2 Chronicles 24:1-2 – Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest
There is a phrase that runs through the Old Testament that is a testimony of people’s lives. The phrase is: [he] did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of his life. Dozens of times we read how mighty men and women (particularly Kings) did right in the sight of the Lord all the days of thier lives.
But look at the two verses above – what is the difference? Well this time is says that King Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord but not for all of his days, but of the Jehoiada the priest.
Look at what happens in verse 15: 15 But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old when he died. 16And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and His house. Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. 18Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass.
What happened? Immediately after the death of Jehoiada, Joash turned from the Lord. While the Jehoiada the priest was alive we note that Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord (verse 2), he restored the house of the Lord (verses 4&5) and he reversed the evil effects of Athaliah (verses 6&7). These were all good things. But after Jehoiada the priest died we note that Joash only did evil: he abandons the house of the Lord (verse 18), he worshipped idols (verse 18), he rejected the prophets (verses 19) and killed Zechariah (verse 21).
Do you see the pattern? In the presence of Jehoiada, Joash’s behaviour was good, but after Jehoiada had died, Joash’s behaviour was wicked. The problem for Joash was that his motivation for pleasing the Lord wasn’t just to please the Lord.
It reminds me of a saying that someone told me once – you are the person you are alone with the Lord and not anyone else. The question for me is: Who am I really: the person in public or when I am alone? When I am alone, what motivates me to do what is right? Am I more influenced by the Lords presence or by others presence?