Black clouds hung over Jerusalem. The king of Judah, Ahaziah, had been killed in battle as he foolishly aligned himself with the wicked ruler of Israel. When word of Ahaziah’s death reached Jerusalem, matters grew worse. Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, ordered all the heirs to her son’s throne to be destroyed. The daughter of Ahab and Jezebel now controlled the destiny of God’s people!
Or so she thought.
What Athaliah didn’t know was that one of the sons of Ahaziah had been hidden from her campaign of terror. Joash was an infant when hidden, and he was the only remaining link in the line of David. But how does a child wrest power from a woman evil enough to kill her own grandsons?
The account of Jehoida, a priest, is one of courage and faith. He knew he risked his life by organizing the commanders of Judah’s army for a coup. His courage, though, was grounded in his faith in God. The oath he took from these commanders was taken “in the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 11:4, NKJV). Under his direction, the queen-mother was slain, power was returned to the house of David, and the most public aspects of idolatry were removed.
What makes this account even more impressive is that Jehoida’s wife was the sister of King Ahaziah (2 Kings 11:2). She also risked her life by hiding young Joash for six years. How did she develop better morals than those among whom she was raised?
Again our attention is turned to Jehoida. 2 Kings 12:2 tells us that “Jehoash [Joash] did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoida the priest instructed him.” This man of God was strong in the laws of God, and made sure the young king knew them. Did he also have an influence on the woman he married? It’s the only trace of godly influence we can find in her life. Jehoida’s determination to teach God’s commandments had far-reaching effects. By his faith, he became an instrument by whom God accomplished a dramatic rescue of the Messianic lineage. Jehoida’s courage is to be honored as much as Queen Esther’s was in years to come.
God still relies upon his priesthood to make a difference. Peter stated the idea in 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Black clouds hang over our land. The progress of ungodly people is frightening. What can one Christian do in a time like this? Let us be encouraged by examples like that of Jehoida, knowing that one person holding firm to the word of God can make a mighty difference!
We admire Queen Esther’s courage. Do we remember Jehoida’s?