READ: 2 Kings 11:17-12:2 (or the extended passage of 2 Kings 11 & 12
(17) Jehoiada now made a covenant between God and the king and the people. They were God’s people. Another covenant was made between the king and the people.
(18-20) The people poured into the temple of Baal and tore it down, smashing the altar and images to smithereens. They killed Mattan the priest in front of the altar.
Jehoiada then stationed sentries in The Temple of God. He arranged for the officers of the bodyguard and the palace security, along with the people themselves, to escort the king down from The Temple of God through the Gate of the Guards and into the palace. There he sat on the royal throne. Everybody celebrated the event. And the city was safe and undisturbed–they had killed Athaliah with the royal sword.
(21) Joash was seven years old when he became king.
(1) In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash began his kingly rule. He was king for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Gazelle. She was from Beersheba.
(2) Taught and trained by Jehoiada the priest, Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived.
THINK: Read the passage again slowly, trying to picture the priest Jehoiada and his young pupil, Joash, who becomes one of the few good kings of Judah.
(1) What about Jehoiada do you most admire or dislike?
(2) How would you like, or not like, to resemble Jehoiada as a teacher and leader? (Think of a teacher as anyone from whom others learn, and think of a leader as anyone who finds others following him or her. Even in friendships, sometimes one friend is the teacher and the other is the student, although they may not realize it.)
In this day and age, I appreciate anyone who is capable and willing to pick a hard to place to stand and stay there. It takes courage to do the right thing, especially when it becomes uncomfortable. So, when I see someone able to do that, even fighting against the odds to stand there, and remain steadfast, I cheer them on. THAT is what I admire about Jehoiada. In a time when the nation of Israel had basically turned her back on God, there as a man who would not. This man went on to be a teacher to one of the last good kings of the Israel.
In response to question #2, my kids come to mind. I pray that I am setting a good example for them. There’ve been times when I’ve had my doubts. For sure, they will have plenty to tell their future spouses or a therapist about all the times I’ve messed up. But, I hope that they can always say that, when I did them wrong, I always made an effort to right that wrong and that I did so without making excuses, or without trying to justify or rationalize my errors in a desperate attempt to look less guilty or to make myself feel better.
PRAY: Pray for people who look up to you–either for good or bad. In that case, you are their teacher and leader. Ask God who he is asking you to reach out to as an informal teacher or leader. Or you may want to simply pray about what you pass on to others.
Dear Heavenly Father, there are days when I am painfully aware that I do not put forth the example you prefer. Some days, I don’t even put forth the example I would prefer. But Lord, I pray that, on those days, I would not diminish terribly your name in the eyes of those that desperately need to see you. I ask forgiveness for when I’ve led others astray. I pray for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to listen. I pray for the words to say that I might honor you, and for the appropriate actions to take when something more than words are required, and I pray for discernment to know the difference. I pray for strength not to act when I shouldn’t. I pray for the courage to act when action is necessary.
LIVE: Sit in the quiet with God, holding before him those who follow you or look up to you. You might wish to ask God, “What do I need to know about myself as a teacher or leader?” Ideas might not come to you right away. Note those that do, and keep watch for them in the coming days and weeks.
If you are a parent, then you already have an idea who your followers are. But, what you may not have realized yet is that your children’s friends, if they visit often, could also be your followers. It never occurred to me until my kids were in high school, and one of my daughter’s friends remarked about how cool it was that we had “rules and stuff.” For her, it was a given, and sometimes an annoying one. But for her friend, who seemed to have no curfew, and who frequently was locked out of his house, it was a novelty. Not long after making that remark, this young man found out that his family was about to move, and he asked if he could come stay with us. It didn’t happen for a number of reasons, not the least of which comes down to the fact that moving is just a part of military life, and for whatever reason, God decided this young man needed to be born into a military family, and with that, comes having to move.
Take a look around. See who’s watching you. Maybe you teach Sunday School. Are the siblings of your students watching you? Are their parents? Are you a crossing guard? Are you employed outside the home? There are probably many more people watching you than you think? Likely, there are as many people watching you as you are watching. If that’s the case, then isn’t it also likely that your sphere of influence is much larger than you think? Isn’t it possible that you are affecting many more people than maybe you thought when you initially read this passage? Keeping that in mind, what example are you setting?