David Pawson - Joel
Thoughtful Thoughts 15.11.19 Joel
Scene 1…Pagan worship
Before Jehu came to the throne, Baal worship was the new normal. After Jehu came to the throne, that all stopped. He killed the priests of Baal and re-established the worship of God in the temple of Jerusalem as the national religion again, (which God praised him for doing). So far so good.
But that hadn’t been the only problem. Israel had also gone back to worshiping golden calves at Bethel and Dan again. They had picked that up from when they were slaves in Egypt. (Remember when it had caused so much trouble when Moses went up Mt Sinai). It was this that Jehu had done nothing about. (An altar at Dan is a tourist attraction now.)
Jehu’s compromise meant that Israel continued to decline; (2 Kings 10:31 “Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. 32 In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory”.
(2 Kings 10 & 11 are relevant to this week’s blog.)
Scene 2...From bad to worse
When Jehu died, instead of one of his children being crowned king, Queen Athalia declared herself Queen, by murdering his descendents except for one of his children; - an infant, called Joash, who Athalia knew nothing about. For seven years Joash was hidden in the temple where the priest brought him up and taught him about God. In the meantime, Athalia undid all the good work which Jehu had done when he got rid of Baal worship, because she re-introduced it. By now, there was a desperate need of a prophet from God, but was there one left after all Athalia had done?
Scene 3… Enter Joel
God sent Joel with a message, which endangered his life. Consider the situation...On the throne was a murderer, who had already murdered the rightful heirs to the throne, so Joel must have thought that being a prophet was a big ask! The background may help us respect these prophets. In spite of the real and present danger, Joel brought a message from God that the people must put things right urgently.
All this time, Joash was still growing up in the temple. So, a plan was devised to replace the murdering pagan queen with him. Joash who was the rightful heir, would be made king. And so it was that in about 852 BC at the age of seven, Athalia was overthrown by the coronation of the rightful King, Joash, and he reigned for 40 years.
Scene 5...Unintended consequences
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story - and it wasn’t a happy ending. Although Joash went down as a good king, he died aged 47 because he fought the wrong battle. The northern king persuaded Joash to help him fight against an army that was simply passing through the northern territory. The problem was, that God was behind that army’s march, as He was using them to punish another nation for their cruelty, which meant marching through northern Israel. The pride of the northern king got in the way by planning to beat that army back to where they came from.
After Joash was asked to help, he didn’t ask God first before giving his answer. As a result, Joash ended up fighting against God’s plans and died fighting the wrong battle. He was sincere, but he was sincerely wrong. He died fighting against the plans of God, who he had been living to serve. Having come to the throne by a miracle, in this action thriller, he came to a sticky end by not asking God before he made a fatal decision. Satan tricked him in spiritual warfare.
Thought for the day...
Joash made it to the throne by the miraculous intervention of God. By not keeping his eyes fixed on God he was tricked. He spoiled the legacy he could have left behind, simply by fighting the wrong battle. If Joash had advisers like Joel by his side, he probably would NOT have listened to the northern king, as his heart was in the right place. Then he would not have died fighting the wrong battle in an unholy alliance.
For Joash, the mistake was a physical battle; - but for us the wrong battle might be spiritual. The Bereans were praised for checking Scripture first, to see if they were being taught correctly. We might believe we are right just because we grew up believing something, but we need to read the Bible for ourselves to see what God says, and not trust in man.
At Pentecost Peter quotes Joel 2:28ff in Acts 2:17ff, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people…’ It’s worth reading the whole passage. Peter finishes by quoting Joel 2:32 in Acts 2:21, ‘And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved’.
The new thing that God was bringing about for us was prophesied by Joel 800 hundred years before Jesus died on the cross. Quite apart from telling the Israelites to put things right, God used Joel to tell anyone who would listen, of His special plan allowing us to get right with Him. God’s offer is made to everyone, but it’s up to us individually to respond. No-one can do that for us - including parents. Christening is parental action. It is not individuals “calling on the name of the LORD”, as Joel says. After we repent and then get baptised, God responds with His Holy Spirit, Peter says in Acts 2:38. Why not taste and see that the LORD is good.
I’m John Dunning and that’s ‘Thoughtful Thoughts’ for another week.
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