The Last Days of Joash. He Began Well, But Ended Badly
2 Kings 12:17-21
Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.…

The close of the reign of Joash is a melancholy contrast to its beginning. In a most remarkable way preserved, by the providence of God and the kindness of a God-fearing woman, from the massacre of his brothers; then kept safe in the house of the Lord for six years of his helpless childhood; - one would think he would never have forgotten how much he owed to the watchful care and goodness of God. He had been surrounded with good influences. Jehoiada had watched over him like a father. When he came to the throne, Jehoiada had caused him to enter into a covenant with God. He began his reign with a great religious reformation. He ended it with a shameful forsaking of God. There were three causes of his fall.

1. He retained the high places. His reformation was not complete. The germs of future evil were there. How careful we should be of the beginnings of evil! It seemed a small matter to retain the high places. But that small act of negligence or want of courage prepared the way for national idolatry, and for the ultimate downfall of Joash. It accustomed the people to heathen modes of worship (cf. infra, on 2 Kings 14:1-4).

2. He listened to evil counselors. It was an evil day for Joash when Jehoiada passed away. "Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass" (2 Chronicles 24:17, 18). Ah! how true it is that "evil communications corrupt good manners"!

3. He disregarded the warnings of God. The Lord "sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord... but they would not give ear" (2 Chronicles 24:19). Zechariah the son of Jehoiada came with a special warning. But here again we see the hardening effect of sin. Not only did Joash pay no attention to his warnings, but with the basest ingratitude, forgetful of all he owed to Jehoiada, Zechariah's father, he put Zechariah to death. The messenger of God may suffer for his faithfulness in rebuking sin, as John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod, but no royal power can stay the judgments of God. Joash, who had slain God's prophet, was himself slain by his own servants. The nation had forsaken God, and God forsook them in their time of need. Such a career as that of Joash shows the necessity for constant watchfulness against sin. Many, like him, begin well, but end badly. They make a fair profession at first, but by-and-by, when troubles or persecutions arise, they are offended. They go back and walk no more with Christ. Or they become worldly minded, and, being engrossed in the present, forget the concerns of eternity. Many might utter the melancholy cry, "Our lamps are gone out." To every one of us the message may well be sent, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." - C.H.I.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.

WEB: Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.

Dark Days for Judah
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