The theme of bad partnerships continues as I move through 2Chronicles again this morning. I’m guessing that for those familiar with King Joash of Judah, the first thing they might recall about him was that he was one of those “kid kings”. His crazy grandma had killed all his siblings as a way of securing the throne for herself but he was hidden away as an infant . . . and then at the age of seven, was given the throne of the kingdom through the courageous actions of some devoted, godly priests. But as I read of this kid king this morning, there’s a warning to be heeded. This is how I processed it back in 2011 . . .
The warning lights went off as soon as I read it this morning. While the phrase was familiar . . . it had a twist to it that was a bit foreboding. Although things were going well, you just knew that a train wreck was coming. Note to self . . . lesson to be learned . . . it matters who you dance with.
Joash was the “boy king” . . . just seven years old when they put the crown on his head (2Chronicles 24:1). He had been hidden for 6 years in the temple . . . protected from Athaliah, the crazy old mama of the previous king . . . that would make her Joash’s grandma. After her son died, Athaliah assassinated everyone else in line for the throne (2Chron. 22:10) . . . everyone except the baby Joash who was stolen away and hidden by his aunt who was also the wife of the high priest, Jehoiada (22:11-12). And so, as a kid, Joash was brought up, literally, in the house of God . . . and in the ways of God . . . by faithful servants of God.
So it’s not surprising, perhaps, to read that, when Joash was put on the throne, that he ruled in a manner that pleased God. But, you read the whole verse, and the warning lights go off. Check it out . . .
And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. (2Chronicles 24:2 ESV)
Catch that qualifier? He did what was right . . . he lived in a manner worthy . . . he pleased God . . . but it was only for “the days of Jehoiada the priest.” Uh, oh! You sense this is going to be another example of starting strong and finishing poorly. And it all came down to who Joash decided to dance with.
While Jehoiada, . . . aged, faithful, servant-of-God, Jehoiada . . . while Jehoiada lived, he had the king’s ear. During that time Joash restored the house of the Lord which had been trashed by Athaliah’s kids (24:4,7). Under Jehoiada’s counsel, Joash faithfully pursued restoring the worship of God as a focal point for life in Judah. As long as Joash partnered with Jehoiada, he seemed to pursue the things of God. But then Jehoiada dies . . . and is buried . . . and there enters into Joash’s life a new set of voices . . .
Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. (2Chronicles 24:17-18a ESV)
How sad. These princes of Judah whispered flattering words in the king’s ear . . . they fawned before him . . . they seduced him . . . you can almost hear the hiss of the serpent as they called into question this “exclusive worship” initiative he had been fixating on. “Come on!” they may have said, “There’s room for other gods . . . there’s a place for tolerance . . . you were sheltered by that old priest, try some of the ‘new gods’ . . . you’ll like it.” Whatever they said, he listened to them . . . and,he forsook the house of God . . . and, ended up forsaking the God of the house. Heavy sigh!
And the apostle Paul’s words ring in my ears . . . Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ (1Corinthians 15:33 ESV)
It matters who I “dance” with. My life will be impacted by those I hang with. It makes a difference who has my ear . . . who I go to for counsel and advice. I’m not saying we retreat from all the “bad voices” . . . we’ve been sent with good news to the “bad voices.” But I do need to be careful about who my closest associates are . . . I need to recognize that my best buds will have an influence on my actions . . . that those I look to for input and feedback will impact how I think and, eventually, how I live.
Oh, thank God for the Jehoiada’s in my life . . . for the fellowship of believers who spur me on to walk in the ways of the Lord.
I want to “dance” well . . . that I might finish well . . . by His grace . . . for His glory.