“Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” (2 Kings 12:2)
Teaching and guiding the next generation of believers is a duty of profound importance that falls upon all of God’s warriors of the faith. The little children of today will soon become the leaders of tomorrow. If we do not equip them with God’s Word and teach them to walk in His ways, we are handing the future over to the powers of darkness, sin, and suffering. We must provide our youth with Christian guides and mentors who will teach them God’s Law and Gospel on a personal level.
These guides – parents, teachers, pastors, sponsors, and others – are vital faith heroes. Jehoiada the priest is an excellent example of the kind of difference a Christian guide can make in the life of one young person, and by extension, hundreds or thousands of others as well.
Jehoiada takes the young Prince Joash into his care and protection in order to preserve the house of David and the Messianic line. For six years, Jehoiada secretly teaches Judah’s future king how to rule in a just and God-pleasing manner. When young Joash finally ascends the throne, Jehoiada continues to serve as his spiritual leader and example: “Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people” (2 Kings 11:17).
As long as young King Joash has his faithful spiritual leader Jehoiada around to teach and train him in God’s will, Joash prospers by doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord. Sadly, after the death of Jehoiada, Joash is left without a God-fearing instructor and quickly abandons God’s Word as his foolish love for himself takes over.
Joash’s fate is a grim prediction of what will happen when the next generation fails to receive continual guidance and spiritual support from their elders. Godly instruction must not end after Sunday School, or with one’s Confirmation, or graduation, or any other “milestone” in their lifetime. Scriptural guidance remains necessary throughout one’s entire lifetime. We need to not only seek out and cling to our own guides, but also to reach out to the younger generation, teaching them God’s Word and modeling the kind of life He would have us live.
The seed of faith is planted in rich soil when we daily minister to our youth with God’s perfect Law and His redeeming Gospel. It will grow and flourish when fed and watered consistently with Scripture. When this is done faithfully, that seed will eventually ripen and produce a bountiful harvest of faith in God’s grace, good works by the Spirit, and zeal to pass on God’s promises to yet another generation of believers. May God grant this miracle to each generation until He comes again in glory!
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the faithful generations who have come before me and passed Your Gospel Light on to us. Help me to diligently and persistently teach Your Word to those who will come after me, through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.