Joash, under good mentorship, had made good choices. He had the temple rebuilt. That was his initiative, not the priest’s that raised him. But when he loses his wise counselor, he listens to others and promptly turns away from the Lord.

It’s hard to understand how that happens. But I know it so easily can.

A prophet, Zechariah, the son of the man who raised Joash, gives him a warning. “Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you!”

Joash didn’t learn to humble himself when he heard a message from the Lord. Maybe he never heard one before. Maybe his only encounters with God were second hand through his priestly father-figure.

Joash doesn’t humble himself when he hears God’s judgment from the prophet. He has the prophet killed.

We see here a difference between those in the Old Testament and the Spirit-filled believer in the new. When Zechariah is being stoned, he calls out to God to avenge him. Joash indeed will be killed for killing God’s prophet. When Stephen is stoned, he cries out as Jesus had for his attackers to be forgiven. We read that story in Acts 7.

We see the Lord’s hand against Joash even before his death. They Syrians invade with few men but the large army of Judah is defeated.

It works both ways. Judah defeated armies way larger than them because of God’s hand and they are defeated by armies way smaller than them because of God’s hand.

Your victories and your defeats belong to God.

See Him at work and seek His wisdom on what is going on and why. Learn from your mistakes. For the believer, defeats are victories in Christ Jesus because God is always working His good in our lives. We had a lesson to learn and are being strengthened even in our defeats if we put them in God’s hands and walk with Him through them.

If you stay with God, He will stay with you. God didn’t choose to forsake Joash. Joash is the one who made the choice.