Courage, Faith, and Legacy: Lessons from the life of Jehosheba
I have read through the Bible several times and sat through 40 years of Bible teaching and yet still find new, undiscovered treasures each time I open its pages. In all that time, I don’t remember ever hearing a sermon or lesson on 2 Chronicles 22:10-12. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall hearing about many other female heroines outside of Esther and Ruth, yet the Bible is full of courageous women being used to fulfill God’s plans in the world.
Today’s story begins with the assassination of an evil king and his ruthless mother’s opportunistic scheme to crown herself queen. This could totally be a modern day movie. 🙂
Setting the Stage
Ahaziah, King Jehoram’s son, was the next in line to become king upon his father’s death. Jehoram was an evil king and died a horrible death. The Bible records, “no one was sorry that he died.” in 21:20 (NLT). What a terrible statement on a person’s life!
2 Chronicles 22:3 says Athaliah, his mother, encouraged Ahaziah to do wrong. She was not a nurturing mother by any stretch of the imagination. Her father’s family became his trusted advisers and led him to ruin (v. 4).
God placed judgment on Ahaziah’s ongoing, unrepentant sin, citing:
“But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall.”2 Chronicles 22:7 NLT
What he thought would be a visit to a sick comrade became the road to his demise. He was hunted down and killed, leaving an opening in the kingdom to be filled. Enter, Athaliah, his wicked mother.
Athaliah was the granddaughter of king Omri (6th king in Israel) and daughter to King Ahab. Scripture says Omri was the most wicked of all (I Kings 16:25-26). Athaliah’s father and mother, Ahab and Jezebel, followed after Omri’s deplorable ways. So, she was raised in a long line of dysfunction and carried that legacy on to her kids.
Upon hearing about her son’s death and realizing this was her chance to reign as Queen of Judah, she began to kill “the rest of Judah’s royal family” (22:10). This means that she searched the castle for her own grandchildren to murder them! Can you imagine? Anyone holding a right to the throne would be cut down.
An Unlikely Hero
Except, she underestimated the courage of a young woman to intervene.
The simple word, “but” in verse 22:11 gives us hope that her plans would be thwarted. Jehosheba, sister to Ahaziah and wife to Jehoiada the priest took her infant nephew, Joash, and hid him. She quickly moved him and a nurse to a bedroom until they could escape to the Temple. Joash was safely kept in the house of God for 6 years during Athaliah’s reign.
Joash was seven years old before the priest, along with a secret group of leaders, attempted to overthrow Athaliah. They were successful, crowning Joash King of Judah and preserving the promised line of David.
Why is this important?
It is important because God promised David that his kingdom would not end and that the Messiah would come through his lineage (2 Samuel 7:1-29). The very Word of God would be born as prophesied and Jehosheba was instrumental in that fulfillment. God used her to prove that His word never returns void. All the promises of God are yes and amen!
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.”2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT
Jehosheba placed herself in grave danger against her crazy stepmother. She acted courageously to protect her brother’s infant son and heir to the king. Through her actions, she broke part of the family cycle of death and despair. Christ can break any generational patterns for those who trust in His name. New legacies can emerge.
2 Kings 12:1-3 records that Joash did right in the Lord’s eyes for the first part of his reign as king. While he was led by Jehoida, the priest, he made wise decisions. After the priest’s death, Joash fell to bad counsel and ended his life in the pattern of his evil family. Who we receive counsel from impacts the decisions of our lives. Let’s begin the way we want to end. Let’s persevere in faith, ending better than we began.
What can we learn from Jehosheba’s actions?
God’s kingdom work is moving forward through quiet acts of courageous obedience. There is a reason Jehosheba’s name is mentioned in this passage. Her actions went beyond rescuing a baby from death. What might have seemed like a clear, moral obligation to her was protecting the very lineage of our Savior, Jesus, to fulfill the prophecies of His coming. That is more important than she could have imagined! She also chose wisdom when she was raised in generational folly.
Our daily choices matter. What may seem like ordinary faith to us is being used in a greater, hidden plan. Jeshosheba not only saved Joash, but she made sure he was kept safely hidden for over 6 years! That was commitment. I am sure there were many days she felt tired of the task she had undertaken, longing for the day when the secret could be revealed. Yet, she remained faithful. And that faithfulness was rewarded.
Legacy matters!! Regardless of our family’s heritage, as heirs with Christ, we can turn to walk in new ways that please God and value others. We have to seek wise counsel to lay these things down. It takes daily surrender of old ways until there’s no room in the light for the darkness once lived. Build a legacy of faith one act of surrender at a time. Maybe we will be the Jehosheba in a long line of wicked kings and queens!
As a gift for stopping by the site and reading this article, I have included a free resource on Hebrews 10:24 to offer practical ways to help one another grow spiritually. We can see through reading about Joash and other kings that we need godly influences in our lives. We also need to encourage others to persevere in faith and hope. Click on the graphic to download. If you don’t already subscribe to The Unfolding, a monthly newsletter, which also gives access to the full free library in the member archive, enter your name and email below. I would be overjoyed to serve you there! Thank you.
Thank you for these encouraging insights to walk in a life-giving way, Terri, “It takes daily surrender of old ways until there’s no room in the light for the darkness once lived. Build a legacy of faith one act of surrender at a time.”
Thank you for sharing your take-aways. So glad it was encouraging!
Terri, this is a wonderful story and would make an excellent film! I love your storytelling and insights on how to apply the life of Jehosheba to our lives. Each point is so important. Thank you!
Thanks for reading, Deborah! So much to learn from such a small portion of Scripture. 🙂
This is beautifully written! May we be Jehoshebas in a lineage of evil!
Thanks, Dee! Love how you said that.