FORSAKE AND BE FORSAKEN
Date: May 10
Category: Follow God
2 Chronicles 24:20b
"Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you."
King Joash was about seven years old when he became king, and he reigned for about forty years. So, when he was about forty-seven years old, he died. As a little boy, he listened to the priests of that time. He did what the priests told him to do, such as things that were necessary to build the kingdom of God. He rebuilt and re-established the kingdom quite well, and while he was doing all of that, he was following the Lord.
The priest, who was training Joash, was named Jehoiada. But there came a time when Jehoiada died of old age [verse 15]. After Jehoiada died, Joash stopped obeying God. Instead, he decided to listen to the princes that came to him. It says in verse 17, "…the princes of Judah came and made obeisance to King Joash; then the king hearkened to them." As a result, he forsook the Lord and Judah began worshipping other idols and doing wicked things. So God sent a prophet to persuade Joash and all of Judah to repent. But Joash didn't want to listen. So the prophet said to him, "Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you" [verse 20b]. This verse teaches us that in order for Joash to prosper, he had to obey God's commandments. Unfortunately, he chose not to. He chose to transgress those commandments and go his own way. In fact, he even stoned the prophet, the servant of God, who God sent. Because he chose to disobey God, God did not prosper him. Because he chose to forsake God, God forsook him.
As a result of such disobedience and such wickedness, God sent the Syrian army to destroy Judah. Verse 23 says, "…the army of Syria came up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem and destroyed all the princes from among the people and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus." The Syrians took away all the great things Judah had and killed all their princes. Not only that, but notice what it says in verse 24. "Though the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, the Lord delivered a very great host into their hands, because Joash and Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers. So the Syrians executed judgment against Joash." The Syrian army wasn't even large and yet Judah was destroyed.
Sometimes you can be so secure in yourself, thinking that nothing bad could ever happen to you. But if you walk in disobedience to God, God can send something very small and very minor into your life and it could destroy everything. We see a clear example of that here in the story of Joash. Not only was Joash's kingdom ruined, but he also became ill and his own servants conspired against him and killed him [verse 25].
This is a very sad story in the Bible. But we can learn something from this example. You and I have to make choices everyday. We either decide to obey God or we decide not to. But we can see clearly from Joash's example that obeying God leads to prosperity. If we disobey Him, there is no way we can prosper. No matter what we try to do, we will never prosper without God. He could send something very tiny our way and that little thing could block us from our prosperity. So, there is no way you and I can prosper if we work against God. God wants us to obey Him and do what pleases Him. When we do that, we are going to prosper.
This example of Joash shows that you can start faithful but not finish faithful. You could lose everything you've built just by turning away from God. It's a reminder that we cannot live on yesterday. Everyday is a new opportunity to serve God. If we do that, God will bless us. If we don't, then there is no way we can prosper because the punishment of God comes. So decide today that you're going to follow God.