In my natural course of Bible study, I came across the account of the demise of Jehoram, King of Judah, first born son of Jehoshaphat, in 2 Chronicles 21. Can you imagine living your entire life, literally living as a king and when you pass, no one regret’s your passing? For some reason, this really struck me today though I have read it many times.
2 Chronicles 21: 19-20 Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
What a horrible testimony! Son of a great king – now no one mourns his passing or even regrets it – to no one’s sorrow! Granted, we are told Jehoram did evil in the sight of the Lord and he certainly did everything in his power to warrant such an end. His wife was a daughter of the wicked king Ahab, king of Israel. His father Jehoshaphat had befriended Ahab. Jehoshaphat went to battle with Ahab when Ahab was killed fighting the Arameans, and as Jehoshaphat was returning to his palace in Jerusalem, a seer named Jehu said to him “How do you help those who are wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord.” Isn’t it amazing we have no idea how far and wide the repercussions will range from our actions and loyalties.
Jehoshaphat went on and performed many reforms in Judah and won great battles against the enemies of Judah. He reigned for 25 years and did right in the sight of the Lord, but he never severed his ties and links to the family of Ahab. When his father passes, Jehoram murders all his brothers to cement his kingdom. He completely walked in the ways of Ahab and the kings of Israel and forsook the one true God to please his wife and her family. When he died, he was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the tombs of the kings and there was no memorial as they had done for his fathers. Now, not only did Jehoram die without anyone caring, he lost all of his family except one son before that and he died a horribly painful death as his intestines fell out. That sounds like wrath – maybe part of the wrath announced by the seer.
And another terrible turn of events for the royal family of King David! Yet, the wrath was not complete, and God still did not utterly forsake them. Further, the whole idea of a man passing with no one to regret or even consider his passing seems so forlorn – seems like a curse in and of itself. We hear of the murder of innocents almost daily. We hear of the torture and abuse of women and children throughout the world. But, people all around the world mourn these events. Even at Auschwitz those who survived mourned the loss of the others who went to the gas chambers. It is normal to care about people.
But what about a society with no regard for the passing of a man – their leader – no sense of loss or sorrow. What a calamity! Imagine only one person at your own funeral – the one throwing dirt over your casket. This says something about the person that really strikes a chord with me. It also graphically illustrates for us what the end of the wicked will be like. Their light will be extinguished – forever.
The fact is, we live in a fallen world and were it not for the grace of God, we could all end up like that! Unloved, unmourned and left as little more than dung on the ground. God forbid! So many of Judah’s kings started out ok, and ended very badly. I pray we all end well so that when we pass to the next life, they won’t say “he departed with no one’s regret”.
Father, please help us stay the course. Help us not give in to the wiles and temptations of the world around us or of the enemy. Please help us stay focused on Jesus and not lean toward our own understanding. Give us courage and strength to continue even when we don’t understand why we have to face some things. Help us remember the lessons you placed in your Word so we will not succumb to the same evil desires. Please open our eyes to see and our ears to hear what the Spirit is doing and saying and give us the wisdom we need to navigate the waters ahead successfully. We adore you Lord! In Jesus’ wonderful, mighty name we pray. Amen!