2 Chronicles 24:17-25
Psalm 89:4-5, 29-34
Yesterday we read about how Athaliah, the evil queen, was killing her family so that she could hold on to power, but little baby Joash is hidden in the temple so that his grandmother cannot kill him. He grows up until age 7, then they crown him king and kill Athaliah. A happy ending? No, because King Joash was not a great king. Today we hear that King Joash, all grown up, repays the priest who saved him by killing his son. Killing innocent people is wicked, but killing the innocent son of someone who saved your life is beyond merely wicked.
What led King Joash to this atrocious action, killing Zechariah the priest? It was because Zechariah stood up and told the people that they were doing wrong by worshipping idols. People hate it when others people tell them that they are doing wrong. King Herod killed John the Baptist because he pointed out that sleeping with your brother’s wife is wrong. The clearest example of course is Jesus himself who was killed because his entire existence was an accusation to the sinners who saw how he lived, unless they were willing to be forgiven.
So should we be afraid to speak? We may not be killed, but we will be scorned. “How dare you judge me?” If we go around announcing what is right and wrong, we are making the world an unpleasant place. Our culture tells us that we ought to be quiet. And our culture is convincing. I do not want to be an unpleasant, offensive person.
Nevertheless, I must speak the truth. If 2 plus 2 is 4, then I cannot say that 2 plus 2 is 5. I do not need to announce this truth of math every moment of life, but if I see that the world believes that 2 plus 2 is 7, then I have an obligation to periodically announce the truth. I do not have the right to keep the truth to myself.
I believe that Zechariah was silent for a long time. Perhaps he said a little here and a little there, but the day came when he had no choice left but to stand on the balcony and tell the people that they were going the wrong way. We do not need to scream at every person we meet, but the time will come when we must stand up among the crowd and tell them the truth.