A Piggyback Faith

Preserved for the throne, Joash was seven years old when he was brought out of temple concealment and publicly revealed. Also on that day “Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and said, ‘Long live the king!’” (2 Chronicles 23:11 NASB). Six years previously his aunt, in a daring deed, had rescued the boy from infanticide (“The Princess Who Saved a Dynasty”).

Relying on his uncle’s counsel, “Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2 NASB). Did you notice the time limitation, “all the days of Jehoiada the priest”? For when Uncle Jehoiada died, Joash made an about-face.

He listened to other voices, ones that convinced him to abandon the worship of God and accept idolatry. Why did Joash, having been hidden in the temple, steeped in the things of God, and raised by the high priest, stop doing what was right? Why did he become vulnerable to the vices and devices of others?

Could it be that Joash had never formed his own attachment to God? That for forty years he had ridden piggyback on his uncle’s faith? That when push came to shove, he had no spiritual leg of his own to stand on?

Without the sure-footing of a personal commitment to God, Joash let evil officials sway him and shape him. That slippery slope led to the murder of his cousin Zechariah, who had dared denounce the king’s wickedness.

So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son (2 Chronicles 24:21-22 NASB).

The once snatched-from-death infant sank to depths of depravity: No respect for the house of God! No reverence for life! No regard for a family’s kindness when he was helpless!

Like an eternal flame, grief ignited at the king’s unthinkable act burned on in some lives. Seven years after the tragedy, Joash’s “own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and murdered him on his bed” (2 Chronicles 24:25 NASB).

But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24 AMPC).


Who Heard God’s First Double Knock?

The Bible records only eight times when God reiterates someone’s name (Before moving on, you may find it helpful to open God’s Double Knocks.)

Abraham heard the first of God’s double knocks. He was about to slit his son’s throat when God called out “Abraham! Abraham!” (Genesis 22:11 NIV) and stopped the slaying.

How did Abraham get to this place? Through faith’s route. Obedient step-by-step faith in God had led him there.

Periodically, Abraham heard God declare he would become the father of innumerable descendants. After twenty-five years of hearing God repeat it, Abraham struggled to hold on to the promise. His mind couldn’t figure out how it would happen, because he and his wife remained childless. Logically, it was too late for a blood heir. Was there another way God would fulfill His promise?

God listened to Abraham’s troubled mind and assured him that “a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir” (Genesis 15:4 NIV). And that’s what happened.

Abraham, aged one hundred, fathered Isaac by his wife Sarah, aged ninety. The patriarch cradled in his arms tangible proof that God is true to His word. So God’s directive to him years later must have sounded inconceivable:

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2 NIV).

Surely, this was the most gut-wrenching, agonizing moment in Abraham’s life. Why would God ask this of him? It made no sense to promise him a son, fulfill that promise, and then tell him to kill the promise. Isaac embodied the future.

During the 50-mile trip to Moriah, Abraham had three days to mull it over. And enough time to turn back. But he trekked on with his son beside him. By the time they reached the destination, Abraham had the matter settled in his mind:

He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5 NIV).

Did you notice “We will come back”? Abraham believed that somehow both he and his son would return alive. Did he think that God would resurrect Isaac? Whatever he thought, Abraham was confident God would keep his word that Isaac was the next conduit for the promised future nations. That belief, however, did not erase carrying out God’s order to sacrifice Isaac.

Abraham stacked stones for an altar . . . arranged wood on the stones . . . wound leather thongs around Isaac’s ankles and wrists . . . laid his submissive son on the wood . . . clasped the knife in his sweaty palm . . . stretched out his hand for the death cut and instantly froze at the sound of God’s urgent double knock.

“Abraham! Abraham! . . . Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:11-12 NIV).

Father Abraham passed God’s proof test for total commitment. At test time may we also trust God Almighty all the way.