Johoiada made a positive mark on God’s people during a period of time when Judah direly needed strong, godly leadership. For our purposes, we will focus our attention on the historical record of 2 Chronicles 22-24. What do we note about Jehoiada?
When Athaliah, the wicked daughter of Abab, ruthlessly killed her grandsons so she could rule over Judah, Jehoiada’s wife, Jehoshabeath, hid young Joash. The youngster was both Athaliah’s grandson and Jehoshabeath’s nephew. For six years, Jehoiada and his wife saw to it that Joash was safe in the house of God (2 Chronicles 22:10-12).
In the seventh year, “Jehoiada strengthened himself” (23:1) and led the people in putting evil Athaliah to death and anointing seven-year old Joash as king (23:1-21). His action was not motivated by greed or a thirst for personal power. Rather, he saw the wickedness that Athaliah brought on Judah, and he knew that for the nation’s good, spiritual corruption must be eliminated. That is still true in the church as well (1 Corinthians 5:13).
The Bible says that Jehoiada showed kindness to King Joash (24:22). When you have kind people in positions of leadership, that is a great example for the rest of God’s servants. When you have rudeness instead of kindness and compassion, any proper actions are nullified by a lack of proper attitude.
How did Jehoiada influence King Joash? “Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (24:2). Sadly, that changed after the priest’s death. Two quick reminders: (1) Sometimes you can persuade people to do what is right in God’s sight, but you can never control their hearts; (2) One godly person can have a widespread influence. Jehoiada was such a man. He was in position to wield a good influence and he did.
During Joash’s reign, Jehoiada led the priests and Levites in carrying out a massive renovation of the temple (24:4-14). The people rejoiced at the opportunity to give to this cause (24:10) and the workers who handled the money labored faithfully. When there is strong leadership, the people are happy to help, and if they are honest in their efforts, great things can happen among God’s people. Yet, doing renovation on a material building (like repairs on the temple) cannot change the hearts of people. Even though the temple was an amazing structure, maintaining a pure and honest heart had to come from within a person, not from outward stimulus.
Following Jehoiada’s death at the age of 130, Judah left God and His house and began to serve idols (24:15-18). No, Jehoiada’s righteous efforts were not wasted. Yet we must not forget that the good spiritual status of one person cannot guarantee what will happen among God’s people after his demise.
— Roger D. Campbell