2 Chronicles 22:10-12, 2 Kings 11:1-3
One of the hardest things to do in life is raise children. First, we are not prepared for what we will have to face. Each child is different -- coming in a similar package but with completely different insides! We love them and raise them the best that we can, hoping that when the time arrives for them to leave home, that they will be mature and ready to face this cruel world.
After the death of King Ahaziah, his mother Athaliah responded in vengeance by seeking to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, King Jehoram’s daughter and King Ahaziah’s sister, saw what was happening and devised a plan. She took Joash, the infant son of Ahaziah, and hid him and his nurse in a bedroom. Later she brought the child to the Temple and hid him there for six years so Athaliah couldn’t harm him.
The Bible says that we have an enemy who prowls around us like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1Peter 5:8). This enemy not only seeks to devour us, but also our children. While our children are young, God gives us the responsibility to raise them well. In other words, we need to learn to act like Jehosheba and hide them from the enemy. We need to put them in a safe place, where they can grow in God’s knowledge and receive His unconditional love. The time will come when they will leave our homes and our protection; and that time will come sooner than we think! God wants us to be wise and understand that our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, the powers of this dark world, and against the evil forces in the spiritual realms. Therefore, we have to put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, we will be able to stand our ground (Eph 6:12). We have a very important responsibility in raising our children, and our first job is to prepare them early so that when the time arrives they will also be able to be warriors -- young men and women that fear God and know how to stand up against the enemy’s plans.
Jehosheba was not Joash’s mother but she did the job of every Sunday school teacher and woman who works with children. She protected him against Athaliah and her plans. Perhaps you are not seeing the results of your hard labor now, whether it be in your church or in the school where you work, but allow me to encourage you to keep putting our children in the safe arms of our Lord. Tomorrow, we will have better leaders and better Christ-followers, thanks to you. Whether you are a mother, or a spiritual mother to children, the Lord can use you to change lives. Please do not give up; the next generation is in your hands!
When studying the life of Jehosheba, it’s helpful to get some context from the other chapters of 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings. Jehosheba was the daughter of Jehosephat, a descendant of King David and an overall good king of Judah. The Bible says that Jehosephat did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but did not fully remove the idols in Judah (2 Chron 20:32-33). In the books of Kings and Chronicles, the kings are “ranked” by how obedient they are to God. Did they do what was right in the eyes of the Lord? Did they remove idols and restore worship? Or did they do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord and encourage idolatry? Jehosheba’s grandfather on her dad’s side was a good king, but her father proceeded to do everything differently. Jehoram married Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab (king of Israel and husband of Jezebel). Ahab is known for being one of the worst kings in all of Israel’s history, and his daughter was no better. Jehosheba’s parents – Jehoram and Athaliah – led the people of Judah far away from the Lord. Jehoram killed all of his brothers and reintroduced idolatry. The Lord was so angry with Jehoram that He sent armies against Jehoram and then struck Jehoram with a deadly bowel disease!
In spite of having terrible, violent, evil parents, Jehosheba chose an entirely different path for her life. While the rest of her family was killing each other, she was married to Jehoiada, a righteous priest who served the Lord in the Temple. Here, far from political intrigue and bloodshed, Jehoaida and Jehosheba sought the Lord’s will for their own life and the future of their nation. They knew that God had promised to preserve the line of David and always keep a descendent of David on the throne (2 Chron 21:7, 23:3). This meant that God would not let Jehoram and Athaliah completely wipe out the line, and that God would redeem this now crumbling line of David. And so on faith in God’s promises, Jehosheba acted. She risked her life to hide Joash – the only remaining son of Ahaziah, and Jehosheba’s infant nephew – from the bloodlust of Athaliah. Just like a fairytale, Jehosheba rescued the son of “the promise” from the “Wicked Witch” out to destroy him. Jehosheba hides Joash in the only place he will be truly safe – in the presence of God. Here, Joash grows up with a completely new identity, as one who worships and loves God, as one who does what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
Jehosheba takes a bold risk because she has staked her life on the promises of God – the God who can redeem and restore even the darkest of situations through the promised Son of David, Jesus. Through her faith and obedience, she changes her family history and the future of her nation. Where in your life is God calling you to wholeheartedly embrace His promises? Where might He be asking you to stake everything on His character? Or where is He inviting you to partner with Him in maintaining His good promises to others?