The compromises of the father often leads to the corruption of the son. Such is true in 2 Chronicles 20-21. Jehoshaphat is a fairly faithful ruler. He walks not after the model of the idolatrous northern kings, but according to the ways David and Asa. He is a king after God’s heart and is commended as such. However, sadly, he ends his reign in a posture of compromise. He makes unholy alliances with the surrounding people groups, and his Heavenly Father is not pleased. Compromise is always a very present temptation. Worshipers should be careful to end well the race they have begun.
However, Jehoram, his son, is not to be characterized by spiritual compromise but by pagan corruption. He begins his reign of terror by coveting the throne so deeply that he murders his brothers and anyone else whom he deems a threat. He continues on to establish high places of false worship throughout the country of Judah. He is the spiritual pimp-daddy who leads God’s people in religious whoredom, and he does so with no shame.
In response, God sends Elijah to preach a sermon of gloom and doom:
“Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel and have enticed Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom, as the house of Ahab led Israel into whoredom, and also you have killed your brothers, of your father’s house, who were better than you, behold, the LORD will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day.’ ” 2 Chronicles 21:12-15
Jehoram does not repent, and God keeps his word. God removes his hand of protection, and Judah is ransacked by the surrounding nations. Additionally, Jehoram’s house is pillaged. Then the Lord struck the final blow:
And after all this the LORD struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony … 2 Chronicles 21:18-19
All of this is sad, but at this point in our reading schedule, none of this is shocking. Over and over again, we have seen God show grace to the sinfully repentant, and hard justice to the sinfully incorrigible. Horrific is the judgment of God, whether one is a Sodomite, an Egyptian, a Philistine, or even a member of God’s Covenant Community – Israel.
However, what should catch our attention is the following statement:
… His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:19-20
Using three different phrases, the inspired historian describes the pathetic reputation of Jehoram. He is gone, and there are no fires burning in his honor. He is dead, and he is not to be placed in the tombs of the kings. He is departed, and no one regrets his passing.
So what will be said of you and me at the end of our days?
Or what will be said of you and me at the end of our ministries?
Or what will be said of you and me at the end of our careers?
Or even more directly applicable, what will be said of you and me at the end of our business transactions, or even at the end of this very day?
Are we living in such a manner that people will miss us when we’re gone? Are we leaving a great taste in their mouth? Are we, in our manner of living and loving, contributing to the reputation and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ? Will someone so enjoy our presence and ministry today that they will hate to see us go, have fond memories of our interaction, and long to see us return?
Or will they be so harmed and troubled by our presence and corruption that they can’t wait to see us leave, have no regrets when we do so, and have no desire to see us come their way again?