Thoughts on 2 Chronicles 22-24

2 Chronicles 22‑24  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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Athaliah, daughter of Ahab, grand-daughter of Omri a wicked king of Israel and of a heathen king—Etlibaal king of the Zidonians—the wife of Jehorana, the idolatrous mother and wicked counselor of her son Ahaziah, when she saw that her son was dead, arose and destroyed all the seed-royal and seized the throne, all but one infant whom his aunt Jehoshabeath hid from the demoniacal policy of his grandmother. What a picture! Where is David's son? What now of the promise that David should never want a man to sit upon his throne? Has Satan in very deed almost caused that race of kings to be cut off? Has he rendered null the word of God? How the great arch-foe would have boasted, if he had thus proved himself able to bring an everlasting curse, where God was controlling all things for better blessing! “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” Though the line from David to Messiah is at this time attenuated to a mere feeble thread, and the promised glory (the future blessing of Israel, of the whole earth, and the immutability of God's counsels, then seemed to hang upon the precarious life and safe hiding of an infant), yet the promise of God is as sure and His counsels as firm while the infant Joash is in hiding, all unconscious of the momentous results hinging upon his life, and that his unnaturally wicked grandmother, a mere tool in the hands of a greater enemy, would seek his life; the purpose of God was as sure, and His decree as immutable, as when Solomon in all his might and glory sat on the throne. Apparently all seems contingent on the life of a babe; in reality all rests upon the firm foundation of God's word.
We think of our own blessings, those which are peculiar to saints of the heavenly calling; but God had promised that all nations of the earth should be blessed in Abraham's Seed (Gen. 12:3; 22:16, 173And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)
16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:16‑17)
); and God not only gave a promise but confirmed it with an oath, so that the certainty of the word of God is under two aspects, the promise and the oath. All our blessings are wrapped up in the Seed, and are more (can we say more?) than confirmed to us by the promise and the oath; for we have the fact of Christ's death. The cross accomplishes God's word and fulfills His promises; and we know that all of them in Him are yea and amen.
Joash at the right time appears, the rightful heir to the throne of David. And the stranger and usurper, Athaliah, is slain. The genealogical line to Messiah is unbroken, and as yet each one sits upon his throne. The time will come, nay, is come, when the line, still unbroken, has not that throne; and so will continue, hidden and without that throne, till the great Son of David comes to sit thereon. How busy and indefatigable the enemy was to destroy the family of David, even to stir up a woman to slay her grand-children! Ordinarily affection, or tenderness, seems to increase toward the succeeding generation; but Satan deprives his slaves of natural affection, and substitutes bitter cruelty, in order to work out his purposes. How suddenly his plans are overthrown! All at once Joash appears, the people shout, the priests and Levites appear in arms, Athaliah is slain, and the kingdom is restored to the rightful king. The genealogical line from David to Messiah is preserved, and kept by the controlling power of God, notwithstanding Satan's persistent attempts to destroy it. Nay, he began as soon as men were born to make the advent of the promised Seed impossible. It was to prevent His coming that he tempted Cain to kill his brother, to corrupt the antediluvian world so that God in mercy as well as judgment destroyed that demoniacal race in the deluge. And when he knew in what line the promised seed was deposited, all his malignity and cunning were directed against it from the heathen down to the high priest who said it was expedient that one man should die for the people. This selected line is placed on the chosen earthly throne, for a time, to show how God can exalt, and then because of sin cast down, trampled upon, and to human eyes stamped out of being, to show His judgment; and for a while seated upon God's earthly throne, we find rebels, idolaters, murderers. What a throne that of Israel and Judah had become! And still it is Jehovah's throne, and the appointed KING is coming, to reign in righteousness.
All the days of Jehoiada the priest, Joash did right in the sight of the Lord; yea, seems to take the lead and gives commandment to repair the mischief that Athaliah had done (24:6-11). But external influence, however holy, can never change the heart, which like a constrained bow springs back to its normal bent the moment that pressure ceases. How often this solemn fact is seen in Christian families! How often a son leaving the godly restraints of his father's house plunges with greater zest into the sinful pleasures of the world!
This was the case with Joash who sank into the depths of crime and ingratitude. While Jehoiada, his uncle, lived, Joash did what was right; but Jehoiada dies, after which “came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance [flattered him]: then the king hearkened unto them.” Their evil influence led Joash to his ruin, as princes had before led Rehoboam. Yielding to their flattery and no doubt solicitation also, “they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers and served groves and idols” (24:17, 18, &c.) How short the step from seeming outward piety to unblushing evil! Was there no conscience in Joash? No feeling of gratitude toward Jehoiada or his family? He remembered not the kindness of the father but slew the son.