APRIL 22 Today's chapters are filled with violence and blood. In them we see the Lord executing His wrath on those who had long despised Him and disobeyed His Word. We may cringe as we read these chapters, but we must remember that God had given the house of Ahab many opportunities to repent and escape judgment. While Jehu may have been over zealn5# and while his motives may not have always been spiritual, we must recognize the fact that he was God's instrument of wrath against a sinful people. God waited many years, and His judgment slumbered while His mercy was extended to an undeserving nation. Sinners must also take heed today, lest they try the patience of God and sin away their day of grace! In chapters 11 and 12 we read of Joash, the boy king. We see how God protected the seed of David, through which the Lord Jesus Christ was to be born. Satan's seed tried to exterminate God's seed, but God won the battle. Through the queen mother, Athaliah, Satan tried to wipe out the royal family but, in God's providence, Joash was rescued and protected for seven years. He was then proclaimed king and was blessed of God, because he was not willing to be a Baal worshipper. II Chronicles 24:15-27 tells us that when godly Jehoiada died, King Joash began to backslide and actually went into idolatry. It is sad when a man's faith is tied to another man, rather than to the Lord. God sent prophets to warn the king; but instead of listening and heeding their words, he actually had Zechariah stoned in the Temple court. Because of this murder (referred to by Jesus in Matthew 23:34,35) Joash was unable to cope with the Syrian invasion, and was later murdered by some of his own servants as they sought to avenge the innocent deaths of Jehoiada's sons. Joash had a good beginning and good training, but he failed; very likely because his faith was more in Jehoiada than the Lord.