25th June - 2 Chronicles 22

This devotional is penned by Mark Jones

When Evil is Wiped Out … Sort Of

In today’s reading we meet King Ahaziah. Ahaziah reigned in the kingdom of Judah during the period of the divided kingdom. A period of time after Solomon reigned when the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms, one in the north named Israel, the other in the south was named Judah. Ahaziah had a short reign as king, one that lasted only a year in length. Today’s reading covers his whole reign as king, a reign that is summarised in two short paragraphs, 9 verses in all. This short period highlights that this king wasn’t one to be dwelt on for too long. However, his brevity as king and the lack of detail surrounding his reign actually makes him stand out.

The reason the Bible shows us as to why Ahaziah’s reign was cut short is because he followed in the ways of Ahab. If you know your Old Testament history you will probably have heard that name before. Ahab, in the eyes of God, was a profoundly wicked man, so much so that we see him described as a king who did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any other king before him (1 Kings 16:30). Many others followed his lead according to the Bible. Ahaziah was just one in a long line of people to do so. What we see in today’s reading is that God ordained Ahaziah’s downfall as king.

In the context of the passage, we see Ahaziah going to war against Syria with Jehoram. Jehoram was the King of Israel and the son of Ahab. According to scripture, both Ahaziah and Jehoram were wicked kings, and what we see in 2 Chronicles 22:5-6 is that Jehoram (being referred to as Joram) was injured in the battle with the Syrian King, Hazael. What happens in the following verses is that God ordains Jehu and his men to capture Ahaziah and put him to death for his crimes. Resulting in nobody from Ahaziah’s family being able to take the throne as king.

What we see next is a short snippet, but it’s worth noting. Athalliah who was the mother of Ahaziah takes the throne, and she decides to kill all of Ahaziah’s sons. However, one, Joash, is stolen away by Jehoshabeath and kept safe from this and is kept with her and her family for the next six years. I won’t try and give away too many spoilers, but let’s just say that Joash’s protection serves him well and he turns out to be a Godly king who did right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 12:2).

So what can we take away from this today? There’s a lot of information here in a very short space of text. In fact we see close to a decade being covered in less than 15 verse. There’s certainly a lot of information we can take in here, but we have to remember that history is His story. So we need to look at what God is trying to convey through this account. Simply put, I think what God is trying to convey to us here is that wickedness will be judged and punished. I’ve mentioned it before, but punishment isn’t something we often like to talk about in culture today. But it is necessary for it to take place as God is a God of justice. So it is important for us to remember that justice will be seen in the end. Now, while we don’t see it here in today’s reading, we can rest in the confidence that through justice comes grace. If you read a little further ahead, we see this in the life of Joash. Ultimately, we see this in Jesus Christ. The cross represents judgement, it is a form of punishment, one that Christ took upon Himself in order to pay the price we should for our sins, our crimes against God. We can rest firmly in the knowledge that justice goes hand in hand with grace. Justice must and will be done, but grace is also there for us all. And grace is not a cop-out by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it is a second chance to follow in the ways of God and to do His will. The question for us today, is have we taken God up on that offer? It is an offer open to us all.

May God bless the reading of His word.

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