“Jehoram…reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died.” (2 Chron. 21:20).
When I was a young boy, I remember a cowboy movie titled A Fistful of Dollars, in which the hero (Clint Eastwood) was identified as, “a man with no name.” Another DVD I came across recently was titled, My Name Is Nobody. I also am 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. As a pastor, I have attended hundreds of funerals. Most often at funerals, family members and friends have feelings of regret about things they couldn’t or didn’t do for the deceased person. With Jehoram, it was different! Second Chronicles 21:20 says of him, “no one was sorry when he died” (NLT). What a horrible way to be remembered! The NIV says, “he passed away to no one’s regret.”
Will you be missed one day?
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 no one regretted?
From 2 Chronicles 21, I would like to share two reasons I believe King Jehoram came to this tragic end and then touch on the honor he lost.
1. Jehoram Yielded to Evil (Sin) (2 Chron. 21:4-6, 10-11)
Second 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 avoid this kind of family rivalry, his father, King Jehoshaphat, carefully divided his inheritance among all the brothers, with Jehoram getting the best share by being appointed king (v. 3). However, after consolidating his power, Jehoram planned and executed the massacres (v. 4). His wife, Athaliah, following in his wicked footsteps, later attempted to wipe out the line of David (2 Chron. 22:10).
Verse 6 tells us that Jehoram, “was as wicked as King Ahab.” It’s a pity that he followed his father-in-law, Ahab’s, wicked ways, instead of the more godly ways of his own father, King Jehoshaphat. Verse 6 adds, “Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” Verse 10 shows us, however, that the worst decision Jehoram made was that he “abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors,” which led to severe idolatry across the nation (v. 11).
It’s amazing what the power of sin can do to a man or woman who yields to it, including even a man with a godly heritage such as 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 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 never have committed yourself to Jesus and 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 warnings. First, verses 8-10 speak 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 would be certain death after he and his chariot commanders were surrounded by the Edomite army. This possibly could have been a warning given by God for him to repent and turn back to God.
Second, it is mentioned in verse 12 that Jehoram received a letter from Elijah, a 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.
Third, Jehoram had rejected God’s warning about marrying people involved in idolatrous practices (Deut. 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 given that her own wicked ways are seen in chapter 22:10-12.
So, has God been warning you about some area of your life that needs course correction, as we often are 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 your intimacy with the Lord Jesus can be renewed.
3. Jehoram Lost All His Honor
Because he forsook and disobeyed God, as well as rejected God’s warnings, the following disasters and judgments came upon Jehoram, some of which was prophesied by Elijah’s, bringing total dishonor to his life.
• He was defeated in battle by the Philistines and allied forces (vv. 16-17).
• He lost his entire family except for one son (v. 17). His wicked wife Athaliah survived. too.
• He lost all his wealth (v 17).
• He was struck with a severe and terminal intestinal disease, which caused humiliation (vv. 18-19).
• After two years of suffering, he died in great pain and agony (v. 19).
• Although he was a king, the people made no fire in his honor (v. 19).
• He was not buried in the royal cemetery (v. 20).
• Finally, “No one was sorry when he died” (v. 20, NLT); “He passed away to no one’s regret” (NIV).
Let’s be sure we don’t allow our lives to be controlled by any desires that eventually will 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 as if he or she has lost all honor due to bad situations: situations such as divorce, failure, 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. Let me assure you that the Lord Jesus can bring great honor and value to your life if you are willing to open your heart to Him and trust His promises.
A 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 my country of Sri Lanka is a 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:
“With Jesus, I am a hero. Without Jesus, I am zero!”
Finally, one thing is certain. When you live for Christ, even if you’re not missed on 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!