In 2 Kings 11, the young boy, Joash, was presented to the followers of Jehovah as the only descendant of the Davidic dynasty. Chapter 12 gives the account of Joash’s rule. Joash is brought up and taught by Jehoiada, the faithful high priest presiding over the Temple in Jerusalem.
The chapter explains the good Jehoiada did on behalf of the child king to promote the return of Jehovah worship. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. Yet, Jehoiada was a politician as well as high priest and he didn’t want to ruffle too many feathers. So even though he rid the land of most of the worship of Baal, he failed to replace the sinful worship with the teachings of the Torah in its entirety. He allowed the individual family high places to exist. Many of those high places were used to worship the golden calves that had been instituted several generations ago. The altars were to substitute for the worshiping of Jehovah instead of following Torah instructions to only offer sacrifices in God’s ordained Temple in Jerusalem.
So while Jehoiada dealt with the false god, Baal, he did not teach the people to fill the void left with proper worship of God. Eventually, the worship again morphed into things that were against God’s plans and commandments, and led the people back to worshiping false gods.
The example Jehoiada gave to Joash was ultimately a poor one. It’s not “good enough” to stop doing the wrong things. That just leaves a void that needs to be filled with something else. The task of restoring Israel was incomplete. Joash did not learn to follow God above all else. He never really came to know God the way God wanted His kings to know Him. Jehoiada did not instill in Joash the desire to make sure Israel was again a nation devoted to God.
Jehoiada’s failure as a mentor to Joash becomes apparent quickly after Jehoiada dies. Joash quickly turns to doing what the crowd wants and reestablishes Baal worship and lays aside the worship of Jehovah. Joash even goes as far as having Jehoiada’s son stoned to death for preaching a message of warning.
As I considered this passage, two applications came to my mind. First, we need to carefully select our mentors and leaders. Those who appear to be following Scripture in some areas, but not in every respect, are not to be trusted. Eventually, as it did in Judah under king Joash, it will lead to God’s discipline – and that will not be pleasant. Note that the punishment (of exile and national ruin) was unleashed upon God’s people. God’s discipline will come upon those who call themselves saved, but fail to adhere to, promote, or be examples of the whole of the Bible.
Second, I need to do everything I can to study and apply God’s Word, and teach others to do the same, in order to be a trustworthy mentor to God’s people. I need to show others and encourage others to practice the principles and commands in Scripture. That can only be accomplished if I am willing to hear the hard truths, repent of the partial or false “truths,” and apply God’s truth to my life. I also need to challenge the easy road and lazy ways of looking at Scripture (without true application) that I see in others and myself. I see far too many people, even those who call themselves believers, who blindly follow leaders that sound good or say what they want to hear. Destruction will be our own fault when God’s punishment comes upon those of us who choose to follow what we like or what we are comfortable with, without promoting all the truths of Scripture.