24 June 2019
Reading: 2 Kings 11-12; 2 Chronicles 24; 1 Timothy 6
17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Yet the LORD sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen. (2 Chronicles 24:17-19 NLT)
A lobster’s skeleton is called an exoskeleton because it is on the outside (exo-) and the lobster grows inside it. My skeleton is called an endoskeleton because it is on the inside (endo-) and my body grows around it.
It seems as if Joash’s faith and character was more like an exoskeleton. As long as good priest Jehoiada was alive and advising him, Joash made good and godly decisions, worshiped God, and ruled well. As soon as Jehoiada died, Joash was easily influenced by others and abandoned God and godliness with dreadful consequences for himself and the nation.
It’s easier to let a faith and belief system be composed of externally applied rules and the influence of others. That’s like an exoskeleton, a good place to start, but not such a good place to stay. If our faith remains an exoskeleton, we look good as long as we’re bound by the rules and influenced by godly people. The truth is, when we’ve got to stand on our own, and stand up for what we believe, we’ve got to have an “endoskeleton” kind of faith.
To have the kind of faith and belief that enables us to stand up when the external supports are removed requires that we “internalize truth” and make it our own, rather than depending on others to give us rules and directions.
Father, Please help me grow strong on the inside, so that my life will be characterized by an “endoskeleton” kind of faith. I’m thankful for the good and godly influence of those you have placed around me at stages of my life. I’m thankful for the structure of rules and guidelines that has helped me form good values in a world filled with confusion and uncertainty. I want to be a Jehoiada kind of influencer on my children and my children’s children, so that they can internalize their faith and stand strong and true when they must stand alone. Amen.