understand Athaliah’s family tree. Athaliah was the daughter of Israel’s King Ahab and Jezebel. Remember them? Ahab and Jezebel were not only responsible for the spread of Baal worship throughout Israel; they were also responsible for the ruthless murders of hundreds of the Lord’s prophets in Israel. Apparently Athaliah has inherited her parents’ ruthless and idol-worshiping ways. When Athaliah married King Jehoram, she moved from the kingdom of Israel to the kingdom of Judah and became the queen of Judah. There Athaliah led King Jehoram and their son Ahaziah to walk to become idol worshipers as well (see 2 Kings 8:18, 26-27). After her son King Ahaziah is killed by Jehu, Athaliah becomes hell bent on murdering every male descendant of King David who may have a claim to the throne.
Athaliah almost succeeds in wiping out the entire house of David, with one exception: Joash, the son of Ahaziah and a woman called Zibiah, is hidden by his sister and his nurse when he is just a baby. He is taken to the temple of the Lord where for 6 years he is raised under the watchful, God-fearing eye of Jehoiada the priest. (Amazing! A boy who would have surely been raised to be an idol worshiper of Baal is rescued and raised to worship the Lord in God’s temple.)
For six years Joash remains hidden from Athaliah’s sight. Guards are constantly watching out for his safety. When Joash is seven years old, Jehoiada the priest and others in Israel proclaim Joash as the new and rightful ruler of Judah. When Athaliah hears that Joash has been announced as king, she cries “Treason!” but is seized and put to death. The temple of Baal in Judah is also destroyed. Joash takes the throne with rejoicing from the people of Judah.
What can we learn from all this? There are 3 lessons I believe the Holy Spirit taught me through this passage:
1. The importance of destiny. Joash was the only descendant of King David who was spared. God had a destiny for Joash to fulfill. Similarly, the reason why you are here, the reason why you are reading this GAME sharing, and the reason why God has brought you to this moment is because God has a destiny for you that only you can fulfill. Like Joash, your life is not an accident. You were made for a great purpose and for God’s glory.
2. The importance of parenting. Here we can see how important parenting is. Ahab and Jezebel were ruthless rulers and staunch idol worshipers, and that’s what their daughter Athaliah became as well. Joash likely would have become an idol worshiper like his father Ahaziah, but by God’s grace, Joash is rescued from an idol-worshiping environment and is raised by Jehoiada the priest in God’s temple. The God-fearing and honourable Jehoiada becomes like a father to Joash, who in turn becomes one of the most God-fearing and honourable kings in Judah’s history.
Parents, we must understand that no one is affected more by our character, our spirituality, our emotional intelligence and our conduct than our kids. For good or for bad, chances are high that our kids will learn to live like we do, to value what we value, to treat God the way we treat God, and to treat people the way we treat people. If we want to our kids to grow up with great, godly character, we must model it for them first.
3. The importance of sending your kids to church. Imagine where Joash would have been if the church (in particular, Jehoiada the priest and the servants at the temple) had never taken him in. He would been killed, or if his father Ahaziah had survived, he would have become a lost idol worshiper, having access to great wealth but living in a family that was spiritually bankrupt. Instead, Joash grew up in the Lord’s temple, listening every day to God’s Word, living in God’s presence, being raised, disciplined and mentored by godly leaders like Jehoiada. As a result Joash’s life was protected, redeemed, saved and equipped for greatness. I absolutely believe that, other than a home with God-loving parents, there is no better place for children and young people to grow up than in a great church where they can learn to do life with God-loving spiritual parents, leaders and peers. It is there where they can be safe, saved and set up for success. I don’t know where I would be today had it not been for the church where I grew up. So parents, make it a point to bring your kids to church regularly, that they may learn to live in God’s presence and become the people they were made to be.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose me and saved me for a specific destiny. Thank You for placing people in my life who have been there to watch out for me, protect me, raise me, discipline me and encourage me. Thank You for Your church which is the best place for a young person to be. Together with my church, may we become everything You made us to be. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!