2 Kgs.11: Seven Lessons from Jehosheba, Jehoiada and Joash on Protecting Yourself from Satan

Introduction: Following God’s eradication of state-sanction Baal worship in Northern Israel, 2 Kings 11 tells how God eradicated state-sanctioned 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, though the actions of faithful believers named Jehosheba and Jehoiada, 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) vigilance, (2) fellowship, (3) faithfulness, (4) sanctification, (5) repentance, (6) purity, and (7) gratitude.

First, King Ahaziah’s death left a power vacuum in Judah. Queen Athaliah responded by seizing power and to maintain the Baal worship that she initiated. To maintain her power, 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. From her actions, God reveals that you must always be vigilant of Satan’s desires to rule over you. Second, through the actions of the faithful believers named Jehosheba and Jehoiada, 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. Third, 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. Fourth, after Queen Athaliah discovered that Joash was still alive, she called the actions of Jehosheba and Joash’s other protectors 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. Fifth, 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. Sixth, 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. 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.

1. Vigilance: Be Wary of Satan’s Desires to Rule Over You. 2 Kgs. 11:1-3.

  • Queen Athaliah tries to eliminate the line of David, but a priest hides Joash from her. After Queen Athaliah learned that her son King Ahaziah had been put to death (2 Kgs. 9:27-29), she committed an unspeakable act of maternal filicide to seize power for herself: “1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she rose and destroyed all the royal offspring. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. So he was hidden with her in the house of the Lord six years, while Athaliah was reigning over the land.” (2 Kgs. 11:1-3). Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kgs. 8:26). King Jehoshaphat of Judah decided that it was more important to unite Judah and Northern Israel than to keep Judah pure. Thus, he arranged for his son Jehoram to marry Athaliah (2 Kgs. 11:1). Yet, this was a monumental mistake. Athaliah 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). Because of Athaliah’s evil influence, her son Ahaziah also became a Baal worshipper (2 Chron. 22:8). “He walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab had done, . . .” (2 Kgs. 8:27). God judged Ahaziah with a short one-year reign (2 Kgs. 8:26). God also commissioned the general Jehu to kill him as part of God’s plan to eradicate Baal worship from the 12 tribes of Israel: “Now the destruction of Ahaziah was from God, in that he went to Joram. For when he came, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.” (2 Chron. 22:7). Because Ahaziah also stumbled God’s people with Baal worship, his judgment included a brutal death. Following Ahaziah’s death, Athaliah feared that she would lose her control and influence over Judah. She also rightly feared that the Levite priesthood would seek to eradicate the Baal worship that she introduced. Yet, rather than repenting of her sins, she made the unimaginable decision to kill all of her own male descendants whom might assume the throne (2 Kgs. 11:1). Ahaziah’s brothers were dead (2 Chron. 21:4). Jehu also killed off Ahaziah’s cousins, uncles, and nephews on Ahab’s side of the family (2 Kgs 10:12-14; 2 Chron. 21:17). Thus, Athaliah most likely ordered the death of her own grandchildren. Her wickedness rivaled her mother Jezebel, who sought to murder all of God’s prophets. Athaliah was the only female ruler of either kingdom, and she reigned for 6 years from 841 to 835 B.C. (2 Kgs. 11:3; 2 Chron. 22:10 – 23:21). Yet, her efforts to kill off all of her male grandchildren failed. The daughter of King Joram and the sister of King Ahaziah hid Athaliah’s grandson Joash for six years in the Temple and most likely faked his death to deceive Athaliah. Athaliah was apparently so caught up in her Baal worship that she never went to the Temple. There, God protected Joash from a certain death.

  • Athaliah acted under Satan’s influence to try to kill the line leading to the Messiah. God hid a male heir from Athaliah to preserve His promise to David that a line of kings would run through him that would have no end: “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:13). Satan used Athaliah to try to prevent the Messiah Jesus from assuming the eternal throne. Satan tried again to prevent Jesus from assuming the throne when he had Herod kill every male son near the time of Jesus’ birth (Matt. 2:16). Yet, on each occasion, Satan was unsuccessful in preventing God’s prophesy from coming true. God protected Joash while he was in hiding as a young boy. God also hid Jesus while He was in hiding as a young boy in Egypt (Matt. 2:19). Although Satan has the power to deceive mankind, he is powerless against God. God’s promise to David could not be undone through the wicked acts of Satan’s servants: “The LORD has sworn to David a truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne’” (Ps. 132:11). “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of His descendants on His throne,” (Acts 2:30). Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of this promise, who Satan could not stop: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Lk. 1:32-33).

  • Satan’s desires to rule over you. Like Athaliah, Satan desires to rule over all mankind. “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. 14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Is. 14:13-14). For many, he has now become the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), “the prince of this world” (Jo. 12:31), or the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Any time you refuse to submit to God, you let him rule over your life. Yet, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you need not fear. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jo. 4:4). Thus, even though he can cause you pain, the Holy Spirit inside you can protect you from any evil scheme that Satan may try to inflict upon you. Yet, you must still protect yourself by being wary of Satan’s influences in your life.

  • Be a Jehosheba to others in need. Jehosheba was married to Jehoiada, the high priest (2 Chr. 22:11). Jehosheba risked her own life to do what was right instead of staying silent. Satan is always trying to destroy God’s plans. Although God will always prevail, God typically uses people like Jehosheba as His instrument against evil. Will you be a Jehosheba to others in need or under Satan’s attack?

  • Seek refuge in Jesus, and He will protect you. Jehosheba found refuge for Joash in God’s Temple. Like Joash, Samuel also grew up inside of God’s Temple. In both cases, the boys grew closer to God as they learned about the importance of their faith and God’s Word through the instruction of the priests. “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” (Ps. 118:8). Do you seek refuge in Jesus from Satan’s attacks?

  • God wants you to depend upon Him to deliver you when you are under attack. Moses told God’s people never to forget that God was their true deliverer. Because God was their deliverer, they could depend upon Him when they cried out to Him: “Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.”’ (Ex. 13:3). “And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.” (Ex. 13:9). God later affirmed this because the people were prone to forget. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Ex. 20:2). “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.” (Micah 6:4). “Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them, but when they cried to You in the time of their distress, You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.” (Neh. 9:27; Acts 13:30). When you are under attack, turn to God.

2. Fellowship: Protect Yourself By Finding Refuge in The Body of Christ. 2 Kgs. 11:4-8.

  • Hundreds of soldiers swear an oath to protect the young future king Joash. After seven years of hiding in the Temple, the high priest Jehoiada revealed Joash’s presence to the captains of the guards and obtained their allegiance to the young future king: “Now in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him in the house of the Lord. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king’s son. He commanded them, saying, ‘This is the thing that you shall do: one third of you, who come in on the sabbath and keep watch over the king’s house (one third also shall be at the gate Sur, and one third at the gate behind the guards), shall keep watch over the house for defense. Two parts of you, even all who go out on the sabbath, shall also keep watch over the house of the Lord for the king. Then you shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within the ranks shall be put to death. And be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.’” (2 Kgs. 11:4-8). Through prayer and six years of careful preparation, Jehoiada sought to remove the Baal-worshiping Queen Athaliah. 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 Chron. 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 accountable if they float in and out of church or only watch church online. Are you accountable to others in a small church group? Or, are you a lone ranger for Christ?

3. Faithfulness: Protect Yourself by Staying Faithful to God. 2 Kgs. 11:9-12.

  • 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: “So the captains of hundreds 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, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the Lord. 11 The guards stood each with his weapons 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. 12 Then he brought the king’s son out and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!’” (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?

4. Sanctification: Protect Yourself by Being Set Apart from the World. 2 Kgs. 11:13-14.

  • 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: “13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people in the house of the Lord. 14 She looked and behold, the king was standing by the pillar, according to the custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, ‘Treason! Treason!’” (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.

5. Repentance: Protect Yourself from Sin By Repenting and Fearing God. 2 Kgs. 11:15-16.

  • The priest 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: “15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded 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.’ 16 So they seized her, and when she arrived at the horses’ entrance of the king’s house, she was put to death there.” (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: “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; 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?

6. Purity: Protect Yourself from Satan by Staying Pure from Evil Things. 2 Kgs. 11:17-18.

  • 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: “17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they would be the Lord’s people, also between the king and the people. 18 All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord.” (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. 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.

7. Gratitude: Protect Yourself From Backsliding by Praising Jesus. 2 Kgs. 11:19-21.

  • Jehoash assumes the throne as king, and the people rejoice. After Joash, aka Jehoash, assumed the throne as the true king, the people rejoiced: “19 He took the captains of hundreds and the Carites and the guards and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the guards to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword at the king’s house. 21 Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.” (2 Kgs. 11:19-21). The name Joash means “God gave.” God gave him as the means to preserve the line of David and restore true worship in Judah. He ruled for 40 years (2 Kgs. 12:1). The people rejoiced in the restoration of the line of David and in the restoration of God’s law.

  • 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?