A Chilling Epitaph

I read the words and what immediately came to mind was, “What a horrible epitaph.”

I don’t think much of what might end up written in memory of me. Not really motivated by leaving a legacy. More concerned with just being faithful to what I think God wants me to do today. But, not gonna lie, after reading these words, I sure know what I DON’T want put on my grave marker.


Ugh! How’s that for a last bon voyage? Even worse, that it’s God-breathed.

Reading about King Jehoram of Judah this morning in 2Chronicles 21. Grandson of King Asa who, though he didn’t finish so well, modeled for his people what it meant to seek the LORD courageously as he put away the detestable idols that had become prominent in Judah and renewed proper worship in the house of the LORD (1Chr. 15).

And Jehoram was also the son of King Jehoshaphat who, though he had some misplaced allegiances to the wayward kings of Israel, kept his eyes set on God and his heart tuned to sing His praise (2Chr. 20). Thus, Jehoram, next in line for the throne, should have had a pretty good foundation to build upon during his reign as he had seen modeled a lot of the right stuff.

But not so much. He didn’t walk in the ways of his father nor his grandfather (2Chr. 21:12).

First, though his father had given him the keys to the kingdom, he executes all his brothers and anyone else who might be a potential threat for the throne. Then, he caves to the influence of his wife and her dad, Ahab king of Israel, and “does evil in the sight of the LORD” (21:6b) by going after fake deities. What’s more, he “led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray” (21:11) as well.

So, after setting his face against the LORD, the LORD sets His face against Jehoram. After only six short years of Jehoram’s reign, the LORD goes from fighting for Judah to fighting against them. Songs of victory in the land replaced with laments of defeat. And for the last two years of his reign, Jehoram himself suffers in great agony because “the LORD struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease” (21:18).

And here’s how his story concludes:

In the course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret.

(2Chronicles 21:19-20a ESV)

What a way for a king of God’s chosen nation to go. Forsaken of God. Without honor among his people. A prevailing, “Who cares? Good riddance!” attitude instead of a state funeral worthy of a life well-lived for a king.


Honestly, it sent a bit of a shiver down my spine. What a chilling epitaph!

Not looking for glory or praise. But thinking that if I’m faithful to my God and to His call on my life, someone’s gonna care when I’m gone. That if I seek first the kingdom (Matt. 6:33), keep my mind set on things above (Col. 3:1-2), and, by His enabling, daily try to offer my body as a living sacrifice here on earth (Rom. 12:1), there might be a few who are sorry I’m no longer around. At the very least, and who could want anything more, a Savior who might welcome me home with, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).

By His grace. For His glory.

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