Jehosheba. Hers is a name worth remembering.
How many times in life does it feel like all hope is lost? That there’s no way out, no end in sight?
Paul tells us that “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
If you’re feeling discouraged, uncertain, or confused; if you’re wondering how God is going to keep his promises in your situation; if you’re perplexed about what God is doing and why—then remember Jehosheba. Her story was written for your encouragement. That you might have hope.
First, some context. This story occurred in the 800s B.C. during the divided kingdom. King Ahaziah, Jehosheba’s brother, was dead and the kingdom of Judah was in chaos. Ruthless Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother (and possibly the daughter of evil Jezebel), seized the throne and destroyed the royal family.
“But Jehosheba” (2 Kings 11:2).
Nothing less than God’s promises to David, and thus his character—his faithfulness and trustworthiness—were at stake. If the royal family were destroyed, how would David’s throne “be established forever?” (2 Chronicles 17:14)
“But Jehosheba…took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s songs who were being put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not put to death. And he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the LORD, while Athaliah reigned over the land” (2 Kings 11:2-3).
The Bible tells us that Jehosheba was a princess and wife to Jehoida, the chief priest; other than that, all we have is this story told in 2 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22. But this story tells us all we need to know.
Jehosheba did the right thing at the right time. In the words of Mordecai to Queen Esther, who also chose to put herself on the line to preserve her people, “who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Encouragement and Hope
How does Jehosheba’s story speak to your situation?
For six years, all the people of Judah knew was Athaliah’s evil reign. Their future was uncertain. They couldn’t see what God was doing or how the story could possibly end well. Hope seemed lost.
They didn’t know that during that time, Jehosheba hid Joash and his nurse in Solomon’s temple. Not only was the rightful heir to the throne alive, but he was growing up with God-fearing guardians and being raised to be a God-fearing king. They couldn’t imagine that in the seventh year, Athaliah would be dead, Joash crowned, and a covenant made. They had no concept of the joy they would experience.
However, we can read that “all the people of the land rejoiced” (2 Chronicles 23:21). We know the end of their story, and the end of their story offers us encouragement and hope for the end of ours. It reminds us that the same God is working in places we can’t see and in ways we don’t understand. Nevertheless, he is certainly at work, and he has our joy in mind.
Not only was Jehosheba a remarkable woman who saved the life of a child king, but God used her actions to rescue his promises and preserve the line of David, the line of Jesus—our Savior and King. Jehosheba rescued Joash, who continued the line of David, which led to Jesus. We experience joy because Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled with God through his death on the cross.
Our situation was bleak. But God.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
We were dead, and God made us alive with Christ. He loved us in our sinful past; surely he loves us now that we are his sons and daughters. This truth ought to fill our hearts with hope for the present and future.
But if we’re honest, sometimes truth—even gospel truth—doesn’t feel like enough. To that I say, we can’t trust our feelings.
Jehosheba’s circumstances were bleak too, but instead of falling prey to her feelings, she acted with faith and obedience. At one of the darkest hours of her life, God used her to save the king and the kingdom.
What we do and say in our most discouraging, uncertain, and confused hours may turn out to be the actions that matter most. The days that test our faith and show it to be more precious than gold are the ones that will “result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
Remember Jehosheba. Take courage and embrace hope—for such a time as this.