Joash; the king who never grew up.
He was the child that was preserved by the LORD to rule. His grandmother killed all his brothers but his aunt saved his life. He was hidden in the house of the LORD for the first six years of his life. He grew up under the care of his aunt and her husband Jehoiada, the priest. At age seven he was crowned the king of Judah.
Joash, also known as Jehoash became king, and reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada instructed him.
Jehoiada was the only father Joash knew. He parented Joash to adulthood even 'taking wives for him'. As a son to a father, Joash respected and honoured him. Whilst he was alive, Joash did what was right. But Jehoiada grew old and died. Because of what he did and the honour as the king's mentor, Jehoiada was buried among the kings.
For the majority of his reign, the king had a trusted mentor. He was used to being instructed in what to do. He never had the opportunity to mature from childhood to adulthood. He had responsibility from the age of seven and he depended on the elders to guide him.
As a result of his dependency, when, after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came, bowed down and instructed him, he listened to them. We were told 'Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass'. We don’t know what exactly they told him but the result was that they left the worship of the True God and went back to idol worship.
To make things even worse, when the son of his mentor warned him, Joash had him killed! He did not remember the kindness which his father had shown him. That was the beginning of the end for the king who was born to lead.
That same year, the bane of the nation, the Syrians came with a small number of men and defeated Joash’s great army. They destroyed all the leaders of the people, Joash was severely wounded and his own servants conspired against him because of the innocent blood he shed.
His offence was so despicable that he was not buried in the tombs of the kings. A disgrace for a king. What a sad end for a leader that started so greatly.
What leadership lessons can we learn from the king with the heart of a child?
He was mentored by a godly man. Leaders can benefit from the guidance and wisdom of such god fearing men like Jehoiada. However, leaders still has the responsibility to make their own decisions. Over dependency on others will lead leaders astray.
Furthermore, leaders should not depend only on the guidance of people but on the LORD.
Leaders should be careful not to develop pride because of their position and the honor of men. Pride always comes before a fall.
Leaders’ authority should not be used to repay kindness with evil. Evil will never depart from the house of anyone that repays kindness with evil.
Leaders, learn from history.