Charisma is a dangerous thing, not only for the person who exudes it but also for the individual who soaks up that energy. I wonder, how many men live their religion vicariously through someone else. It’s easy to do; I’m guilty of it. We get wrapped up in the charisma of someone we see as a model of Christianity. The Bible addresses this in the life of Joash (Jehoash) of Judah, and I feel that it is a firm reminder that there is but one place our faith should fall, and that is with God. Not through another man but for Him directly otherwise we fall off the path God clearly sets for us.
The life of Joash is briefly but clearly laid out for us in 2 Chronicles 24: 1-27 (Parallel can be found in 2 Kings 12:1-21) but I want to focus on a few important verses that highlight my point. Context is super important and knowing the situation around what I am talking about is important. It holds me accountable for understanding the Bible and what God is telling us through the Bible. Too often the Bible has been quoted out of context and used in a way God never intended.
Joash is the son of King Ahaziah of the Northern Kingdom. Israel was split into two kingdoms at this time. His father was murdered and Joash’s aunt Jehoshebamanaged to hide him away at the Temple. There he was raised by his aunt and her husband, the priest, Jehoiada. At the age of seven Jehoiada revealed that Joash still lived and managed to place the boy on the throne. Jehoiada loved God and did his best to raise Joash to love God as well but what he did not realize is that Joash followed him and not God (2 Kings 12:2).
Joash After Jehoiada
After Jehoiada died, who would be there for Joash to lean on? While he was a boy when he became king he had been stewarded by a man far wiser than he. He had not learned to be self-sufficient in making decisions and more importantly, he did not know how to shepherd his faith. He began listening to the advice of the princes of Judah who convinced him to abandon the temple that he had spent so much time and energy to assure it was built. God sent prophets to turn Joash and the Kingdom back on the right path, and they were ignored. The son of Jehoiada whose name was Zechariah was filled with the Spirit, and he rebuked the people for their wickedness. Joash commanded the stoning of the son of Jehoiada who was every bit a father to him. He had forgotten how good he was treated (2 Chronicles 24:22).
Isn’t that how we are? So willing to accept the love and kindness, God showers us with, and yet we killed His Son. It’s not like God just let Joash fall into sin without trying to help him. He sent a multitude of prophets all telling Joash to turn back and ultimately Joash’s’ heart became so calloused he commanded the killing of someone God had sent to him.
Faith in anyone other than God is no faith at all.
Faith is the complete trust and confidence in someone or something. That means that someone or something must be perfect in every way otherwise doubt creeps in and then as soon as you feel that doubt you have lost faith. What Joash did was view Jehoiada as his source of faith instead of the vicar that he was. There is nothing wrong with telling someone that you have faith that they can accomplish a goal. You should as a point to encourage them and pray with them.
Our faith is a personal commitment to God and only God. We can love and be a fan of someone especially a person of God who inspires us. When we begin usurping that commitment then we have wandered. It’s especially worrisome when you have a non-believer such as Joash was and follows what a man says as faith instead of putting himself in a position of faith and believes he is saved. It’s dangerous.
Make sure your faith is on firm ground men. Your family looks to you for leadership in all aspects of life. Secondhand faith is a poison we should watch for in ourselves and others we love.