2nd Chronicles 23; Bringing Back the King

After the death of godly King Jehoshaphat Judah was plunged into the nightmare of apostasy, which was instigated by Jehoram and Ahaziah. Following the path of the house of Ahab they were deeply influenced by Athaliah, the wife of Jehoram and mother of Ahaziah. This wicked woman, also the daughter of Ahab, the apostate and corrupt northern King, became the key player in this fifteen year period. During these years God’s law was neglected, idolatry was introduced and the royal household was blighted by assassination and intrigue.

God always has His people though, even in the darkest of times and in the most unlikely places. In this dark hour Jehoshaphat had a great-granddaughter called Jehoshabeath, who was married to Jehoaida, the High Priest. They are among the godliest and most heroic couples of whom we read in Bible history. They preserved the royal lineage and in due time, through their courage, a little boy, seven years of age was crowned within the precincts of the temple, they brought back the King.

This study and the testimony of Jehoshabeath and Jehoiada is an encouragement and challenge to every Christian, to preserve the honour of Christ and endeavour with spiritual resolve to elevate Him as Lord and King. And if He is not central, as a result of our sin and backsliding, may God by His grace enable us to bring back the King.

1: THE REBELLION AGAINST THE KING

There was a need for the rightful King to be brought to temple and crowned because his place had been usurped by another.

Athaliah, determined to preserve her own influence in the nation after the death of her son Ahaziah, went on a killing spree, exterminating all rivals to the crown:

“But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.”

2nd Chronicles 22:10

The depravity of her act is further accentuated by the knowledge that those who she slaughtered were children, babies in some instances, who were her own grandsons. She plummeted to such debauchery in order to seize the crown for herself.

Within the Church and in our own devotional lives, we can so easily replace Christ, as our Lord and King with another. The circumstances may not be as dramatic or obviously cruel, yet the consequences are the same – rebellion against God.

When John wrote the inspired messages to the churches in Asia minor, it was clear that in the case Laodeica and Ephesus Christ had been usurped. These congregations are significant in that they mirror much of what is wrong with the evangelical church today.

Laocedia was prosperous and successful. They replaced Christ with their own definitions of blessing. But the ing had been excluded from His kingdom. They thought they were rich when in reality they were spiritually barren and impoverished, a situation which drew the stinging words.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

Ephesus was the reformed fundamentalist church of the region, using rather modern terminology. They had contended for the faith and had courageously battled against false doctrine. They appeared outwardly to enthusiastic and zealous. Unlike Laodecia they were not lukewarm. Yet they too had replaced Christ as King, also by their own definitions of blessedness and success. Instead of serving the King they had made their work for the King their monarch. They were looking to their own endeavours rather than the one whom they served. To them Christ’s words were similarly chastening:

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Revelation 2:4

In the case of the individual, the Apostle Paul related the rather sad case of Demas, who once laboured faithfully in the Gospel:

For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world

2nd Timothy 4:10

William Cowper understood the potential for backsliding and rebellion against the King in the life of the Christian as he penned the words of “O For a Closer Walk with God”:

"Whatever idol I have known,
What'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee"
William Cowper


2: THE REMOVAL OF THE KING

At this critical stage in Jewish history when it seemed that the unbroken succession from David would be lost forever, a godly woman called Jehoshabeath enters the scene. Being a daughter of Ahaziah, she knew the heirs to the throne and so seized prince Joash, only seven years of age, hiding him away and becoming a mother to her younger brother. With the royal household being engulfed in a bloodbath, with the wailing of mothers and fathers filling the air such an action took enormous courage. She was the woman for the moment and in all of this she was supported by the High Priest, her husband Jehoiada. This couple saved the line of David from extinction and their actions preserved the family out of which Christ would be born. They are among the little known heroes of history and we sanctify their memory.

They treasured the rightful King in a private place, they loved and adored him and prepared him and themselves for the time when he would be restored to his position once again. As the terrible darkness encroached, there was hope because of the faith and devotion of a couple who honoured the Lord.

As they were chosen for a monumental work in the darkest of times so we have been be chosen by God to be lights in this time of secular darkness. As they treasured the young prince, let us remove Christ into the secrecy of our hearts and let us enjoy intimate communion with Him. As we do so may God prepare our hearts for the coming revival when the hearts of billions will be conquered by His reign.

Hope is preserved for this corrupt world through the courage and devotion of God ‘s people. A great illustration of this are the array of witnesses to the Gospel during the period of history known as The Dark Ages. In those years from the early middle ages to the Reformation ignorance and superstition abounded. But God has His people led by such brave stalwarts as Peter Waldo of Lyon, Jan Huss of Prague had John Wycliffe.l of England. Through pain and adversity they treasured Christ and His Gospel holding onto the promise that better days were coming for the world. We draw inspiration from them for this dark time.

3: THE REVOLUTION FOR THE KING

The word revolution denotes upheaval and ushers in a new age. Some revolutions promised much but in retrospect achieved very little. The Russian Revolution heralded a utopian age of equality but concluded in failure as the trappings of communism were eventually torn down. Other revolutions have been remarkably successful such the rebellion of the American colonies against British rule or the arrival of King William in Torbay in 1688.

Such was the darkness of Athaliah’s new Kingdom that only a revolution would suffice in order that the King would be restored to his rightful place. The man to led such a revolution was Jehoiada the High Priest He spent six years plotting with only his most trusted supporters in order that the wicked queen would be overthrown.

This was risky business but Athaliah, not coming from the southern Kingdom, under-estimated the power of the temple and the influence of the priests. She despised what she regarded as their rather archaic and backward religion. It was this complacency which was her undoing.

This society mocks the beliefs and the message of the Church of Christ in its quest for what they consider as progress. In their progress they regress the world into a post Christian era which has more in common with the primitive paganism of our ancestors. True power and true hope is found only in faith, the very thing which the worldlings despise. Let us not despair because we are marginalised and ignored. Satan always oversteps himself, it is one of his depraved characteristics.

There are a number of key texts which highlight pivotal moments in Jehoiada’s revolution as the King was restored

“And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David. This is the thing that ye shall do…”

2nd Chronicles 23:1-4

Having assembled the people and fortified the temple Jehoiada brought out the young Prince, hidden for 6 years and now revealed to the people:

“Then they brought out the king’s son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.”

2nd Chronicles 23:11

By the time Athaliah discovered what was afoot the revolution had gained unstoppable momentum. Not only was she slain but the spirit of former times was rekindled as false worship was swept aside as the people rededicated themselves to the LORD.

“And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’s people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.”

2nd Chronicles 23:16-17

The nightmare was over, the darkness was swept aside, the King was coronated and the wrongs of the past were restored.

“And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.”

2nd Chronicles 23:21

We live in days when we are crying out for a spiritual revolution in our nations, our churches as well as in our own impoverished spiritual lives. Let us endeavour to be a Jehoiada, a revolutionary for God – by God’s grace may we bring back the King.


Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For pow’r to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire!
Oh, see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the off’ring now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire!

William Booth, 1894

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