(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
2 Chronicles 24
I’m a huge fan of The Godfather movies – especially Part II, with its incredible dynastic sweep. In Part II, Mafia kingpin Michael Corleone’s older brother Fredo betrays the family’s interest. In Havana on New Year’s Eve 1958 (the same night the Communists took over Cuba), Michael reveals his knowledge of Fredo’s disloyalty by kissing him at a party, telling Fredo, “You broke my heart.” Later on, Michael tells his brother, “You’re nothing to me.” Years later, Michael has Fredo killed for betraying the family.
King Joash is the Fredo of the royal line of Judah. He proved his disloyalty and paid the ultimate price for it.
Don’t get me wrong: things started out great for Joash. He became king at an early age, and as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive, he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (verse 2). In fact, Joash and Jehoiada enacted a sort of Old Testament capital campaign to renovate and repair the temple for the glory of God:
11 Whenever the chest was brought in by the Levites to the king’s officials and they saw that there was a large amount of money, the royal secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and carry it back to its place. They did this regularly and collected a great amount of money. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who carried out the work required for the temple of the Lord. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the Lord’s temple, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the temple. 13 The men in charge of the work were diligent, and the repairs progressed under them. They rebuilt the temple of God according to its original design and reinforced it. 14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made articles for the Lord’s temple: articles for the service and for the burnt offerings, and also dishes and other objects of gold and silver. As long as Jehoiada lived, burnt offerings were presented continually in the temple of the Lord.
Once Jehoiada died, Joash fell in with a group of royal sycophants who kissed up to him and led him astray. For the umpteenth time, detestable foreign deities became objects of worship in place of the God who created, sustained and saved His people. Needless to say, God was upset.
He sent prophets to Joash, but the king wouldn’t listen. So He sent Jehoiada’s son Zechariah to call Joash out on his blatant sin:
“This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you’” (verse 20).
The king had Zechariah killed.
The following year, Joash fell wounded in a battle against the neighboring Arameans. As he lay in his bed, a group of officials conspired to finish him off as revenge for Zechariah’s death – so they did. Joash paid the price for his disloyalty toward the priestly line as well as toward God.
Where do your loyalties lie? With God or with those who would drive a wedge between you and Him? I’m not saying you’ll be killed for turning your back on God or on Godly friends, but I never would want to hear God say to me, “You broke my heart,” or “You’re nothing to me,” as Michael did to Fredo.
I’d rather be known for my loyalty toward my Lord and toward His people.