He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
2 Chronicles 21:20
Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.
2 Chronicles 24:15-16
As I read this morning, my attention was drawn to the descriptions of the end of the various people recounted. The books of Chronicles are a litany of kings good and bad. It tells of their actions and explains what God did for them or against them. The first verse, from 2 Chronicles 21, is the description of the end of Jehoram. The verses from 2 Chronicles 24 tell the end of a priest, Jehoiada, who had done great things for Judah. There are a couple contrasts that I found particularly curious.
First, the age of these men. Jehoram started his rule at 32 and reigned for 8 years before he died, making him 40 years old at his death. He hadn’t even reached retirement age, yet. By contrast, Jehoiada was 130 years old when he died. Deuteronomy 30:20 says that in loving God is length of days. I’m not going to make a doctrine out of these two things, but Jehoiada seems, as far as 2 Chronicles is concerned, to have had a good run. It seems like he not only lived 130 years, but that he enjoyed those 130 years of life. Jehoram seems to have been suspicious and worried for all of his 40 years, making me conclude this: It is not the days in our life that bless us, but the Life in our days. Jesus says, in John 14:6, that He is the Life. If I chase an Eternal God, then the temporal life I live doing it just rolls right on into eternity with a miniscule speed bump.
Second, there is a huge difference in how the deaths of these two men were received. No one was sad to see Jehoram go. The Bible literally says that he departed with no one’s regret. He had done so much harm that the people just did what was necessary and called it a day. Contrast this with Jehoiada who was buried … in the city of David among the kings. A priest was buried with kings, but the king was tossed into whatever grave was available. I was once told that the proper time to leave is when people are still sad to see you go. For Jehoram, that time would have been when he was 32. For Jehoiada, he could probably have lived longer and still received the same treatment. It was all about the life they lived. And it is all about the life that I live. Will people be sad to see me go? It doesn’t have to be a case of seeing me depart when I die. Sometimes we must lay down an activity or ministry. Sometimes we have to leave a job. Will those who see me depart be sad to see me leave or will there be a collective sigh of relief? If I have labored for the Lord and the good of His people, then His people will be sad to see me go. If I have worked as unto the Lord in my job, then my employer will be sad to see me go. And that is the legacy that I should be laboring to leave in my wake; a legacy of people who are sad to see me go but know that God does everything to reach the goal of our sanctification.
How much Life is in my days and what legacy do I leave in my wake? My days should be brim-full and overflowing with Christ and my legacy one of laboring to bless those with whom I have to do.