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We have in this chapter the history of the reign of Joash. The death of Jehoiada. Joash falleth into idolatry. He is slain.
Precious in the sight of the Lord (we are told) is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15 . And the record which the Holy Ghost hath thought proper to make of the faithful in the sacred volume, is a blessed testimony of this truth.
It is remarkable that the parallel history of Joash in the book of the Kings doth not take so much notice of his apostacy. But what an awful thing it is, when men listen to false counselors, and are seduced under pretended friendship. In vain was the expostulation, of the prophets. In vain is the gospel preached in the present hour, when the corrupt passions of the unawakened stifle all convictions.
How lovely in the midst of such degenerate times appears this conduct of Zechariah. The imagination can hardly furnish a more amiable view than to behold faithful servants of the Lord daring to be zealous for the cause of God and of Christ, when the tide of the day is running violently against them. What a glorious evidence of faith this is, when, like Moses, men fear not the wrath of the king, because they see him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 . But Reader! while we pay all due honour to such lovely characters, let us not overlook the cause. Zechariah was thus faithful, because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Oh! blessed gift. Lord pour out of thy spirit now, we beseech thee, for the residue of the Spirit is with thee!
What an awful state is Joash fallen into! see, Reader! how faithfulness brings forth the glorious crown of martyrdom. Do you not suppose that at the last day, when Jesus comes to be glorified in his saints, his holy army of martyrs, who have really sealed the testimony of his truth with their blood, will appear with peculiar marks of distinction amidst the throng? I am inclined to think that this Zechariah is the same of whom our Lord speaks, Matthew 23:35 . For though he is said to be the son of Barachias, yet it is well known that the Jews had two names. And Jehoiada and Barachias might be one and our same person. And I am the more inclined to this opinion because our Lord's declaration concerning Zecharias in his blood being required, corresponds with what is here said by the dying prophet; the Lord look upon it, and require it; that is, he spake under the spirit of prophecy; the Lord will visit for it.
Here we have the visitation; and an awful visitation it was. It should seem that Joash not only slew Zechariah, but some other of his faithful servants children; for it is said the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest. And with what contempt was he buried! Thus died, unlamented, and disregarded, Joash.
The names of the murderers of Joash being recorded, and their Gentile stock on the mother's side springing from Ammon and Moab, seems to have been done with a view to point out the aggravated sorrow of Joash in his last moments. Not only to have died in his bed full of diseases, but under the sword of foreigners. The fear of this was what made Saul's last moments doubly distressing. 1 Samuel 31:4 .
What these burdens were the Holy Ghost hath not thought proper to record. That Joash thus died, and his son Amaziah became his successor, is the finishing part of his history. Alas! what a melancholy page it forms!
The improvements to be gathered from the perusal of this chapter seem very obvious, and as important as they are plain. In the conduct of Joash we see to what an extent men may go in carrying on the purposes of religion when outward circumstances correspond to make it their interest, while all the while rottenness at the core is in the heart. In all this outside reform how plain is it that there is no regeneration, no work of God the Spirit; no turning of the heart to God; no real regard for his honour and glory. Oh! thou blessed Spirit of truth, thou glorifier of Jesus, let thy work on my soul be manifest. Plead, I beseech thee, O Almighty Lord, with my soul, and in my soul, the cause of Jesus. By thy discoveries to my own view of sin, of unbelief, of lusts, and all the train of corrupt affections, oh! give me to see, to feel, and to be earnest in seeking after Jesus in all his fullness, suitableness, and grace, that my whole soul may be truly brought over from dead works to serve the living and true God.
In the death of Zechariah let us behold the real, solid, and substantial worth of true faith. Oh! for grace to be the followers of them who now through faith and patience inherit the promises! See my soul, what a precious testimony the Lord Jesus in ages after gave to this his faithful servant's death. And thou, who livest in happier times, and art not called upon to resist unto blood, see that thou art always ready to bear testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Like Paul, count not thy life dear unto thyself, so that thou mayest finish thy course with joy, in fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold of eternal life. Surrounded with such a cloud of witnesses, learn to run with patience the race that is set before thee, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith. Precious Lord! in all things do thou have the pre-eminency.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 24". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19