—2 Chronicles 23:11 (NASB)
In the course of the priest Jehoiada rightfully restoring to the throne Ahaziah’s son Joash we are provided an example of a kind of reverse role of leadership. Most of the examples of good kings of Judah who led a spiritual revival did so as a result of their own personal rediscovery and return to God’s Word; Joash is initially provided the foundation of God’s Word (“gave him the testimony“) by the people. They knew that the current leadership was not just wrong from an earthly point of view, but spiritually as well and sought to re-establish leadership based on God’s Word themselves. Wouldn’t it be something if every congregation took this attitude?
The example we have here is not simply people who desire to restore David’s earthly legacy by reinstating a direct descendant to the throne (“put the crown on him“), but the re-establishment of David’s spiritual heritage which is someone clinging to God’s Word and ways exclusively (“gave him the testimony“). We have many accounts in the Bible of God calling a remnant faithful to His Word to minister to the majority who have forsaken it; here is a rare example of the reverse. It is quite a contrast to the process employed and the standards established by which so many churches and organizations today select leaders.
In addition, Joash provides a kind of picture of the entire work of salvation in the believer’s life, being saved from the old life, anointed with the Spirit, and established in the Word. It is not just a methodology suitable for the establishment of leaders, but a general pattern for all Christians, especially in that Joash was called to replace biblically bad leadership with biblically good leadership. We don’t need another charismatic personality; we need someone with a heart grounded first and foremost in God’s Word to the exclusion of nearly everything else.
Every spiritual revival has at its root a return to the Word. It is often associated with a single person bringing about a return to God’s Word like a John Wesley or George Whitfield, but in this case we are provided with the encouraging example that we don’t have to wait for such to come along, but can aid the process by engendering the leaders we have been given to begin first and foremost with the Word. Perhaps that is why we sometimes find present leadership lacking, because we ourselves have not made the Word the overriding qualification.†††