The little boy who never grew up. Kind of sounds like Peter Pan, doesn’t it?
It also describes Joash, unfortunately. Raised and mentored by Jehoiada the priest, Joash served the Lord for the first part of his life. He even confronted Jehoiada and the priests when they failed to restore the temple as he had commanded.
But then something happened. Jehoiada died. The one who had guided Joash all his life was gone. Jehoiada had done all he could for Joash, and Joash was now in a position to take all that he had learned and put it to good use as he ruled over Judah.
But he didn’t.
Instead, shortly after Jehoiada died, the officials of Judah came to him and turned his heart away from the Lord. Soon, they abandoned the temple of God which they had restored just a short time before, and they started worshiping false gods.
And if that weren’t bad enough, when God sent Jehoiada’s son Zechariah to warn Joash to turn from his sin, Joash had him killed, not remembering the kindness that Jehoiada had showed Joash all those years.
As a result, God’s judgment came upon Judah. God delivered Judah into the hands of the Arameans even though Judah had them outnumbered. When the Arameans finally left, Joash was severely injured, and shortly thereafter, was assassinated by his own officials. Ironically, while Jehoiada was buried with the kings of Judah, Joash was not.
What happened? Joash never really grew up. He never learned to put his full trust in God. Instead, he relied on men. When the men he relied on were good like Jehoiada, he did what was good. When the men he relied on were evil, he did evil. And in the end, it cost him.
How about us? Who is our mentor? Who do we trust? Who do we rely on? There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to grow up. The godly people in our lives will not be with us forever. And when they leave us, we need to learn to grow up. To put our trust not in men or women, but in God alone.
Let us learn to put our hands into the hand of the living God and to put our full trust in him alone.