King Joash’s Apostasy

Open Your Bible

2 Chronicles 23:1-21, 2 Chronicles 24:1-27, Psalm 2:10-12

In David Lishman’s article,  “Only God is Great,” he writes that in 1715, France’s Louis XIV died.  Louis, who had named himself the “Sun King,” wanted others to dramatize his greatness upon his death. So he wrote orders for the cathedral to be dimly lit. The only light would be a candle over the coffin. 

On the day of his funeral, he was laid in an awe-inspiring cathedral with his corpse encased in a golden casket. His body, cold. His breath, empty. Thousands were in attendance, and they awaited Bishop Massilon’s speech. To begin, the bishop slowly reached down, snuffed out the candle, and said, “Only God is great!”

Indeed, only God is great. But sometimes, like King Louis, we want to feel great ourselves. I wonder how different Israel’s history might have been if Joash, king of Israel, had kept God’s greatness in view—instead of succumbing to those who lauded King Joash’s greatness (2 Chronicles 24:1–18). 

It’s mind-boggling how a ruler could swing to such extremes. He was the baby rescued from the tip of the sword, a king in the line of David—just as God promised (2Samuel 7:16). He was practically raised by a Levitical priest, Jehoiada, and led the restoration of God’s temple. He was a God-worshiping king.

But then pride and flattery turned him into a prophet-killer. As soon as the priest, Jehoiada, died, wicked men laid a lure for the king. They paid homage to him. We can imagine what they might have said or given the king as gifts—was it camels? Gold? Oils, perhaps? Did they tell him how wonderful he was and how he needed to make his own rather than follow God’s law? Whatever they said, it enticed King Joash to abandon everything: God’s temple, God’s priests, and God’s law (2Chronicles 24:18). King Joash became an idol worshiper. 

But before we throw the king under the chariot, we might think about our own hearts. Are we just an homage away from turning our backs on living for God? Do we depend on social media likes or job promotions to validate our worth? Some days the number of times I check social media, compared to the number of times I pray, shows where my heart pays homage.

Not only does our loyalty to God affect our own hearts, but how we live for God—or not—impacts others. My dad used to say, “If you love someone, you take care of yourself.” Because what we do affects all those around us. In Joash’s case, His faithfulness at the beginning of His reign blessed Israel, but then his unfaithfulness brought trouble.  

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42 thoughts on "King Joash’s Apostasy"

  1. Amy EB says:

    I gave up social media for Lent because I found myself checking Instagram frequently throughout the day, just mindlessly scrolling whenever I wasn’t actively engaged in something else. But I still struggle to just let my mind be still during those quiet moments and now instead of Instagram I check a newsfeed (I believe someone else mentioned this as well) or look for things I “need” from Amazon. So while I don’t use social media for validation I do let it as well as other sources take my time and mental energy instead of just letting my mind be. I had a long car ride by myself today, and as my mind wandered and I thought about some recent events, I thought about what it means for things to happen for a reason, why God is the only sure thing we can count on, how I might explain certain events to someone who was not a believer. Those are some of the places my mind could go if I weren’t always trying to find something to scroll through on my phone.

  2. Ashley Brei says:

    So interesting. Never thought of that perspective.

  3. Alexis Adams says:


  4. Terri Baldwin says:

    Pride took over Joash and he succumbed to his greatness verses God’s greatness.

  5. Anne S says:

    Just a note to help avoid confusion: Joash was the king of Judah, not the king of Israel.
    This day’s reading was certainly a challenge to us to be sure we are pointing those we are leading to God and His principles.

  6. Claire B says:

    Victoria E, so many parents feel your stress. I still remember taking my daughter and when she took my grandsons. It is so hard. Prayers for your peace.

  7. Claire B says:


  8. Victoria E says:

    Rebecca W- praying for your son’s interview. Sarah D praying for your job situation as well. Searching, praying for your travel today. Sisters if I could ask for prayer for me and my family- I have been really anxious thinking about sending our 1 year old to daycare in May- both for him and for us! Please pray that God will protect him from the worst illnesses that are there and that he will thrive there and not have to miss too many days. Please pray for my peace of mind as we approach this transition for him. Thank you !

  9. Cee Gee says:

    DOROTHY, excited and anxious, right?! Prayers for baby George, mom, and dad, and for you, too. Healing prayers for mom and George!

  10. Jeanie Mclellan says:


  11. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Congratulations Dorothy! I will be praying for the health of your grandson and daughter. I’m sure you are feeling all of the emotions; excitement, anxiety, and joy.

  12. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Just today I was trying looking to others for validation, and I felt God tell me that he is the only one who I should be living for. It can be so hard to only love for God’s approval. I pray I would be able to do that.

  13. Rebecca W says:

    Dear sisters, I’m back to ask for prayer for my son who has a job interview tomorrow. He struggles with anxiety, so please ask the Lord to calm his soul and give him the confidence he needs. He has been through so much. Thank you so, so much!

  14. Erica Chiarelli says:

    Wow, it’s so sad to see these kings NOT follow God or start so good but eventually turn their back on Him! It’s hard! But I have done it, we all have…I pray that I would NOT be prone to wander or leave the God I love!

  15. AZ Walker says:

    I am really good about staying away from social media and just checking once every week or two, but my weakness is with reading too much news in my email and my apps. Praying for many here, Dorothy’s grand baby George, Sarah D’s upcoming interview, safety for Searching’s trip, all our loved ones coming to the Lord and keeping the faith.

  16. Josie Newby says:


  17. Josie Newby says:

    I want to be far more humble, God, only You are great! Everything good is from the Lord, I can produce no good on my own.

  18. Dorothy says:

    Sisters, I want to start with a prayer request, by the time some of you read this I will be a grandma, yes I’m ecstatic but he wasn’t supposed to come for another 2-4 weeks. The doctors are going to do a c-section on my daughter-in-law sometime today because of blood pressure problems and the beginning of pre-eclampsia. Baby George is fully developed but he more than likely is under weight and will have to spend time in the neonatal ICU. Please pray that all goes well and he grows well.

    Seana commented on how her father told by taking care of herself she helps to care for others. I can remember my father telling me the same thing. I can also remember my parents walking the Christian walk. When my siblings and I were young we had to go to church every Sunday but when we reached our teenage and young adult years we were allowed to choose. My parents went every Sunday. When we were on vacation we would find a church to go most of the time. I can also remember taking a trip with my maternal grandparents for a couple of weeks and we went to church while on vacation. Yes, I know that may seem strange but my father would say, “We need to worship Christ wherever we go.” I also remember see both of my parents sitting reading a devotion and their Bibles sometime during the day. My mom always did it in their bedroom but my dad did it in the living room. He would leave his Bible and devotional book out on the end table — he WAS NOT ASHAMED for people to see it. I hope to be like him with my grandson.

    Be blessed and NEVER EVER be ashamed of your faith and belief in God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

    Sorry I rambled but I guess I’m anxious.

  19. Laurel says:

    TRICIA CAVANAUGH–excellent point–Joash showed that his trust was not in God but in Jehoiada. How often do we teach/lecture/encourage others to act without explaining or providing the foundation from which to think and act on their own? I have seen similar behaviors in students who are overly supported and then collapse once they graduate and are tasked with the primary decision making role.

  20. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    I want to know God myself. I want to learn more about Him and not take just what people say, but be in His word, and studying God’s word, and sharing and learning from others who know God also.

  21. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    In my NLT study Bible, there is an excerpt about Joash. One of the things that says is that he never had a chance to make his own decisions while Jehoiada was alive. So when it came time for him to make his own decisions, he had not truly trusted in God. He was trusting in Jehoiada, and didn’t  really know God. He listened to the counsel of the next thing that came along. I pray that I would instruct my grandchildren but also allow them to realize God for themselves and not just push it down their throat so that when I’m not around, they don’t want to have anything to do with Him.

  22. lisa chapek says:

    Lord, may we as parents summon our courage like Jehoiada to protect our children from the enemy who would destroy their lives and God given destiny. Grant us insight and humility to turn away from false worship in our hearts and return to honor Your ways in our lives and families. May we heed your warnings and post guard over our hearts and families against the enemy and ways of this world. We bring the hearts of our children before You. May they respond to Your call for themselves and not just depend on our faith. May they desire to honor You with their lives. Teach us how to continually keep ourselves from pride and give us Holy Spirit empowered moments to teach them how to keep themselves from pride. Give us greater awareness of how Your working in them so that we can join You there. Keep us from getting so caught up in the fight that we forget Whose in control and what we’re fighting for. If our children have gone astray, may we first lean in to Your mercy that even when Your wrath was on Your people for turning away from You, You still continued to send prophets to admonish them. Send prophets to our children when we are not with them. We ask that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes and bring them to their senses. Rescue them, Father from the strongholds of the family line and from wicked advisors. May they remember the kindness You have extended to them and May it lead them to repentance.

  23. Allison Bentley says:

    Joash’s life was saved by God, as a young man he was raised by a God fearing priest- its safe to say that God was a part of the kings life yet even he was so easily swayed! The devil is at work all day everyday- Lord I pray that we STAY connected to you, stand up for You and be the example of Your love for others! Amen!

  24. Cheryl Blow says:

    Keep my heart pure and focused on you, Lord! Tear down any idols in my life! It’s easy to be critical of others but if we look at our lives through God’s eyes, what might stand between Him and our relationship with Him?

  25. Cee Gee says:

    JOASH is proof that we need to know where our heart is and WHERE AND WITH WHOM WE STAND. We can’t rely on another person’s faith to save us. Powerful example and reminder.

    Praying in agreement with your prayer requests. Safe travel, SEARCHING, and for wisdom/insight for your friend’s doctor. Healing for you, RHONDA J, and victory for you, SARAH J and MICHELLE PATIRE. MOLLY R, for your heart and your siblings as you deal with the task ahead.

  26. Amy Adams says:

    Amen to that! I also have to reign myself in and use that very same expression. lol. Accountability is so important

  27. Amy Adams says:

    I am praying for you now. The Lords plan will prevail! God bless! ♥️

  28. Cynthia Dena says:


  29. Traci Gendron says:

    I have said so many times to those I love, “If you love someone, you take care of yourself.” It is so true.

    Today’s readings made me think of those that run our country. How self gets in the way too often. We really are not much different today than Biblical times. How sad when we have God’s word to teach us and to follow. I pray I keep my eyes up were they belong!

  30. Rhonda J. says:

    Ouch is right! Oh how easily we can fall away from God. It’s sad. I remember when I used to go to fb first thing..not really with an urgency to see what friends were up to, but more out of habit like looking at a newspaper in the morning with your coffee. That changed back in 2015 after my mother died, and I was reflecting on her wisdom, and knowing that it came from her love for God and diligent bible reading each morning. So then I began reading my bible daily (trying) but I must admit it was hard to grasp on my own. Luckily I found SRT which is a God send (lol) that helps us do systematic studies that keep us in God’s WORD daily! Wow. Life-changing! (thinking on that, I submit that each one of us post today on social media (if we are on, good for you all that are not!!!) a link to SRT so someone else might know the blessing of it!)

    If we stay in the word, we are less likely to turn away from our Sovereign, Almighty, Father God. We can be fickle and emotional, but if we stand on the solid rock, we will not fall!! Hallelujah!!

    Prayers for each one of you She’s!
    @Sarah D- So excited for you and I think you will get this job at the pre-school, I knew it when you said it! God’s favor will be on you!
    @Searching- Safe travels, prayer sent up that an angel will be beside you.
    @Molly R- Thinking of you as you go through the cleaning and sorting. We did that at my parent’s house after my mom passed and it was so hard. I love that your siblings and you are keeping close during this time when many siblings end up squabbling and division happens.

  31. Rebecca W says:

    What are my idols? Too many to mention! I have to constantly rein myself in and ask forgiveness and return my focus to Him. But as I read about Joash I was shocked when Joash turned on God. I had to go back and reread it. I thought he was one of the good kings! But as soon as his mentor (priest) was gone he went off the deep end! Another good reason to have believing family or friends for accountability. Prayers for all to keep the faith! ❤️
    @Searching- praying for safe travels today and lifting your friend for a good report.

  32. Michelle Patire says:

    @Sarah D- excited to see where this journey takes you!

    I was just thinking in prayer last night how easily the kings turned their backs from God when they were “strengthened and established” – – these passages say the same. Jehoiada was like the unofficial king. He helped lead Judah and when he passed , they went astray, and King Joash led the nation to its demise. I echo the prayers of other Shes this morning. Help us, Lord, not to wander when life gets comfortable and people bless us to our face. May our hearts remember we are not You and all things come from You. How easily we can be swayed.

  33. Sarah D. says:

    Good morning ladies! Back at work today. Trying to keep a positive attitude and do my best, but it is hard. I did get a call from a job I applied for and I have an interview as a preschool teaching assistant on Monday! Looking forward to that. Praying the Lord’s will be done and to have endurance in my current job. I feel like my performance in my current job is struggling to stay the best, but I am trying to push through. Still want to do my best and leave this job well when it comes time. Thank you for your prayers!

  34. Danielle B says:

    I had already been processing how the Israelites followed God, turned away, suffered, and repented over and over again and how I easily let walls down when life is going well and become distracted from the truth, only to realign with God, the Seanna made the social media comment. Ouch is right @Tina. May I be mindful and focus on the one true God.

  35. Aimee D-R says:

    Father forgive my pride! You alone are Holy, You alone are the Most High! Please lead my life, less of me, more of You. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen

  36. Elaine Morgan says:

    Help me to be faithful Lord Jesus! I can do nothing without you!! How does anyone make it through life without the Lord?

  37. Tara B says:

    Loving God allows us to love others better. May we love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul. And may our devotion to the Lord and God’s Word allow us to love and serve others better than the day before.

  38. Searching says:

    Seana’s comment “mind-boggling” is just what I was thinking. What an about face from blessing to disaster. Lord, guide us daily, by the minute even, to keep our focus on you, to be aware of our words and actions and the effect (positive or negative) we have on others.

    Requesting prayers for driving-traveling safety today as I make a one day – there and back – trip. And also for my friend – for her follow up appointment to find out if they will be able to help her heart issues.

    KELLY (NEO) – Shannon’s mom is doing a whole lot better, and has even been able to work some again on a part time basis. Praise the Lord!

    RHONDA J – praising for being able to ease off the crutches

    MICHELLE PATIRE – praising for your victory

    SARAH D – praying for your interview and the Lord’s strength and guidance for you.

    KIMBERLY Z – ❤️

    CARLY LEWIS – praying for your dilemma and that the Lord would reveal His solution

  39. Erica Wilson says:

    Wow- what a sober reminder. If I am not firmly, continually anchored in God through Jesus, I will do the same as Joash and “abandon everything” in homage to my idols. Lord God, please please “bind my wandering heart to Thee!”

  40. TIna says:

    SEANNA SCOTT, I felt the sting of thst read… ouchhhhh!

    Re-aligning my heart this morning..

    Thank you..

    Counting the blessings I have in each of you dear hearts.. hugs wrapped, always in love..❤❤

  41. Kelly (NEO) says:

    Without a godly influence in his life, Joash was easily swayed by evil influences and turned from God and His voice through the prophet. Even with the Holy Spirit WITHIN us, we can be easily swayed too. Oh, but for God’s kindness and mercy toward me!

    SARAH D – excited for you!

  42. Mary Ann Graves says:

    And Amen