I was reading this morning in 2 Chronicles 24 and I noticed one of the more depressing and eye-opening stories from the Old Testament. I had never read intently or grasped the depth of the story and for some reason the Lord really opened my eyes to this a couple days ago. In 2 Chronicles 24 we read that Joash takes the throne over Judah at age 7.  Clearly he needed a mentor and a helper to help lead in his youth. This mentor was Jehoiada. Jeroboam walked alongside Joash from an early age leading him in the ways that are just and righteous. Joash was a king who led well for the Lord.  He helped restore the temple. He pushed the Levites to do their job, their God-given, God commanded duty. He led well with a mentor like Jehoiada.
However, halfway through the chapter the store turned sour. Jehoiada dies at age 130. We read that without his mentor Joash immediately conforms to the ways of the Jews around him. His posture towards the Lord and his desire for righteousness change dramatically. Almost instantly we read of Joash’s shift from a man of God to a man of idolatry, sin, and destruction.  The departure from the Lord was so severe that God sent Zechariah, Jehoiada’s own son, to prophesy to the people of Judah specifically the king. Zechariah preached the necessity for a return to the Lord and a return to righteousness. Joash, had slipped so far from the Lord by this point, that Zechariah was stoned for his words. Zechariah, His mentor’s own son, was stoned by the very command of the man who once stood beside him as a boy.  Eventually Gud used the Syrian army to assassinate Joash to remove him from the throne.
The story is extremely sad and as I was reading it I couldn’t help but hurt down in the pit of my stomach for Joash and for Jehoiada. This story shows the necessity and the benefit of a mentor. This telling of history exhibits why we must be in close community with other men and women more mature than ourselves in order to learn from and grow in the Lord.  I’ve had many mentors throughout my life and have been blessed with multiple coaches who also double as Godly men. These  men not only led me to be a better weightlifter but it led me to be a better man. Like Joash in his early career as the king, these coaches were invaluable to me in my career and will forever have impacted how I walk through life. This story exhibits the value and the necessity for mentors like this. I can’t be more thankful for these men and more grateful to God for putting them in my life.