I’m not a big one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I stumbled upon a Scripture passage this morning that caught my attention. It’s the entry in Second Chronicles, chapter 21, where we learn the basics of one of Judah’s kings, King Jehoram. And in the last three verses, we read how Jehoram has so distanced himself from God and the ways of God, that God Himself sets Jehoram up for a fall. Jehoram ends up with a painful disease and it takes some two years before his painful, tragic end.
And, in 2 Chronicles 21:20, the Bible, as it does for so many Biblical women and men of faith, simply shares his death and how he died, along with his age when he ascended the throne, how long he reigned on that throne, and the people’s way of honoring the now dead king.
This passage has to be one of the saddest obituaries I’ve ever read. Particularly the last sentence… Check it out from some of the various English translations:
KJV: Jehoram “departed without being desired.” [v. 20b]
NKJV: Jehoram, “to no one’s sorrow, departed.” [v. 20b]
NIV: “He passed away, to no one’s regret…” [v. 20b]
NRSV: “He departed with no one’s regret.” [v. 20b]
NLT: “No one was sorry when he died.” [v.20b]
CEB: “No one was sorry he died.” [v. 20b]
Reading through the various passages where Jehorum is mentioned, we learn that he had married the daughter of the evil King Ahab & his wife Jezebel from the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as murdering all of his brothers upon becoming king, setting up and leading the people of Judah in worshipping pagan gods in “the high places.”
Jehoram’s father was one of the good kings of Judah, the godly King Jehoshaphat. However, Jehoram deliberately turned away from his father’s ways and followed the pattern that his wife had learned from her parents, Ahab and Jezebel: Pagan gods, jealousy, spiritual compromise, paranoia, and a controlling spirit to boot.
His people in Judah so despised him, that, in verse 19, we read how they wouldn’t even do the honor of an elaborate “funeral fire” like they had done for Jehoram’s ancestors. (Check out 2 Chronicles 16:14 to read what that tradition was like when Jehoram’s grandfather, King Asa, died.
In fact, while they did bury Jehoram in the captial city of Jerusalem, they wouldn’t bury him in the royal cemetery.
Now, I believe that Scripture is inspired by God and, while it was written in a particular circumstance to readers (or most often hearers) of that day and age, I believe that there is still value in all of Scripture in instructing us, thousands of years later, in our life of faith as well.
Which leads me to consider, in the big picture, how much little compromises and decisions based on doing things “my way” really do make a big difference… even though it might be years or a lifetime later before all the impact might be felt.
Jehoram yielded his upbringing to the influence of his wife and in-laws. He made decisions personally, and as a national leader, that revealed what his heart truly loved… and it was divisive and evil and self-centered. And it turned him into a hated leader who turned his back on God.
SO… Even though I’m not making resolutions and such, I am convinced that as we start 2019, we need to reconsider and evaluate our lives and discover what the little compromises are that we’ve allowed in our own hearts and minds and families? It’s a good time to confess those sins to God and ask for his help in starting over.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” — Second Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
SCRIPTURE SOURCE NOTES:
While the primary record of Jehoram is found in 2 Chronicles 21 and 2 Kings 8, here are all of the Scriptural sources I studied to learn about him.
- 1 Kings 22:50
- 2 Kings 8:1-2
- 2 Kings 8:16-25
- 2 Kings 11:1-16
- 2 Chronicles 21:1-20
- 2 Chronicles 22:1
- Matthew 1:8