May 27

Read 2 Chronicles 21 -- 24

In Today's Reading:

Jehoram's wicked reign; prophecy of Elijah; Ahaziah's reign and death; Athaliah's reign and death; Joash becomes king; Joash repairs the Temple; death of Jehoiada the priest; the nation of Judah turns to idolatry.

Verse for Today:

Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the Lord's people (2 Chronicles 23:16).

Jehoshaphat, king of the Southern Kingdom, maintained friendly relations with Ahab, the idol-worshiping king of the Northern Kingdom. Though it did not affect him personally, Jehoshaphat could not control the way it affected his sons and his grandchildren. His son's marriage to Ahab's daughter resulted in a heritage of wicked leadership for the Southern Kingdom. Jehoshaphat's association with Ahab should serve as a warning to those today who are sure they will not yield to the lifestyles of unsaved companions.

After the death of Jehoshaphat, his son Jehoram took control of the Southern Kingdom and proceeded to destroy all the godly influence of his father's reign. He . . . slew all his [brothers] with the sword, and [also some] of the princes of Israel. . . . for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife (2 Chronicles 21:4). Undoubtedly with her encouragement, Jehoram established the evil religious idols of his mother-in-law Jezebel. He built altars to Baal and Ashtaroth with their evil, obscene male and female prostitutes and compelled (his Kingdom) Judah to participate (21:11).

Although the prophet Elijah lived in the Northern Kingdom, he sent a letter to the ungodly Jehoram, King of the Southern Kingdom, and rebuked his evils, saying: Thus [says] the Lord God of David . . . Because [you have] not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat [your] father . . . But [have] walked in the way of the kings of Israel . . . Behold, with a great plague the Lord will smite [your] people, and [your] children, and [your] wives. . . . [You shall] have great sickness. . . . And . . . after the end of two years . . . he died (21:12-19).

Jehoram's youngest son Ahaziah, then reigned in Jerusalem. He was a mere puppet of Athaliah, the Queen Mother, during his short, one-year reign (22:2). During that time, Ahab's son, also named Jehoram (Joram), was wounded in battle with the Syrian king (22:5). Ahaziah went to see his uncle Jehoram who was recovering from his wounds in Jezreel (22:7-8). Both kings were slain by Jehu, the commander of the Northern Kingdom's army (2 Kings 9:1-6). Athaliah then seized the throne and proclaimed herself Queen of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. To secure her position, she murdered all her grandchildren, except for one-year-old Joash, the sole link that preserved the dynasty of David and the very ancestry of Jesus Christ (2 Chronicles 22:10-12). Jehoshabeath had hidden her infant nephew Joash from Athaliah's wholesale massacre. This confirms that God always has the last word in the affairs of earth. He doeth according to His will . . . among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand (Daniel 4:35).

Little could godly Jehoshaphat have realized the tragic consequences that resulted from his association with Ahab and from his son's marriage to an unbeliever. Some Christian parents' hearts have been broken as a result of permitting a son or daughter to date an unsaved person who seems so desirable in many other ways. Every Christian young man and woman should recognize why there are strong warnings against dating the unsaved. Ye are all the children of light. . . . What communion hath light with darkness? (1 Thessalonians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 6:14).

Christ Portrayed:

By Jehoiada, the high priest, who faithfully hid and protected Joash (2 Chronicles 23:1-11). Jesus is our High Priest (Hebrews 5:5-10); we are hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

Word Studies:

21:9 compassed him in = surrounded him; 21:19 of sore diseases = in severe suffering; no burning for him = no public fire to honor him; 22:2 daughter = granddaughter; 22:10 seed royal = royal family of the house of David; 23:9 bucklers = small shields; 23:14 have her forth of the ranges = take her outside under guard; 24:13 in his state = in its original condition; 24:25 in great diseases = intense suffering.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (CT) · Pray for your Sunday School teacher · Country: Georgia (6 million) west and central Transcaucasia between Asia and Europe · Major languages: Georgian and Russian · Religious opposition to Christianity · 57% Georgian/Armenian/Russian/Syrian Orthodox; 21% Muslim; .8% Catholic; .5% Protestant; .5% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Confess your sins to the Lord; He is merciful and forgiving (Daniel 9:4-9).

Optional Reading: 1 Corinthians 14

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:9