Jehoahaz Succeeds Josiah
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. And King Josiah went to meet him, and when Pharaoh Neco saw him he killed him at Megiddo. 30 His servants drove [o]his body in a chariot from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a fine of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
Jehoiakim Made King by Pharaoh
34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away and [p]brought him to Egypt, and he died there. 35 So Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land in order to give the money at the [q]command of Pharaoh. He exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land, each according to his valuation, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
It’s nothing short of amazing how our selfish nature can take control of our lives if we don’t purposefully surrender that control to God. Here are two sons of King Josiah, who had no rival as a king following the law of God (once he knew what the law said). Yet, rather than follow in the way of their father, they decided to go their own way. They thought they knew best how to run their own lives and run the kingdom.
Because of their pride and selfishness, they both lost the kingdom. Sure, Eliakim (later named Jehoiakim) retained the throne of Judah, but only at the behest of Pharaoh, and under heavy tribute/taxation. He was truly only a governor of the land ruling in Pharaoh’s name. So much for running his own life…
To be fair, it isn’t easy to surrender control, and that is likely even more difficult when one is the king of an entire country. High or low, God calls all of us to surrender. Though we lay down our life, we gain it in the end, living the life He designed for us. There is no higher calling than to do the will of our Father in heaven. And no greater arrogance than to deny Him and follow our own way.