2 Kings 12 (NIV)
Joash Repairs the Temple
1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
This implies that when Jehoiada died, Jehoash no longer did what was right in the sight of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 24:15-23 tells us that he turned to idolatry when Jehoiada died, and judgment followed.
3 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
How they loved their sin! What “high places” are in our lives, that we continue to worship at the cost of our own faithfulness?
4 Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of the LORD—the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. 5 Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers, then use it to repair whatever damage is found in the temple.”
The temple needed restoration because it had been vandalized by Athaliah and her sons (2 Chronicles 24:7). And should we wonder at the king’s attention to the temple, when it had been his home during his earliest years?
6 But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple. 7 Therefore King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.” 8 The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
9 Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the LORD. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the LORD. 10 Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the LORD and put it into bags.
11 When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the LORD—the carpenters and builders, 12 the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and blocks of dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the LORD, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.
13 The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the LORD; 14 it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. 15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the temple of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.
So Joash gets to the heart of the problem — not a lack of money, but a lack of good financial management. The temple repairs were completed at no expense to the priests, with trustworthy workers and generous offerings from the people.
17 About this time Hazael king of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem. 18 But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his predecessors—Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah—and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the LORD and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem.
Why didn’t he trust God for deliverance? Instead, he traded away sacred treasure for a temporary stay.
19 As for the other events of the reign of Joash, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 20 His officials conspired against him and assassinated him at Beth Millo, on the road down to Silla. 21 The officials who murdered him were Jozabad son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer. He died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And Amaziah his son succeeded him as king.
Joash — his reign began with such promise, and ended with such disgrace.
There are two kinds of mediocre lives:
(1) Those that just never really pursue a godly life. They tolerate sins within and without.
(2) Those that do well for a while. They are motivated, one way or the other, to excel in doing what is right and good. But when that influence is gone, like Jehoiada in Joash’s life, they are easily influenced by others.
Let us learn a lesson from Joash’s negative example not to live a mediocre life! Let us resolve to remain diligently faithful to the end, to honor the Lord in both life and death.
This hymn, about those who finished strong and are now “with angels shining bright,” is one of my Top Five Hymns. It was sung at my mother’s funeral in both English and Norwegian. “Behold A Host Arrayed in White,” sung HERE by the Mandel Kantori from Norway.
- Behold a host, arrayed in white,
Like thousand snow-clad mountains bright!
With palms they stand;
Who is this band
Before the throne of light?
Those are the saints of glorious fame,
Who from the great affliction came
And in the flood
Of Jesus’ blood
Are cleansed from guilt and shame.
They now serve God both day and night;
They sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring
As they all sing
With angels shining bright.
- Despised and scorned, they sojourned here;
But now, how glorious they appear!
Those martyrs stand,
A priestly band,
God’s throne forever near.
On earth they wept through bitter years;
Now God has wiped away their tears,
Transformed their strife
To heav’nly life,
They now enjoy the Sabbath rest,
The heav’nly banquet of the blest;
The Lamb, their Lord,
At festal board
Himself is host and guest.
- O blessed saints in bright array
Now safely home in endless day,
Extol the Lord,
Who with His Word
Sustained you on the way.
The steep and narrow path you trod;
You toiled and sowed the Word abroad;
Rejoice and bring
Your fruits and sing
Before the throne of God.
The myriad angels raise their song;
O saints, sing with that happy throng!
Lift up one voice;
Let heav’n rejoice
In our Redeemer’s song!