Joash's Hand-Me Down Faith
- Daniel Darling Director, Land Center for Cultural Engagement
- 2008 2 Jan
The fact that Joash lived after his very first breath was a miracle. Born into the bloody chaos of a revolution in his country, he was the only male member of his family to survive the wicked purge of his grandmother Athalia. And he survived only because Josheba, Joash’s aunt hid him in a storage closet for 6 years.
Joash’s life is proof positive that God keeps his promises. God told David that his family would sit on the throne of Israel forever. He kept his promise in preserve the life of Joash who became king at the tender age of 7 and was nurtured and guided along by Josheba, and her husband, the prophet Jehoiada.
So what does this centuries-old story say to me and to you? It tells us that God keeps his promises. Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists counts 41 separate promises in the Bible—promises you and I can claim on a daily basis. I encourage you to look those up—they are listed in my book, Teen People of the Bible. Maybe you’re having a bad day or maybe you’ve been disappointed by someone you felt you could trust. Like Joash, you can trust that God is sovereign and will keep his word.
But perhaps the larger lesson from Joash is that every young person must claim their faith as their own. Joash’s life was miraculous and he grew up mentored, discipled, and loved by a godly aunt and uncle. And yet we see that his faith was what I call a hand-me-down faith. He never appropriated it for himself. When his aunt and uncle died, and Joash had to stand on his own, he quickly fell away from the Lord. He even had a prophet of God killed for telling him something he didn’t want to hear.
How can someone who grows up in a Christian home and church and school do something so terrible? This is a question I constantly hear. And the answer is simple. Joash and hundreds like him, never established their own walk with God. They hung on the coattails of their parents’ or pastor’s or youth leader’s spiritual experiences. That lasts for a while, as you can see with Joash, but what about when you’re on your own? What happens when you go away to college? What happens when you begin a family and have to make decisions for yourself? Is your faith strong enough to sustain you?
If you’ve got a hand-me-down faith like Joash, you’ll quickly forget the promises of God and miracle of your upbringing and pursue a lie away from God.
Photo credit: Unsplash.com