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May 17 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 23-24
Athaliah Overthrown — God’s Worship Restored
2 Chronicles 24:7
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” (Isaiah 21:9). — “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed” (Jeremiah 51:8). — “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). — “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird”(Revelation 18:2). When I read of Athaliah’s overthrow, I am reminded of Babylon and her overthrow. She was called by God the Holy Spirit “that wicked woman.” Her sons “broke up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon Baalim.” For her wickedness, she was slain with the sword. So all false religion, all the freewill/works, antichrist religion of the great whore Babylon shall be destroyed and the church and kingdom of our God shall be triumphant.
The first thing Jehoiada did in restoring the worship of God was to show that God graciously looks upon his people and remembers his covenant. The covenant he made was made “between him and between all the people, and between the king.” It was a covenant made between Jehovah, his people, and his king by Jehoiada his priest. Behold the Lord Jesus, our glorious Head and Mediator, whom Jehoiada typified. Where we expected to find nothing but a simple narrative concerning Judah’s history, God the Holy Ghost has given us another beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Jehoiada’s next task was the destruction of Baal and his images. When the hearts of men and women are turned to the Lord God in faith, the destruction of idolatry is immediate. All who love Christ hate his enemies. David declares that this hatred of all who hate our God, the hatred of every false way, is a proof of sincere love and faith (Psalm 139:21; 119:104, 128).
When Baal was destroyed, arrangements were made for the temple service. During the tyranny of that wicked woman Athaliah, idolatry was rampant. Now the Lord Jehovah was worshipped in the beauty of holiness. Then the nation’s government was brought into order. The problem with our world is not the corrupt government of the nations, though it appears that all modern governments are the governments of the basest of men. The problem is the idolatry of the church, the idolatrous will-worship of men and women who profess to be worshippers of our God and his Christ. When God is honored in his house of prayer and true religion prevails in any nation, the people are truly happy and blessed (Psalm 144:15)
Let us bless God for the mercies he wrought for his Judah, and for the fact that he raised up Jehoiada for the deliverance of his people. As you do, I hope you are compelled to think of that everlasting deliverance wrought for our souls, when God our Father brought forth his dear Son, here typified in Jehoiada, and set him as his King in Zion, declaring the redemption and salvation of his elect in the risen, exalted Christ. That was the everlasting overthrow of Satan’s usurpation, tyranny, and power! By our Savior’s exaltation, his kingdom of righteousness and peace was introduced, which shall flourish forever.
Behold, a greater than Jehoiada is here! Our Lord Jesus Christ made a covenant for us in his blood and righteousness. He is himself the whole of the covenant (Isaiah 49:8). He is all the Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption of his chosen. In and by him, our dear Savior, we are a people dedicated to God and accepted by God forever!
Joash and Zechariah
Joash gives us a warning. — Men and women are often very religious who do not know God and have no grace. Joash was outwardly a very good king, thoroughly devoted to God, until he lost the influence of Jehoiada’s good life. But there was rottenness in his soul. Though he led the way in restoring the worship of God, he never worshiped God in his heart. He was a reprobate man. Everything he did he did for Joash. He had no regard for God, his honor, or his Word.
Zechariah stands before us as an example of true faith. Faithful to the end, that good prophet spoke the word of God, and was stoned to death by the very people for whose souls’ eternal good he devoted his life. Spirit of God, give me grace, like Zechariah, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, utterly devoting my life to “the testimony of Jesus!”
My brother, my sister in Christ, surrounded by that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, let us unceasingly beg of God the grace needed to run with patience the race that is set before us, “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”