Introduction: Following God’s eradication of state-sanctioned Baal worship in Northern Israel, 2 Chronicles 23 tells how He eradicated Baal worship in Judah. Queen Athaliah was so determined to maintain her influence and Baal worship in Judah following King Ahaziah’s death that she tried to kill off all of her own male descendants. Yet, through the actions of Jehosheba, Jehoiada and priests loyal to Yahweh, God preserved a young king named Joash from Athaliah’s evil wrath. Athaliah acted under Satan’s influence. Satan will always seek to use people like Athaliah to attack you and place you under his bondage. Through this account, God reveals seven lessons for protecting yourself from Satan’s attacks. These include: (1) fellowship, (2) faithfulness, (3) sanctification, (4) repentance, (5) purity, (6) accountability, and (7) gratitude.
First, after Ahaziah’s death, Queen Athaliah seized power. To maintain her power and to maintain the Baal worship, she also tried to kill her own descendants. She acted under Satan’s influence as she tried to kill off the line of David that would lead to the Messiah. Yet, through the actions of the faithful believers named Jehosheba, Jehoiada, and the priests, God protected Joash from death. From their actions, God reveals that you should protect yourself from Satan by finding refuge in the body of Christ. Second, the men who protected Joash swore an oath of loyalty. God also wants you to protect yourself from Satan’s influences by staying faithful to Him just as He is always faithful to you. Third, after Athaliah discovered that Joash was still alive, she called the actions of Jehosheba, Joash, and the other priests treason. When you serve God, you should not expect the world to welcome and embrace your actions. Instead, you should protect yourself from Satan’s influences by being set apart from worldly things for God’s use. Fourth, God judged Athaliah because she refused to repent during her six-year reign. Unlike Athaliah, God wants you to protect yourself by repenting of sin and by fearing God by hating evil things. Fifth, after executing Athaliah, Jehoiada smashed the pagan temples that she created. Like Jehoiada, God also wants you to protect yourself by staying pure from evil influences. Sixth, Jehoiada then reinstated the Levite priests to keep the people and future kings in check. Through Jehoiada’s example, God reveals that you can protect yourself from Satan’s attacks by staying accountable to others within the Body of Christ. Finally, after Joash assumed the throne and God’s law was restored, the people rejoiced. From their example, God reveals that He wants you to protect yourself from backsliding by praising Jesus for your deliverance.
Hundreds of soldiers swear an oath to protect the young future king Joash. After seven years of hiding Joash in the Temple from Queen Athaliah’s attempts to murder him, Jehoiada, the High Priest, revealed Joash’s presence to the captains of the guards and obtained their allegiance to the young future king: “1 Now in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took captains of hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Johanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, and they entered into a covenant with him. 2 They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the heads of the fathers’ households of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. 3 Then all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And Jehoiada said to them, ‘Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord has spoken concerning the sons of David.’ 4 This is the thing which you shall do: one third of you, of the priests and Levites who come in on the sabbath, shall be gatekeepers, 5 and one third shall be at the king’s house, and a third at the Gate of the Foundation; and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. 6 But let no one enter the house of the Lord except the priests and the ministering Levites; they may enter, for they are holy. And let all the people keep the charge of the Lord. 7 The Levites will surround the king, each man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever enters the house, let him be killed. Thus be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.”’ (2 Chr. 23:1-7; 2 Kgs. 11:4-8). Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kgs. 8:26). She introduced Baal and Astarte worship to Judah (2 Kgs. 11:1-16; 2 Chr. 21:6; 22:10 - 23:15) the same way that Jezebel introduced Baal and Astarte worship to Northern Israel (1 Kgs. 16:31-33; 21:25). After Athaliah learned that her son Ahaziah had been put to death (2 Kgs. 9:27-29), she committed an unspeakable act of maternal filicide to seize power for herself (2 Kgs. 11:1-3). She reigned for 6 years from 841 to 835 B.C. (2 Kgs. 11:3). Through prayer and six years of careful preparation, the High Priest Jehoiada sought to remove the Baal-worshiping Athaliah and restore proper worship. He revealed his plan to captains of the Carites, the royal body guards who were associated with the Pelethites (2 Sam. 20:23). Each captain supervised 100 men (2 Chr. 23:1-2). Jehoiada trusted in God. Yet, he was careful to entrust his secret with soldiers who were also loyal to God. These soldiers demonstrated that were loyal to God by the fact that they came every Sabbath to the Temple to pray. By their oath of loyalty to the future king, the guards also revealed that they viewed Queen Athaliah as a pagan usurper of the throne. By meeting during the Sabbath, the high priest was able to meet with the commanders and other sympathizers without drawing attention to their planning. The loyal troops further rotated in their duty standing guard to protect the young future king in case he was discovered. They further planned to initiate their coupe on a Sabbath because two different groups of soldiers could assemble at the same time for a changing of the guard without drawing attention. They set their plan in motion during the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, in 835 B.C.
Find protection within the Body of Christ. The high priest and the captains acted together to protect Joash from death. God also offers you protection when you are connected to fellow believers: “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:25). Satan acts like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Believers are also called “sheep,” animals without natural defenses. (e.g., Jo. 21:16, 27). Lions usually attack animals that stray from the protections of the herd. Believers cannot claim to be protected within the body of Christ if they float in and out of church or only watch church online. Do you meet regularly with a small church group? Or, are you a lone ranger for Christ?
The captains of the guards faithfully keep their oaths and proclaim Joash king. The captains of the guards were faithful to keep their oaths. When the time was right, Jehoiada anointed the young king Joash, and the men swore their allegiance to him: “8 So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each one of them took his men who were to come in on the sabbath, with those who were to go out on the sabbath, for Jehoiada the priest did not dismiss any of the divisions. 9 Then Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had been King David’s, which were in the house of God. 10 He stationed all the people, each man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, by the altar and by the house, around the king. 11 Then they brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and said, ‘Long live the king!”’ (2 Chr. 23:8-11; 2 Kgs. 11:9-12). Jehoiada did several things to remind the leaders that their service was to God. First, they met and prepared on the Sabbath, a time of prayer and the study of God’s Word. Second, although the troops had their own weapons, Jehoiada reminded them that they were restoring the line of David through the distribution of the royal spears and swords that once belonged to King David. David captured them from King Hadadezer of Zobah and dedicated them (2 Sam. 8:3-12). Third, they declared the crowned king as God’s chosen king. Fourth, they gave the young king a copy of the law that God gave to Moses to guide the king’s actions (Dt. 17:18-20; Ps. 119:88). Fifth, they involved the Levite priests because the priests would be responsible for restoring true worship in Judah (2 Chr. 23:7-8). Sixth, they anointed Joash with oil, which symbolized the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 10:1; 16:13; 1 Kgs. 1:39; 2 Kgs. 9:6). Finally, they swore their allegiance to Joash as the one true king.
Be faithful because God is faithful to you. In response to God’s faithfulness, He wants you to be faithful as well. “for we walk by faith, not by sight—” (2 Cor. 5:7). “A faithful man will abound with blessings, . . .” (Prov. 28:20(a)). “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim. 1:5). “but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.” (1 Tim. 3:9). Have you stayed faithful in your walk with Jesus in both good and bad times?
Queen Athaliah learns of her grandson’s survival and the betrayal of her soldiers. When Athaliah came to the Temple for the first time in seven years, she learned that her guards had betrayed her by keeping Joash alive as the one true king: “12 When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came into the house of the Lord to the people. 13 She looked, and behold, the king was standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters were beside the king. And all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets, the singers with their musical instruments leading the praise. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and said, ‘Treason! Treason!’” (2 Chr. 23:12-13; 2 Kgs. 11:13-14). Athaliah was not alone in discovering Joash in the Temple. A large number of people gathered in response to the noise to praise the new king (2 Chron. 23:12). The fact that so many people were present suggests that this was one of the three religious ceremonies throughout the year when the people were expected to make a pilgrimage to the Temple (Dt. 16:16; Ex. 23:14; 34:24). Yet, the fact that so many were surprised by the presence of the king in the Temple also raised questions as to how many people had been worshiping in the Temple during Athaliah’s six-year reign. As the Queen approached, Jehoash stood by a pillar in the Temple (2 Kgs. 11:14). This was either the pillar Jachin or Boaz, located on the Temple’s front porch (1 Kgs 7:21; 2 Chron. 6:13). Because the Boaz pillar symbolized of God’s restoration, Joash likely stood in front of that pillar. Because the Queen was evil, no one came to her support when she cried treason. Those who oppose God will ultimately stand alone in judgment.
Don’t expect the world to love you when you serve God. Athaliah viewed any attempt to preserve the line of David and true Bible-based worship as “treason.” Jesus also warns that the world will frequently hate you when you try openly serve Him: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (Jo. 15:18-19). “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matt. 10:22). “Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, . . . An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, and he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.” (Prov. 29:10, 27). “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.” (1 Jo. 4:5). Is your faith dependent upon being praised for your actions? If so, like the people who served Athaliah, you will fear openly serving Jesus.
The Jews tolerated Athaliah’s evil for six years. If Athaliah was a Baal worshipper, some might wonder why the Jews did nothing for six years. Yet, some people become complacent living under Satan’s control. They accept his bondage because they don’t know the true freedom offered by the one true King of Kings. “For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face.” (2 Cor. 11:20). “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1). Are you tolerating any unholy influences in your life?
You cannot have divided loyalties between God and the world. For six years, most people tried to serve a Baal worshipping queen and also Yahweh. Yet, God called upon His people to be only loyal to Him. “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh. 24:15). Jesus also warns that you cannot divide your loyalties between Him and the people or things of the world: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matt. 6:24; Lk. 16:13). Are your loyalties with God divided in any area?
Don’t seek the favor of mankind if it causes you to compromise in your walk. The Apostle Paul warned: “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10). “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jam. 4:4). “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 Jo. 2:15). “but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thess. 2:4). If you love the praise of people and the honors of the world, your loyalties may also become divided.
Jehoiada and the captains execute Athaliah. After Jehoiada coronated Joash as king, he had Athaliah executed for her many wicked acts that stumbled God’s people: “14 Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were appointed over the army and said to them, ‘Bring her out between the ranks; and whoever follows her, put to death with the sword.’ For the priest said, ‘Let her not be put to death in the house of the Lord.’ 15 So they seized her, and when she arrived at the entrance of the Horse Gate of the king’s house, they put her to death there.” (2 Chr. 23:14-15; 2 Kgs. 11:15-16). Athaliah’s multiple murders carried the death penalty: “If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 24:17). “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” (Ex. 21:12; Gen. 9:5). Yet, the Levite priests made sure that Athaliah’s blood did not desecrate the holy Temple. Thus, they executed her at the entrance to the new King Joash’s palace. If any supported the Queen, they were also put to death. God judged them because they refused to repent of their sins.
Although God is slow to anger and quick to forgive, He will eventually judge sin. God delayed six years in judging Athaliah to give her a chance to repent. This shows that He is slow to anger and quick to forgive: “6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, . . .”’ (Ex. 34:6-7). “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” (Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 116:5). Jesus never changes (Heb. 13:8). He is slow to anger and quick to forgive because He wants all to come to repentance: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Ro. 2:4). Yet, because God is just (2 Thess. 1:6), He will one day judge all sin (Ps. 94:23). During the day of wrath, Jesus will come to judge the nations and His enemies (Joel 2:1; Rev. 8-9; Is. 11:4; 63:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 9:6; Ps. 110:4-7). Satan and his demons will be judged in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). Thus, every person must take sin seriously by repenting of their sin and by fearing God by hating evil things (Prov. 8:13).
Respond to God’s mercy and grace by repenting of your sins. Jesus called upon the people He met to repent and return to Him before they would experience His mercy and grace: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15). “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19). Although David frequently sinned, he showed himself to be a man after God’s own heart by repenting when confronted with his sins. For example, he would later repent when the prophet Nathan confronted him regarding his adultery and murder: “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”’ (2 Sam. 12:13). He also acknowledged his sins in his psalms for the entire country to sing: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide . . .” (Ps. 32:5). “For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.” (Ps. 51:1). David was a sinner in God’s eyes. Yet, what made David different was his willingness to come back to God when he sinned.
If you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you. During Old Testament times, when a believer became aware of their sins, the believer was required to make a “guilt” offering (Lev. 5:5). This was either a female lamb or a female goat (Lev. 5:6). If the person was poor, the sinner could offer two turtledoves or two young pigeons (Lev. 5:7-10). If the person was extremely poor, the sinner could offer “the tenth of an ephah of fine flour.” (Lev. 5:11-13). Today, you do not need to make a physical sacrifice to be forgiven. Jesus did that for you on the cross (1 Jo 2:2). He further promises to forgive you if you will confess your sins: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Will you confess you sins when the Holy Spirit reveals them to you?
Jehoiada proclaims a new covenant with God and smashes the idols of Baal. Following Queen Athaliah’s execution, Jehoiada formed a new covenant between God and the future kings to ensure that Baal worship would never again be practiced in Judah: “16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king, that they would be the Lord’s people. 17 And all the people went to the house of Baal and tore it down, and they broke in pieces his altars and his images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.” (2 Chr. 23:16-19; 2 Kgs. 11:17-18). The covenant was supposed to be renewed with each king. For example, Josiah renewed the covenant during his righteous reign (2 Kgs. 23:1-3). As part of the covenant, the people also tore down all of the Baal temples that Athaliah had built during her reign. They also killed the high priest of Baal worship, Mattan. They also restored the holy things in the Temple that Athaliah stole for Baal worship (2 Chr. 24:7). Jehu completed a similar purge of Baal worship as a sanctioned religion in Northern Israel (2 Kgs. 10:18-29).
Tolerating evil will corrupt your worship of God. Because the Jews (like most believers) were weak in their faith, God called upon them to “destroy” all of the pagan idols and influences in the Promised Land that might corrupt their worship. “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place.” (Dt. 12:1-3). “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.” (Dt. 7:5). “But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim.” (Ex. 34:13). The merger of contradictory religious practices is called “syncretism.” Like the Jews, Christians must also avoid accommodating these idols of the flesh in their lives. If you have accommodated worldly idols, repent and let the Holy Spirit renew your mind. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2).
Be pure and holy because God is pure and holy. Unlike Athaliah, you should remain pure and set apart from the evil things of the world for Christ’s use: “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’” (Lev. 19:2; Ex. 22:31; 1 Pet. 1:16; Ep. 1:4; Matt. 5:48). You can keep yourself pure by making yourself a living sacrifice for Him: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). As a living sacrifice, you should have no fellowship with people who might pull you off your walk. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.”’ (1 Cor. 15:33). “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). Like Athaliah, are you joined together with ungodly people? If so, they may pull you off your walk.
Jehoiada restores the power of the Levite priests. In addition to removing the idols dedicated to Baal, Jehoiada reinstated the power of the Levites to ensure proper worship according to the law that God had given Moses: “18 Moreover, Jehoiada placed the offices of the house of the Lord under the authority of the Levitical priests, whom David had assigned over the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses—with rejoicing and singing according to the order of David. 19 He stationed the gatekeepers of the house of the Lord, so that no one would enter who was in any way unclean.” (2 Chr. 23:18-19; 2 Kgs. 11:18). The priests were meant to keep both the kings and the people accountable. This was, however, a function that they would frequently fail to perform when future kings tried to reintroduce idolatry.
God chose the Levities to serve Him. God called upon the Levities to be His servants. “At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.” (Dt. 10:8). “For the LORD your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes, to stand and serve in the name of the LORD forever.” (Dt. 18:5). One of their many responsibilities was to guide the civil leaders to ensure that they stayed on a holy path.
Be God’s salt and light to convict sinners. It is for God alone to judge others (Ro. 12:19). Yet, Jesus called upon the Church to hold both leaders and society accountable by being God’s salt and light in the face of sin: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;” (Matt. 5:14). Salt is an irritant in the wound of sin. God wants you to love the sinner but hate the sin. When you hate sin, your salt and your light can convict a sinner. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matt. 5:13). When the Church stays silent in the face of a leader’s sins or society’s sins, the Church loses its saltiness. Thus, the Church should never avoid holding leaders or society accountable out of fear that it might offend.
Keep others accountable in a spirit of love. When you need to hold others accountable, you are called upon to reprove other believers with kindness and love. “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness . . .” (Gal. 6:1). “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18). “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13; Prov. 15:1; Ro. 12:20; Prov. 25:21). Thus, a believer should not condemn or browbeat a sinner with his or her sins. Gossip, slander, and condemnation are Satan’s tools against believers (Rev. 12:10). Do you convict sinners to repent through your love and kindness?
Jehoash assumes the throne as king, and the people rejoice. After Joash, aka Jehoash, assumed the throne as the true king, the people rejoiced: “20 He took the captains of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people and all the people of the land, and brought the king down from the house of the Lord, and came through the upper gate to the king’s house. And they placed the king upon the royal throne. 21 So all of the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword.” (2 Chr. 23:20-21; 2 Kgs. 11:19-21). The name Joash means “God gave.” God gave him as the means to restore true worship in Judah and the Davidic kings. He ruled for 40 years (2 Kgs. 12:1). The people rejoiced for the restoration of both God’s law and the line of Davidic kings. Believers also have many reasons to give thanks for God’s protection.
Thank God in songs and prayers for your deliverance as well. Many of David’s psalms or Solomon’s proverbs contain tributes to God for His deliverance: “A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. A Psalm of David. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” (Ps. 30:1). “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” (Ps. 27:1). “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4). “My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.” (Ps. 144:2). “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Ps. 3:3). “On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.” (Ps. 62:7). “The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble;” (Ps. 9:9). “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Prov. 18:10). When God delivers you, don’t take His actions for granted. Instead, give thanks for His deliverance.
Be thankful for God’s mercy and grace in your life. God showed mercy and grace in sparing the Jews following their six years of Baal worship. God calls upon every believer to be thankful for His mercy and grace: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17) “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Eph. 5:20; Ps. 34:1). Do you give thanks for God’s forgiveness of your sins?