How Shall We Then Die?

Devotional on 2 Chron 21:20 by Don Strickland

2 Chron 21:20: “[Jehoram] was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret.”

How sad. A man lives his life, is even king of a nation for eight years, and when he dies, no one mourns his passing. How very sad. But before you mourn for King Jehoram’s end, you need to ask why his fate was so tragic. Where was his family? Why did he apparently have no friends?

2 Chronicles 21 is devoted to the life and death of this man. It is a grievous account of a king of Judah who had completely rejected God. Once he had consolidated power, he murdered his six brothers and anyone else who might threaten his hold on the throne. He then followed the evil King Ahab of Israel, whose daughter Jehoram had married, by leading Judah into idolatry. For all of his sin, God judged Jehoram by bringing rebellion and invasion to his kingdom. His wives, children and possessions were all carried away in the judgment that came upon the nation he ruled. Only his youngest son was spared to him. Jehoram was then struck down by an intestinal disease which concluded in an agonizing death. So no one mourned him when he died. He did not even received a funeral or burial plot befitting a king.

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Let’s contrast this sad life with another life recorded in the Bible. In Acts 9.36-42, we read about a Christian woman named Dorcas. She was highly praised for her ministry to the poor in a town called Joppa. She became sick and died. Do those who know her react to her passing with little grief? No. They are overcome with grief. They send for Peter, hoping God will do something for her through him. They surround Peter upon his arrival and with loud sobbing they present to him the tangible evidence of her service to them. They want her back living with them. God graciously answers Peter’s prayer and resuscitates her with the result that the gospel is spread to many in Joppa.

Jehoram had power and wealth, but he rebelled against God, using what he had to destroy his nation,

family, and ultimately himself. His actions in life ensured that no one would mourn him at his death.

Don Strickland

Don Strickland

However, Dorcas served those who could not return the material favor. Her actions revealed her heart. And she did not just sometimes do good things, Luke tells us that she “was always doing good.” It was a way of life for her. Those to whom she ministered perceived her sincere heart for God and love for them. They mourned deeply for her, and, being unwilling to let her go, responded to her service for them by seeking out a miracle cure.

Of the two examples above, which of these lives does your life follow more closely – the destructive, godless life of King Jehoram, or the productive, Christ-like Dorcas? How will those who know you best really react when you pass from this earth? Will you be mourned because of the blessing you have been to others?


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