June 7 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols.” ~2 Chronicles 24:17-18

Young Joash is now king over Judah. The child king spent the first seven years of his life living in the temple complex, secretly hidden from the eyes and ears of the queen’s court. Perhaps the priest, Jehoiada, disguised the boy as an orphaned servant who had been dedicated to the Lord. Given Athaliah’s wicked reputation, the temple must have seemed a perfect hiding place for the young prince.

Joash is blessed to have Jehoiada as a mentor. Under the priest’s steady guidance, the temple is restored and the people turn once again to the Lord. Joash takes an active role in the restoration, even confronting the temple officials for the slack manner in which they are handling construction funds. One can imagine the king inspecting the repair work while fond memories of living in and exploring the temple filter through his mind.

Sadly, when Joash’s mentor dies, he turns away from the Lord. The loss of Jehoiada probably left Joash feeling vulnerable, so when powerful officials in Judah pledge their loyal support, he is ready to take it. However, the promise of support is most likely conditioned on Joash’s willingness to compromise his convictions regarding the worship of God. (The theme of bad influences is found throughout this and surrounding sections.) In time, those convictions crumble further and Joash abandons the worship of God. So great is his transformation, he even has the prophet Zechariah, the son of his deceased mentor, stoned in the temple courtyard.

At a young age, Joash had the right people around him. However, rather than turning to God as he grew older and became vulnerable, he allowed the wrong people to hold sway over him. No doubt he was promised security, influence, and power. And although Joash should have rejected those promises and placed his trust in the Lord, he did not. Once again, the Chronicler has a lesson for the exiled community and for us: make sure you have the right people in your life. Don’t simply choose friends and mentors who promise you support! Your safety and security comes from the Lord. Be sure that the people in your life encourage you to follow Him wholeheartedly and to trust Him to be your strength.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.