WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 08, 2022
TOPIC: AVOID AN UNFORTUNATE END
BY T. O. BANSO
“Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, And let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10 New King James Version).
Starting something is good but finishing it is better. Ecclesiastes 7:8a says the end of a thing is better than its beginning. A glorious end is preferable to a regrettable end. May you not have an unfortunate end. May you finish well in Jesus’ name.
Jehoiada the priest brought Joash to the throne of Judah by getting Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab of Israel, who was the queen of Judah for six years, killed (2 Chronicles 23:1-15). Athaliah had mercilessly murdered all her grandsons in her quest to take over the throne after the death of her son, Ahaziah. She was unaware that Joash, her youngest grandson, had been hidden in the house of the LORD for six years by his paternal aunt, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada.
Working with Joash who became king when he was seven years old, Jehoiada embarked on religious reforms (verses 16-21). He died at the age of 130 years. Though he wasn’t a king, he was buried among kings. Why? 2 Chronicles 24:16 says, “And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and His house” (New King James Version). Are you doing good towards God and His house? Are you also doing good towards fellow human beings?
Compare that narrative with that of Ahaz, who, despite being a king, was denied burial in the royal cemetery. Jehoiada didn’t have an unfortunate end like Ahaz who was the eleventh king of Judah. He was a bad king. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, promoting idolatry in Judah. He even shut the door of the temple. “So Ahaz gathered the articles of the house of God, cut in pieces the articles of the house of God, shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and made for himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 28:24 New King James Version).
But how did Ahaz end his life? Verse 27 says, “So Ahaz rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem; but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. Then Hezekiah his son reigned in his place” (New King James Version). His people didn’t honour him with burial in the royal cemetery. They must have said good radiance to bad rubbish! His end was unfortunate.
Let’s go back to the story of Joash who became the king with the help of Jehoiada. Joash started very well but went astray after Jehoiada’s death. They went back to idolatry. The people also conspired against Jehoiada’s son, Zachariah, who succeeded him as a priest. His offence was that, when the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, he rebuked Judah for disobeying the commandments of the LORD. Sadly, at the command of Joash, Jehoiada’s son was stoned to death in the courtyard of the temple (Chronicles 24:20-21).
Verse 22 says, “Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, ‘The LORD look on it, and repay!’” (New King James Version). But what was the end of Joash? He was assassinated by his officials because of Zechariah the priest, Jehoiada’s son.
2 Chronicles 24:24-25 says, “For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; but the LORD delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash. And when they had withdrawn from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed. So he died. And they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings” (New King James Version). This was an unfortunate end for Joash who started very well.
Jehoram, was the son of Jehoshaphat, a good kind of Judah, but Jehoram was an evil king; he forsook the God of his father (2 Chronicles 21:10b). He was 32 years old when he became king. But he followed the example of the kings of Israel although he was a king of Judah for he had married Ahab’s daughter (verse 6). Verse 4 says that when he had become established as king, he killed his brothers and some of the leaders of Judah. He promoted idolatry so much that the Prophet Elijah had to write a letter of God’s judgment to him (verses 12-15).
What was the end of Jehoram like? He had an unfortunate end. Verses 21:18-20 say, “After all this the LORD struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease. Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings” (New King James Version).
The life of King Uzziah also teaches us a lesson about avoiding an unfortunate end. Uzziah became the king of Judah when he was sixteen years old, reigning in place of his father, Amaziah. His fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong (2 Chronicles 26:15). But he had an unfortunate end after he intruded into the office of the priest. All efforts by Amaziah the priest and the other eighty priests to discourage him failed. He entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense
2 Chronicles 26:19-20 says, “Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him” (New King James Version).
Uzziah became a leper and could, therefore, no longer rule. He lived in isolation. In his place, Jotham, his son, ruled and judged Judah. When Uzziah died, he was not buried in the royal tomb because he was a leper but was buried in a nearby cemetery owned by the kings (2 Chronicles 26:21-23). What an unfortunate end!
We can also learn a lesson from the life of Balaam the soothsayer. He said, “Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, And let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10 New King James Version). But Balaam didn’t do what would make him die the death of the righteous. He didn’t live the life of the righteous. Dying the death of the righteous requires more than praying for it.
Balaam had an unfortunate end. The Israelites slew him with the sword in revenge for what happened at Peor (Joshua 13:22). Because, through his counsel, the Midianite women caused the children of Israel to trespass against the LORD at Peor, and there was a plague among the Israelites, which killed twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:9; 31:16).
Revelation 2:14 says that Balaam taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. The LORD told Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel (Numbers 31:2). During the revenge, Balaam was slain (verse 8). He didn’t die the death of the righteous, as he had prayed. His end was not like that of the righteous. It was an unfortunate end.
Avoid an unfortunate end in your walk with God and work for Him, profession or vocation, or life on earth. Obey the Word of God. Live by its principles.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to obey the Word of God and apply its principles to my life. I shall finish well in Jesus’ name. I will not have an unfortunate end. I pray that those whose direction in life is headed for an unfortunate end will repent and follow Your Word.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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