As an introduction to this devotion, please read the Bible Love Note Joash: Good King, Bad King.
We find the story of Joash in 2 Chronicles 23-24. His early life was tragic: His evil grandmother killed her family members in order to take the throne. She wanted to kill one-year-old Joash.
But Joash's life also included incredible favor and protection. His aunt secretly hid him. She and the priest Jehoiada raised him in the Lord, reestablished his position as king, and helped him restore Israel to God.
Joash became an incredibly good king. He tore down the pagan altars, restored the temple, and reinstated worship in the temple of God.
"Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest." 2 Chronicles 24:2
Then Johoiada died, and Joash became an evil king, abandoning the temple of the Lord and leading Israel back into pagan worship. When Jehoiada's son prophesied against these ungodly practices, Joash had him killed.
We are shocked to read his story. But I have seen similar situations in the lives of modern Christians when friends or family members walk away from their Christian roots and bitterly criticize the faith they once embraced.
The ex-vangelical movement is our modern "Joash movement." Despite the fact that ex-vangelicals claim to believe in a more loving and gracious Jesus than Bible-believing Christians, they turn against Christian family members, bitterly stereotyping, slandering and mistreating them. And they reject clear teachings of Scripture in order to fit in with modern culture.
What we can learn from the story of Joash:
1. Don't let the "Joashes" in life derail your faith.
When family members turn from their faith, it can be devastating, especially when they criticize, mistreat, or cut off relationships with those who love them.
When respected Bible teachers and preachers fall away, it can be confusing and disappointing.
God warns us in Scripture that this will happen. He wants us to understand that people may fall away and times of persecution may come, but in His power and love we can stand firm.
Matthew 24:9-14: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
These situations test our faith and let us know that we love God more than anyone or anything else.
Luke 14:26: "If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple."
No matter what happens in our lives we have this wonderful assurance:
Hebrews 13:5: [God] has said, "I WILL NEVER [under any circumstances] DESERT YOU [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], NOR WILL I FORSAKE or LET YOU DOWN or RELAX MY HOLD ON YOU [assuredly not]!" Amplified Bible
As Moses assured Joshua:
Deuteronomy 31:8: "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
2. Prepare your heart and mind to stand firm in God's truth.
We must not underestimate, ignore, excuse, or explain away God's commands.
Romans 1:16: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."
Mark 8:38: "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Prepare your hearts and minds, dear Christians. The time is coming when our words may be censored, but we must never be ashamed of God's Word and His loving commands. I believe that in the next few years, Christian blogs will be banned from social media platforms. That's one reason I am encouraging my readers who read Bible Love Notes devotions on social media to get a subscription to Bible Love Notes and Bite Size Bible Study.