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July 7, Day 189 – Who’s In Charge Here?

In 2 Kings 12:1-14:22, we observe that the reigns of Joash, Amaziah, and later, Azariah and Jotham - all good kings - provided a breath of fresh air for the Jews in Judah at a time of awful evil all around them in Israel. Today we come to the reign of Joash – the boy king – as we see the continued succession of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Both kingdoms are operating under the stresses and threats of Aramean domination by Hazael, the king of Aram. We see that Joash “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (verse 2). Joash became concerned about the state of the temple, and he instructed the priests to “collect monies to be used to repair whatever damage is found in the temple” (verses 4-5). However, after “twenty-three years, the priests still had not repaired the temple” (verse 6), so Joash told Jehoiada to install a new system for collections, and, as sufficient funds came in, to pay the workmen for repairs. Interestingly, no accounting for the money was required because “the workers acted with complete honesty” (verse 15). At this time, Hazael “turned to attack Jerusalem, but Joash sent the temple gold to him and he withdrew from Jerusalem” (verses 17-18). In chapter 13, we see the reign of Jehoahaz – king of Israel. Jehoahaz, like all the other kings of Israel, was wicked, for which reason, “the LORD kept him under the power of Hazael” (verse 3), who basically decimated his army (verse 7). Jehoahaz was followed by his son, Jehoash, who also “did evil in the eyes of the LORD” (verse 11). Little of substance is recorded about him. Next, before the death of Elisha, we see his command that Jehoash “strike the ground with arrows” (verse 18). He struck the ground only three times – foreshadowing his defeat of and victory over the Arameans no more than three times (verse 25). Elisha’s miracles continued even after his death, as we see that a dead man was thrown into his tomb, but upon touching Elisha’s bones, the man was raised up alive (verses 20-21). In chapter 14:1-22, we see the reign of Amaziah. Although he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, his challenge to Jehoash was foolish – ending in his capture, property destruction, loss of resources, and a conspiracy against him which led to his death. This situation reveals that even good leaders do foolish things.

Psalm 81:1-7 calls us to “sing for joy to God our strength.” Singing elevates our hearts and souls, and it is a form of praise that we should frequently direct toward our Creator, Who is the Source and Strength of our very being. He enables us to sing. We have been created to praise and worship God - that’s our purpose for existing – so singing to God should occupy a good portion of our waking lives.

In Acts 25:1-22, we see Paul’s continued defense against his Jewish accusers before Festus, who responds much in the same way as Felix did. True to form, Paul’s accusers “brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove” his guilt (verse 7). As a Roman citizen facing unjust accusations, Paul had every right to appeal to Caesar, and at this point, we see God’s providential hand in sovereignly establishing in His eternal plan before the foundation of the world Paul’s Roman citizenship - because God intends to use Paul mightily at Rome. Earlier, we saw that Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews (cf., Acts 24:27), and here in verses 13-22, we see that Festus also “wished to do the Jews a favor” (verse 9). We respectfully ask – why all these favors? Really, who is in charge here? Usually, favors in politics smack of corruption; is that not the case here? Will Paul actually get justice? Festus openly admitted that “he was at a loss to investigate these matters” (verse 20). However, we know that neither Festus nor Agrippa – like so many politicians – will act justly on Paul’s behalf because they are merely political pawns concerned with nothing more than serving their own self-interests. Festus should have “investigated these matters” more carefully. This situation reveals that bad leaders also do foolish things.

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I always taught Bible students and congregants that believers are leaders whether they want to be or not. Good leaders or bad leaders; leaders none the less. Great reflections. Thank you for your hard work.


Great post! All human leaders are fallible, no matter their intentions. In the back of my mind, I’ve also wondered about the favors these Roman leaders wanted to offer the Jewish people and have thought: why? People in power don’t offer favors unless they’re getting something in return. There’s more to the story!

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