Today's devotion from 2 Chronicles 23 and 24.
Joash and Jehoiada made a good team. When Judah needed a king, Jehoiada and the priests led the way. When the priests refused to set about the task of collecting the temple tax to refurbish the Lord's house, it was Joash who spearheaded the effort. In both cases, the people responded with rejoicing. This was a good time to be in Judah.
Then Jehoiada died.
With the passing of his spiritual father-figure, Joash became lost. It reads almost as a reversal of roles. Where the council of Jehoiada had provided positive and healthy direction for Joash, the new advice from the secular princes led the nation astray. The temple was neglected and the idols raised.
Yet, even as God's wrath was kindled toward Judah and Jerusalem, His mercy and grace persisted. He called prophets to stand among the people and proclaim the truth, but none would listen. We have this beautiful verse that reads, "Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people." (2 Chronicles 24:20, ESV)
What beauty in the use of linguistic imagery to paint the picture of the call of God in the life of Zechariah. As tight as Jehoiada and Joash were, I can imagine the impact Zechariah's words must have had on the king. Can't you imagine young Zechariah accompanying the aged priestly advisor? Can't you see Joash and Zechariah at least having some awareness of one another? Perhaps this relationship was precisely why God called Zechariah.
But we must not fail to see the whole truth. Zechariah was called to a doomed ministry, at least that's what we would say. His ministry led to no reformation and ended in his being stoned to death by command of the very king who had leaned on his father's strength for so long. At least, that's what we would say. But the Spirit of God had clothed Zechariah, and the Spirit is not unsuccessful.
We are often caught up with the idea that success is defined in desirable outcome. I'm successful if I make lots of money. I'm successful if i pastor a large church. I'm successful if I'm famous and on television. If I pastor a small rural church, I must be a failure. If I'm just an average person, I'm at the very least not a success.
God forgive us for confusing the American Dream with the King's Call.
In the eyes of our Eternal King, success is obedience. Success is faithfulness. Success is not measured in what is obtained, but in what is committed. That is ultimately what you are called to today. Don't confuse God's desire for you with the advice of princes. Seek today to be faithful and be content to let God have the success.