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Chinese9/11/2019English
經文:歷代志下廿三至廿四章
鑰節:「你們為何干犯耶和華的誡命,以致不得亨通呢?」(24:26)
提要

        約阿施(亞哈謝王的幼子)被偷藏了六年之後,大祭司耶何耶大聰明且絲毫不致引發內戰,就秘密地計畫、準備為他行加冕禮。他召集全國的眾祭司和利未人,要求他們支持,他們也樂於聽從。那奪取者亞他利雅必須被驅逐;她曾不斷以偶像,包括下流的巴力崇拜毀壞王國。利未族的聖殿守衛,都用大衛王的武器裝備了起來。他們打算,不僅要保護大衛的後代約阿施,也要秉持正義,殺掉那邪惡、拜偶像的奪取者──她並不是來自大衛家的人,而是來自可咒的亞哈家(參王下9:8)。

        因為約阿施加冕時只有七歲,國家真正的領袖是敬虔的大祭司耶何耶大。他曾在自己家中把約阿施養大。早在約阿斯被擁立為王之前,耶何耶大就已領導猶大百姓,更新他們與上帝所立的約(23:16)。為遵守上帝之律法,他們毀了巴力的廟宇,並殺了邪教的祭司。這樣,便遵守了摩西要他們除去邪惡的命令(參申13:5~10)。

        耶何耶大的改革,包括重新推動利未人的事奉,如大衛王從前所定規的,以促進真正的敬拜上帝。在耶何耶大和約阿施(他在當時,方才弱冠)的領導之下,聖殿也修理了。約阿施甚至曾責備利未人未盡職責,照摩西的話語徵集基金。後來他想出一個有效的方法聚集基金,以便在修理聖殿時,直接付錢給工人。(24:8~12)

        何其可悲!約阿施在早年治理之時,對主忠信順服;卻在耶何耶大死了之後,急速墮落。約阿施不再是個靈性健旺的領袖,反而迅速陷入罪中。由此可見耶何耶大活到壽數極高才過世(130歲),實在是上帝對猶大國極大的恩典。在他屬靈的帶領下,以色列對上帝忠貞維持了一段較長的時間。他對猶大國做了許多好事,因而在他死時,受到君王般的榮耀,甚至埋葬的地點,也是在君王的墓中。

        約阿施受到猶大國一些壞領袖的蠱惑,同意恢復偶像崇拜(可能其中有利可圖,見24:17~18),但是誠如我們從前所看見的,這樣的淫亂帶來了上帝的憤怒。但在祂的恩典中,祂還是先派了先知警告約阿施和猶大國民,希望藉此使他們回轉歸祂;但是約阿施的心已變得如此剛硬,使所有的努力完全失效。

        撒迦利亞勇敢地責備約阿施時,約阿施的反應是一種仇恨;這個王曾一度忠心事奉上帝,卻墮落到與人同謀陷害義人,最後還下令,把對方用石頭打死的地步(24:21;參王上21:8~13,19;亞哈和耶洗別相同的結黨對付拿伯,導致自己遭受咒詛)。約阿施是這樣充滿了仇恨,甚至不管撒迦利亞是他的表兄弟,又是耶何耶大的兒子。若非耶何耶大,他當年恐怕連命都保不住(24:22)。我們的主耶穌指出,撒迦利亞是舊約所記的最後一位殉道先知(依希伯來書的次序)。因殺了他,以色列民流了無辜之人的血(太23:34~35;路11:51)。

        主真的報應了約阿施的謀殺和偶像崇拜;這兩罪,依摩西的律法,都是該死的。上帝使用了敘利亞較小的軍隊,執行他對猶大國的審判,許多民間領袖被殺,大批戰利品也被奪去,而約阿施先受重傷,然後才被他的部下一刀刺死。這事在這裡再度證明了,你種的是什麼,你收的也必是什麼。

禱告

        主,謝謝你仁慈地命令了像耶何耶大那樣的領袖。您曾藉著像這樣的人,大大賜福了我們的教會。請幫助我們,能繼續擁有像這樣長年忠心事奉你的領袖。求賜我們力量,能以追隨他們的腳蹤。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read 2 Chronicles 23&24
Key Verse:"...Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper1?..."(2 Chronicles 24:20)
Overview

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        After six years of hiding Joash (the young son of King Ahaziah), the high priest Jehoiada wisely and without having to resort to civil war, planned the secret preparations for his coronation. He called upon the priests and Levites throughout the land for their support, which they were glad to give. The usurper, Athaliah, had to be removed; she was destroying the kingdom with idolatry, including the vile cult of Baal. The Levitical Temple guards were armed with King David's weapons. They were intended to not only protect Joash, David's descendant, but also to do justice by slaying the wicked idolatrous usurper, who was not from the House of David but from the condemned House of Ahab (cf. 2 Kings 9:8).

        Since Joash was only seven years old when he was crowned, the real leader of the nation was the godly high priest Jehoiada, who had raised Joash in his own home. Even before they took Joash to his throne, Jehoiada led Judah in the renewing of their covenant with God (23:16). In obedience to God's laws, they destroyed the temple of Baal and killed the pagan priest, thus obeying Moses' command to put away the evil from their midst (cf. Deuteronomy 13:5-10).

        Jehoiada's reformation included the reinstitution of the Levitical service as King David had established it for the true worship of the Lord. The Temple was also repaired and reinforced under the leadership of Jehoiada and King Joash, who was by that time a young adult. Joash even confronted the Levites when they did not do their job of gathering the funds according to the words of Moses. He then thought of an efficient way to raise funds for the restoration project that they might pay the workers directly (24:8-12).

        How tragic that Joash, who was faithful and obedient to the Lord in the early days of his reign, had such a drastic fall after the death of Jehoiada. Without his guidance and leadership, Joash did not remain a strong spiritual leader and quickly fell into sin. It was only the grace of God that blessed Jehoiada with a very long life (130 years), and thus Israel remained loyal to God for a longer period under his spiritual leadership. He had done much good for Judah and was honoured like a king in his death, even to the point of being buried in the tombs of the kings.

        With the flattering of some wicked leaders in Judah, Joash agreed to reinstate idolatry (probably in some way it would benefit them for their own personal gain, 24:17-18), but, as we have seen before, such harlotry brings the wrath of God. In His grace, however, God sent prophets to warn Joash and the people of Judah so they might turn back to Him, but Joash's heart had become so hardened that it was of no avail.

        When Zechariah boldly rebuked Joash, his reaction was one of hatred; this king, who had once served God faithfully, actually reached the depths of conspiring against this righteous man and then ordering that he be stoned to death (24:21; cf. 1 Kings 21:8-13,19; a similar conspiracy by Ahab and Jezebel against Naboth resulted in their condemnation). Joash was so filled with hatred that it did not matter to him that Zechariah was his cousin and the son of Jehoiada to whom he owed his life and kingship (24:22). Our Lord Jesus referred to Zechariah as the last recorded martyr found within the Old Testament (in the Hebrew book order). By killing him, the children of Israel shed innocent blood (Matthew 23:34-35; Luke 11:51).

        The Lord did indeed repay Joash for murder and idolatry both of which deserve death according to the Law of Moses. God used the smaller army of Syria to execute His judgment on Judah; the wicked leaders were killed, all their spoil was taken, and Joash was wounded before being assassinated by his own servants. It is again illustrated here that whatever you sow, that you shall also reap.

Prayer

        Lord, thank you for godly older leaders like Jehoiada. You've blessed our family greatly through such people. Help us to continue to be blessed by the ministry of our brothers and sisters who have served You faithfully for many years. Grant that we may follow in their footsteps.


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