Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Atheists ridicule Christians for being weak and needing God as a “crutch” to lean on in life. I say, “Guilty!” If the atheists were honest, they would confess that they too need a crutch on which to lean that supports their worldview. That crutch could be “science,” or perhaps they are so vain as to rely on themselves. Sadly, in times of crisis, those props will prove woefully inadequate.
I read an account of a king of Judah who did “that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” (2 Kings 12:2, emphasis mine). His name was Jehoash, a.k.a. Joash, King of Judah.
Jehoash’s father, Ahaziah, reigned as king of Judah only one year “and he did evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 8:27). His mother, Athaliah, was the daughter of Omri, king of Israel (the northern kingdom) and sister of Ahab, Omri’s successor. Needless to say, she was not a nice lady.
The twenty-three-year-old King Ahaziah got caught up in a coup against the king of Israel and was killed after one year on the throne. When his mother, Athaliah, heard of his death, she quickly killed all possible successors to the throne and set herself up as Judah’s first and only queen, and she ruled in Judah for six years. That Judah ever had a queen is seldom discussed, however, one indeed existed.
Athaliah’s plot to extinguish all of Ahaziah’s “seed” failed because Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, whose name means “Jehovah has sworn,” took Ahaziah’s baby son, Joash (Jehoash), to the Temple to be hid there by the high priest, Jehoiada, whose name means “Jehovah knows.”
Joash was about one year old when he came to Jehoiada who raised him and continued to advise him after he became king. After six years, when Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada, anointed Joash king of Judah, and Athaliah was put to death (2 Kings 11:16).
So Joash/Jehoash reigned as king of Judah for forty years (2 Kings 12:1). As previously mentioned, his actions pleased the LORD. He tore down the “high places” of idol worship and restored the Temple that had fallen into disrepair. But then Jehoiada “waxed old, and was full of days when he died. An hundred and thirty years old was he when he died” (2 Chronicles 24:15).
After that, it was all downhill for Joash. He lost his prop, his “crutch.” Without the priest that instructed him, Joash was lost. “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. Yet [God] sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear” (2 Chronicles 24:17-19, emphasis mine).
Joash lost his prop so he found another in the perverted “princes of Judah.” Joash’s problem was that he looked to men for guidance. When he had a godly man to follow, he did well, but when Jehoiada was gone, he listened to ungodly men. So radical was his turn that when Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, came to call him to account, that Joash ordered him killed.
Another boy king would later come along that would stand strong because he had a different prop. His name was Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:1). Josiah likewise repaired the Temple and took down the high places of idol worship. In the process of repairing the Temple, the “book of the law” (the “Bible”) was found. Josiah read it and repented for failing to follow the law of God. From then on, Josiah ruled “by the Book” and in that was his strength.
What do you lean on? Men, even great preachers and pastors will let you down. Other Christians will hurt you and disappoint you. The Christian denomination you followed all your life will drift from its moorings and soon you will find yourself without a church. Friends, all these things are of “men” and men are fallen. You cannot rest your life on them; they will fail. Instead, learn a lesson from Joash and Josiah. Trust God and His Word and there you will find a support that will never let you down.