Joash was king in Judah, but the real leader was the priest Jehoida. Jehoida had protected Joash from his wicked grandmother and had prepared the young boy to be king. Even after Joash began to rule at age seven, Jehoida led the new monarch in the right direction. As long as Jehoida was alive, Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
As the king grew up he married two women and had sons and daughters. The line of David had been restored. Joash determined to repair the temple of God in Jerusalem. He confronted those beneath him who were moving slowly on this priority. He saw to the collection of funds from the people so that the work might be better funded through the taxes and offerings of those whom the Lord prompted to give to this good work.
This project involved more than just money. Joash, like his good predecessors, engaged gifted people to do important tasks for the Lord. The people listened to the king and the work went forward with efficiency and excellence.
The Chronicler rejoiced in these great achievements and rightly connected them with the life of the priest. “They offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord regularly all the days of Jehoiada.” But the day eventually came when Jehoiada died. Sadly, the king chose new advisers from among the leading men of Judah who served false gods. Even when the Lord sent true prophets to the king, Joash would not listen to them.
When the Spirit of God sent one of Jehoida’s sons with a convicting message for the king, Joash ordered that this child of his old protector be stoned to death. Joash was breaking the Lord’s commandments, but he refused to listen to any correction.
The Lord avenged the blood of His faithful servants and brought great trouble upon Joash and the people of Judah. The king was badly wounded by foreign enemies and was then murdered by his own servants.
Joash was a good king as long as Jehoiada the priest was still alive. When that good old man died, the young king did not have any abiding internal compass that caused him to walk in the ways of the Lord. This could never be said about the true Messiah who now reigns over all of God’s people. The righteousness of Jesus was not a result of the good influence of any family member or rabbi. Jesus was always righteous in the depths of His being. Though He grew in grace and knowledge and in favor with God and men, our King’s goodness was never derived from anyone.
We want our own obedience to God to be more than a matter of external compulsion that is here today and gone tomorrow. We want to be changed forever by the renewing work of the Lord. May Jesus, who is the fountainhead of goodness, change us in the depths of our souls, and may He always live to be our perfect Mentor and everlasting Guide.