Studying the story of Joash in 2 Chronicles today, the Lord impressed upon me the importance of never ceasing to pray that my children will wholeheartedly seek Him. It would be easy after they make a profession of faith, and seem to be bearing fruit, to assume they are “safe” and let our prayers for their wholehearted devotion to Him fall by the wayside. Observing the life of Joash I am acutely aware of what a tremendous mistake that would be.
Joash was raised by his uncle and priest, Jehoiada. Jehoiada sought the Lord and made a covenant, “that he and the people and the king would be the Lord’s people.” (2 Chronicles 23:16) Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he, “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest.“ (2 Chronicles 24:2)
By all appearances Joash was a godly king, doing all the right things. In addition to repairing the temple, burnt offerings were offered to the Lord continually in the temple (2 Chronicles 24:14), I’m afraid if I were his mother I might have been tempted to rest in the assumption that he was right on track with the Lord, and my prayers might have waned. Unfortunately everything changed when Jehoiada died.
After Jehoiada’s death Joash and the people of Judah forsook the Lord:
They abandoned the temple of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem. Although the LORD sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen. 2 Chronicles 24:18-19
Joash even went so far as to have Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son, stoned to death in the courtyard of the temple, for prophesying the word of the Lord. Joash’s rejection of the Lord cost him his life:
“Because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, judgment was executed on Joash. ” 2 Chronicles 24:24b
The account of Joash compels me to be on my face before the Lord, praying that He will give my children an undivided heart for Him (Psalm 86:11). That they, like Caleb, will have a different spirit and follow Him wholeheartedly (Numbers 14:24). May I never grow complacent in my prayers that my children be captivated by Him, and wholeheartedly devoted to Him. Let me never be tempted to see their professions of faith and good works and assume they are surrendered to the point that I lay down my sword and cease to fight on their behalf.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20