2 Chronicles 23:1-21

Does God really want the Body of Christ to be salt and light in every part of the world? Does that include local, state and federal government and the laws that are made to govern all the peoples of that culture?

Scriptures are in normal black text. Pastor Chris’ commentary is in blue bold italics.

This chapter begins with Athaliah, the only female ruler of Judah, on the throne for the past 6 years. She is first mentioned by name in 2 Kgs 8:25–26. 2 Chr 22:3 tells us she was Ahaziah’s counselor “in doing wickedly.” In 2 Kgs 11:1–1 and 2 Chr 22:10–23:15, we can see that Athaliah knew her son was dead. In her lust for power she sets out to destroy the royal family by murdering all the heirs to the throne. However, Jehosheba—Ahaziah’s sister and wife of Jehoiada the High Priest—saves one son, Joash, the rightful heir, by hiding him.

1In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains of hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri. 

2And they went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. 3Then all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said to them, “Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord has said of the sons of David. 

In our day today it is very common for Pastors, Elders, Preachers, Priests, and Church Leaders to make statements that say the Body of Christ should not be involved in government. They will say, “Jesus never involved Himself in politics.” Is this really true? Jesus never ran for election to become a tax collector or governor, this is true. But He could have if He wanted to do it. 

In this portion of scripture we see the God appointed religious leaders coming together to depose an illegitimate queen by assassination. Was this God’s will or not? Yes it was. When John the Baptist publicly proclaimed the sins of King Herod in order to condemn him, was he opposing God’s will? No, he was not.  When Jesus deliberately opposed the Jewish rulers and religious leaders by breaking their laws, was He in opposition to God’s will? Absolutely not, after all He is God in the flesh. Much of what Jesus did and said produced tremendous and lasting effects on the governments of that time and is still doing so to governments of today.

As we read God’s Word without personal bias and stay within the context as it was given to us by the Holy Spirit, it is plain to see that we are to be salt and light. What does that mean? Salt preserves that which it surrounds, not allowing decay and rot to take place. Light exposes the darkness and also purifies what it touches killing all sorts of microscopic bacteria and viruses.

We, the Body of Christ are exposing, cleansing and preserving the culture where we live and work. The Holy Spirit uses us for this purpose as well as declaring the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus said, “If the salt loses its preserving qualities it is good for nothing and must be thrown out where the pigs will trample it under their feet. I don’t want pigs or anything else trampling me, do you?

I believe we are to be in the world but not of the world. In John 15:18–19 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” We must speak the truth in every situation. It is our calling in Christ to stand up for righteousness in the culture where God has placed us, all the time protecting the defenseless and innocent people around us.

Let’s take a look at the assault on the God ordained family unit. Much of what we see going on in the culture of western societies like Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are a direct attack on the Christian concept of a family unit consisting of a father, mother and children. Governments have now legalized men doing unnatural acts with men and women doing unnatural acts with women and they refer to it as having sexual relations. This is simply a way to change definitions of words that will eventually change cultural perceptions, desensitizing everyone to the wicked and sinful behavior of these perverted people. It is not sexual relations at all. There is nothing sexual about it. Sexual relations can only occur between a biological man and a biological woman for the purpose of having children. Two male sex organs can not create children and two female sex organs can not create a child either.

First, we allowed them to redefine something so beautiful as sex and turn it into something unnatural and perverse. Second, we allowed them to redefine what a husband and wife are. Third, we lost the biblical God breathed meaning of family. To make things worse, now these perverted individuals and governments are proclaiming that there is more than two genders. This is absurd and everyone with a brain knows it. There are men and women and that is it.

I will be 67 years old this year and I have seen all this change in my lifetime. In the 1950s and 60s you did not hear any of this talk in public, or in the media, or from our government leaders. It may have been talked about in the alleys and hallways of darkness and sin, but not in the light for all to see and hear. I am ashamed to say that in all of my 46 years as a Christian I have only heard a handful of Pastors or Bible Teachers speak out against this attack on the moral underpinnings of our societies. For a while we had James Dobson and Focus On The Family speaking out, but I am not sure what happened to them. It is a disgrace for all Christians and now we are reaping what we failed to confront in the past 50 years. We had the high ground and the majority, and because of our sloth and sinfulness we threw all of our saltiness to the pigs. And boy oh boy, those pigs are really trampling all over us today.

I am in no way advocating any type of violence, especially armed violence or saying we should take revenge. I am saying we must do everything within our God given rights to oppose anything that opposes God’s rule and Kingdom in the earth. If that means we lose our lives doing so, then may God be glorified in our sacrifice.

Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:12–13

4This is what you shall do: One-third of you entering on the Sabbath, of the priests and the Levites, shall be keeping watch over the doors;  5one-third shall be at the king’s house; and one-third at the Gate of the Foundation. All the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord.  6But let no one come into the house of the Lord except the priests and those of the Levites who serve. They may go in, for they are holy; but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord. 

7And the Levites shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes into the house, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.” 

8So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each man took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest had not dismissed the divisions. 

All the people that Jehoiada put in place for this event knew their position and what was expected of them. The people had a committed heart and mind to do God’s will and place the rightful heir on the throne. Pray to God that He would raise up men and women today who will deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Jesus into the positions He has appointed for them to occupy.

Who is on the throne of our lives? Is there an illegitimate ruler telling us what to do? Jesus should be the only ruler in our lives. He directs us by the Holy Spirit leading us within our spirit moment by moment. 

Many illegitimate rulers try daily to take His place. The strongest one of all is our fleshly nature. It opposes God continually and we must force it to be subjected to the will of God. How do we do this? We maintain our relationship with God through being led by the Holy Spirit. We worship Him, pray and talk to him constantly, read His Word daily, meditate on and memorize the Word of God, reject any activity or thought that is ungodly or sinful, and we practice the Word of God in our everyday lives as we interact with others in the world around us. Our brother Paul the Apostle tells us this, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1–2

All of the other illegitimate rulers who want to destroy you are forced to use your fleshly nature to control you. If satan or a demon spirit wants to control you they must tempt you by appealing to your fleshly nature. Example: if satan knows that you have a weakness for pornography he will make sure that you are given many opportunities to view it. Your role is to let your fleshly nature die and allow your spirit to control you. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, then you know what is right and wrong. Deny that impulse from your fleshly nature to look at ungodly images. If you do, satan will flee from you.

We must be ruthless in our war against ungodly habits and sins in our lives just as Jehoiada was against Athaliah the illegitimate queen. All of our defense must be in place; prayer, meditation, the Word of God, and Godly attitudes and actions. Just like all the men that Jehoiada had surrounding the King. If we do what we are called to do, nothing the enemy uses to attack us will be successful. 

9And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of God. 10Then he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and by the temple, all around the king. 11And they brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the Testimony, and made him king. Then Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, “Long live the king!” 

Success has already been won for us as followers of Jesus Christ. The final battle was waged on the cross. Jesus gave His life for us and said it is finished. We can not add anything to His sacrifice or take anything away from it. It is complete and eternally finished. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

If we will allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in all things we will be fulfilled and move from glory to glory. There may be some momentary obstacles, but our Lord will be in those situations with us just as Jehoiada was with Joash for 6 years protecting him and finally crowning him King.

12Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people in the temple of the Lord. 

13When she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, also the singers with musical instruments, and those who led in praise. So Athaliah tore her clothes and said, “Treason! Treason!” 14And Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not kill her in the house of the Lord.”  15So they seized her; and she went by way of the entrance of the Horse Gate into the king’s house, and they killed her there. 

There is a saying that comes from the Bible, “Your sins will always find you no matter where you hide.” Athaliah’s sins had come to an end with her death. What can we learn from Athaliah’s life and death? Why did she counsel her family members and children to worship false gods in direct opposition to God’s commandments. She had no faith in God. Her fleshly nature was her god and she wanted fame, power and riches for herself. At first she was getting what she wanted through manipulating her son. When he died she took his place by murdering the rightful heirs. 

Are we like this wicked woman? Let’s see how much we resemble Athaliah. Many of us work for a living. At least we should be working hard for our families. When we are seeking a raise in pay or a better position that pays more money, do we take the possibility of gaining these things into our own hands or do we trust God to handle our future? Do we manipulate people and situations by telling lies and exaggerating the truth to make us look better? Do we gossip about others who may be in competition with us for the position hoping the boss will hear our lies and give us the position. Do we seek help from insiders asking them to influence the boss on our behalf to make us look like a better candidate? Ouch, am I getting too close?

What about at home? Do we tell our wives that we are faithful to them, then flirt with other women at work? Women, do we tell our husbands we are making ourselves look beautiful for him, but in reality we are fishing for compliments from other men at work, school or in the shopping malls? All of this is manipulation and lying. It is a slippery slope into deeper and deeper sin that will lead to death of relationships, loss of employment and general suffering. I am sure all of us can fill in our own particular brand of sinful behavior. There are too many to list.

If we disregard God’s commandments just a little bit to get what our flesh desires, we have entered into the sin of Athaliah. We should not even desire to make decisions about what is best for us. This is God’s place, since we were bought with the precious blood of Christ. We are sinners too, just like Athaliah. Given the right circumstances we could be just like her. No, we need to place all our faith in God and zero in ourselves. God will never forsake us or allow harm to come to us if we do His will alone.

16Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord’s people.  17And all the people went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down. They broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. 

True repentance always results in real action and change in someone’s life. We we cry and mourn and say with our mouth that we have repented of our sins, then continue doing the same sinful things we did before we are liars. Repentance demands change and change demands that we act in accordance with God’s Word. If you are a thief, steal no more and give back double what you took. We must put to death anything that could lead us into sin again.

The people of Judah obeyed the Lord and repented. Right away, their response was to get rid of everything that was in opposition to God. They destroyed the objects of worship and killed the demon possessed priest of Baal who had been leading God’s people into sin. We should be as zealous as they were to destroy anything that separates us from God. After being delivered by God from sin we should seek to be pleasing and obedient to the Lord, moving forward in our relationship with Him.

18Also Jehoiada appointed the oversight of the house of the Lord to the hand of the priests, the Levites, whom David had assigned in 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 with singing, as it was established by David. 

19And he set the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the Lord, so that no one who was in any way unclean should enter. 

20Then he took the captains of hundreds, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought the king down from the house of the Lord; and they went through the Upper Gate to the king’s house, and set the king on the throne of the kingdom. 

Would it have been logical for Jehoiada to try to set the House of the Lord in order while Athaliah was ruling over Judah? It would have been a waste of time and an offense to God. When we practice a life of sin, can we please God? No, we can not. What if we do all the right things, like going to church on Sunday and Wednesday, pray each morning, pray at mealtime and at night, celebrate religious holidays, give to the poor, tithe 10% of our income to the church and support foreign missionaries? Will God overlook our sinfulness? No, He will not. All our works are useless and mean nothing in this context. These works are an offense to God. It is like we are trying to bribe God with our good deeds so He will not judge us. God is just. He must demand justice.

God does not need our good works or our flattering speeches. He looks at our heart. 

If we are living in sin, He wants to forgive and restore us. In 1 John 1:5–10 the writer tells us, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

God always gives us opportunities to see the truth about ourselves. Jehoiada saw what was needed and how God wanted him to carry out His will. We should inquire of God morning and evening, asking Him to expose anything in us that might separate us from Him. He will show us, and we will repent, asking Him to forgive us, and He will surely forgive. Then we will be able to rejoice once again that Jesus is on the throne of our lives as the people of Judah did when Joash was made King of Judah.

21So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword. 

Amen, God bless you all as you make Jesus the only King in your life today!