The last two weeks we have looked at Kings who led Judah by example. They showed the people what it meant to put their faith in God above all things. Not many kings did this.
Here’s a study tip that helped me to remember the Era of the Kings: In Israel all were Evil, In Judah some were Just.
Questions to Consider
When have you have received bad directions or instructions? How did it impact you?
Who are some major influencers in our culture?
What are some ways you influence those around you on a daily basis?
After the righteous leadership of Asa and of Jehoshaphat, Judah began a slippery slope of moral decline under the reign of Jehoram. He married Ahab’s daughter Athaliah (2 Kings 8:18, 11:1) and was more heavily influenced by Israel’s evil royalty than his own God-honoring family. Jehoshaphat was not entirely innocent either as he was a part of arranging this marriage. But where Jehoshaphat had been a strong influence for God, Ahab’s family was an influence for evil. Satan always loves to work in the shadows, in subtle compromises and gradual mis-steps.
Casting Crowns has a song called “Slow Fade”. It reminds us that people never crumble in a day. Jehoram’s foundation had already been cracking, and when the time came for him to take the throne the walls gave way. There was nothing subtle about his evil actions. Take a look at Jehoram, the Abhorred and you’ll see he has the ability to banish a royal human. Let’s get a little background on that…
His father Jehoshaphat had blessed all his sons with silver, gold, and fortified cities (2 Chronicles 21:3). Jehoram, the firstborn, became King. And to secure his position as King, he had his innocent brothers killed! He even had some of the officials in Israel murdered.
Jehoram’s other ability is to underdeck a meek lost soul. This represents his evil influence over the weak willed people of Judah. How quickly they forgot the God who gave them victory! He built up the High Places for idol worship and the people of Judah were Led Astray. Yes that’s right, Jehoram’s story (2 Chronicles 21) is the basis for the evil dominant!
And since the people had rejected the God who gave them victory, Judah began to taste defeat.
Last week we looked at a story where God helped give Judah victory over Edom. But without God’s intervention, Edom began rebuilding, and even set up their very own ruler! The King of Edom led them to revolt against Judah, and the Charioteers of Seir nearly captured Jehoram. He and his captains were narrowly able to fight their way through the ambush. The rest of the army, who lost confidence in Jehoram, went turncoat and fled.
Elisha, who was prophet during the reign of many kings, confronted Jehoram with this letter:
“The Lord is the God of your father David. The Lord says, ‘You have not followed the ways of your own father Jehoshaphat or of Asa, the king of Judah. Instead, you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel. You have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to worship other gods, just as the royal family of Ahab did. Also, you have murdered your own brothers. They were members of your own family. They were better men than you are. So now the Lord is about to strike down your people with a heavy blow. He will strike down your sons, your wives and everything that belongs to you. And you yourself will be very sick for a long time. The sickness will finally cause your insides to come out.’ 2 Chronicles 21:12-15.
Eek. Well there’s that.
Judah soon found themselves on the wrong end of some Foreign Spears as God stirred up the Philistines and Arabs/Ethiopians against Jehoram. They carried off everything in the palace… everything and everyone, including his family. Only one son, Ahaziah, remained.
Jehoram’s story wraps up with what may truly be the most sorrowful epitaph in scripture: “He passed away, to no one’s regret…”
Wow. If you have stuck with me through this study so far, congratulations. It’s a heavy dose of humbling reality!
Let me encourage you that your influence and example can be life giving to those who need hope! You can choose to be light in the darkness, hope to the hopeless, and healing to the hurting!
At some point, every single person is an example to somebody else. Sometimes we get to choose those moments, other times those moments are chosen for us.
Live like the lost are looking to you for hope. Be the lighthouse to those led astray!
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