‘Jehoram……….. reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. ….’ (2 Chronicles 21:20)
When I was a young boy, I remember a cowboy movie titled ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ where the hero (Clint Eastwood) was identified as, ‘a man with no name’. Another movie DVD I came across recently was titled, ‘My Name is Nobody’. I am also reminded of a tear- jerking Country/Pop song, recorded by a lady from England named Karen Young and by the singing group, The Travelling Wilburys. The song went like this:
I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Nobody wants me, I’m nobody’s child
Nobody likes to be a ‘nobody’!
Today, I want to speak about a man ‘whose death nobody regretted’. His name was King Jehoram of Judah. 2 Chronicles 21:20 says of him, “no one was sorry when he died” (NLT). What a horrible way to be remembered! The NIV says of him, “he passed away to no one’s regret”.
Proposition: Will you be missed one day or not?
The name Jehoram means, ‘Jehovah is exalted’. So, what brought a man with such a noble name to be identified as a man whose death ‘nobody regretted’?
From 2 Chronicles 21, I would like to share 2 reasons why I believe King Jehoram came to this tragic end, and then touch on the honor he lost. The 2 reasons are:
1) Jehoram Yielded to Evil (sin)
(Read 2 Chronicles 21:4-6, 10-11)
2 Chronicles 21:4 says, that when Jehoram established himself as king, “he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah”. This shows how badly he abused his powers. To possibly avoid this kind of family rivalry, His father, King Jehoshaphat had carefully divided his inheritance amongst all the brothers, with Jehoram getting the best share by being appointed King (vs. 3). However, after consolidating his power, Jehoram planned and executed the massacre as shown in vs. 4. His wife Athaliah, following in his wicked footsteps, would later attempt to wipe out the line of David (2 Chronicles 22:10).
Vs. 6 tells us that Jehoram, “was as wicked as King Ahab….”. It’s a pity that he followed Ahab’s (his wife’s father’s) wicked ways, instead of the more godly ways of his own father, King Jehoshaphat. Vs. 6 further adds, “Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight”. Verse 10 sadly shows us however, that the worst decision Jehoram made was that he ‘abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors”. This led to severe idolatry across the nation (vs 11).
It’s amazing what the power of sin can do to a man or woman who yields to it, even a man with a godly heritage like Jehoram. The awfulness of sin can be seen in the destructive patterns of much of human behavior in the world today. As Christians, let’s realize that sin can bind us too, if we are not careful of temptations that come against us. The consequences of sin are always painful as seen in the life of King Jehoram and as seen also in the fall of many Christian leaders.
Being tempted to sin is one thing, yielding to sin is quite another matter!
Today, are you bound in any way through sin? Turn back to Jesus with your whole heart today and let Him break any bondage that the evil one may have brought into your life.
If you are reading this and maybe have never committed yourself to Jesus and have had the power of sin broken in your life, you can do so, right now. Repent of your sin and invite Jesus into your life. He gave Himself on a cross to bring forgiveness, salvation through God’s grace and the gift of eternal life to you. The famous hymn by Oswald J Smith says,
When Jesus comes, the tempter’s power is broken,
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
2) Jehoram Rejected God’s Warnings
Jehoram received three possible warnings. Firstly, Vs 8-10 speaks about Edom, a formerly subdued nation, revolting against Judah during King Jehoram’s reign. In the battle that followed, God saved Jehoram from what seemed like certain death, after he and his chariot commanders were surrounded by the Edomite army. This could possibly be a warning given by God for him to repent and turn back to God.
Secondly, it is mentioned in vs 12 that Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet. This letter warned him of the severe consequences of his evil ways (covered in this sermon in point 3). This was another opportunity for Jehoram to repent and turn back to the Lord. However, we see no repentance in Jehoram’s wicked heart.
Thirdly, Jehoram had rejected God’s warning about marrying someone involved in idolatrous practices (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). King Jehoram married the wrong lady, Athaliah, who hailed from a notorious, idol-worshipping family! She happened to be the daughter of King Ahab. No doubt, Athaliah had much to do with Jehoram’s disobedience since her own wicked ways are seen in chapter 2 Chronicles 22:10-12.
So, has God been warning you about some area of your life that needs ‘course correction’, like we are often advised by the GPS in our vehicles? In fact, reading this sermon today could well be God’s way of speaking prophetically into your life. If so, maybe it’s time to make the necessary changes so that your intimacy with the Lord Jesus could be renewed.
3) Jehoram Lost all his Honor
Since he forsook and disobeyed God, and since he rejected God’s warnings, the following disasters and judgments came upon Jehoram, some of it as prophesied in Elijah’s letter, bringing total dishonor to his life.
• He was defeated in battle by the Philistines and allied forces (2 Chronicles 16-17).
• He lost his entire family except for one son (2 Chronicles 17).
• He lost all his wealth (2 Chronicles 17).
• He was struck with a severe and terminal intestinal disease which caused humiliation (2 Chronicles 17:18-19).
• After two years of suffering, he died in great pain and agony (2 Chronicles 19).
• Although he was a King, the people made no fire in his honor (2 Chronicles 19).
• He was not buried in the Royal cemetery (2 Chronicles 20).
• Last of all, ‘NO ONE WAS SORRY WHEN HE DIED’ (vs 20 NLT). The NIV says, ‘He passed away to no one’s regret’.
Let’s be sure that we don’t allow our lives to be controlled by any desires that will eventually bring such dishonor to us! Let it not be said of us, ‘He (She) passed away to no one’s regret’. A quote I came across says,
‘Live your life in such a way that your autograph will be asked for one day, and not your fingerprints’!
On the other hand, someone reading this may be feeling that you have lost all honor due to bad situations that came upon you. Situations like, a divorce, a failure, a sickness, physical or sexual abuse, depression, widowhood at a young age, not being able to have a baby etc. I could go on with the list. Maybe you feel that satan has robbed you of God’s best. But, let me assure you, that the Lord Jesus can bring great honor & value to your life once again, if you are willing to open your heart to Him and trust His promises.
The song by Third Day says,
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus.
The greatest honor Jesus can give you is shown in John 1:12 which says, “..to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God”. Yes, you can become a child of the living God!
A cheap mode of transport in Sri Lanka is the three-wheeled vehicle called a trishaw. The slogans and ads painted on trishaws in my country have a witty culture of their own. I would like to quote a statement, exactly as I saw it on a trishaw recently. It said,
‘With Jesus I am hero: without Jesus I am zero’!
Finally, one thing is certain. When you live for Christ, even if you’re not missed too much on this earth, a ‘Grand Welcome’ awaits you when you reach Heaven someday! So, will you pass away to no one’s regret or will it be to Jesus’ welcome?
God bless you! (If you have been blessed by this sermon, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave your comments below.)
Note: The inspiration for this sermon came after reading a short devotional from an ‘Our Daily Bread’ booklet some time ago.