2 Chronicles 24 (NLT)
Joash Repairs the Temple (Joash’s Reform)
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. 3Jehoiada chose two wives for Joash, and he had sons and daughters.
4 At one point Joash decided to repair and restore the Temple of the Lord. 5 He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions: “Go to all the towns of Judah and collect the required annual offerings, so that we can repair the Temple of your God. Do not delay!” But the Levites did not act immediately.
6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord, levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant.”
7 Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal.
8 So now the king ordered a chest to be made and set outside the gate leading to the Temple of the Lord.
9 Then a proclamation was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem, telling the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, the servant of God, had required of the Israelites in the wilderness. 10 This pleased all the leaders and the people, and they gladly brought their money and filled the chest with it.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NIV)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
11 Whenever the chest became full, the Levites would carry it to the king’s officials. Then the court secretary and an officer of the high priest would come and empty the chest and take it back to the Temple again. This went on day after day, and a large amount of money was collected. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the construction supervisors, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the Temple of the Lord. They also hired metalworkers, who made articles of iron and bronze for the Lord’s Temple.
The reform of Joash was, in fact, one of the significant landmarks in the development of the upkeep of the Temple. This is not principally because of the apparent extent of the repairs, which was considerable. It can be imagined how much routine repair would have been necessary on a building as large, opulent—and by now as old!—as Solomon’s Temple. The importance of the change lies in the shifting of financial responsibility for the upkeep from king to people; the people recognized that the way of blessing was that of obedience.
–J. G. McConville
13 The men in charge of the renovation worked hard and made steady progress. They restored the Temple of God according to its original design and strengthened it. 14 When all the repairs were finished, they brought the remaining money to the king and Jehoiada. It was used to make various articles for the Temple of the Lord—articles for worship services and for burnt offerings, including ladles and other articles made of gold and silver. And the burnt offerings were sacrificed continually in the Temple of the Lord during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.
15 Jehoiada lived to a very old age, finally dying at 130. 16 He was buried among the kings in the City of David, because he had done so much good in Judah for God and his Temple.
Jehoiada’s Reforms Reversed (Joash’s Apostasy)
17 But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. 18 They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem.
Such a betrayal! Such a fatal weakness of character!
19Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen.
20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord, and now he has abandoned you!”
“You have abandoned the Lord”; other versions say forsaken, or deserted. The opposite is James 4:8, which says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That verse and this song, “Jesus, Draw Me Close,” HERE, serve to counter the disgraceful attitude shown in Joash above.
21 Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s Temple. 22 That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!”
Joash did not seek God. So with his last breath, Zechariah asks God to seek Joash.
Hebrews 10:30-31 (NKJV)
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The End of Joash’s Reign
23 In the spring of the year the Aramean army marched against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the nation. Then they sent all the plunder back to their king in Damascus. 24Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lord helped them conquer the much larger army of Judah. The people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so judgment was carried out against Joash.
25 The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed. Then he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery. 26 The assassins were Jozacar, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shomer.
27 The account of the sons of Joash, the prophecies about him, and the record of his restoration of the Temple of God are written in The Commentary on the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah became the next king.
Have you ever read the short story by the Southern American writer Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) called “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”? In the closing scene, an escaped convict, called “The Misfit,” kills the grandmother, a woman who has been more concerned about looking like a good Christian than being one. As he looks at her dead body, The Misfit remarks:
“She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”
I think of this line in relation to Joash. He, like the grandmother, is a phony, and is good only under direction and pretense. Once Jehoiada dies, Joash has no godly character of his own to guide him. Unfortunately, Joash does not get the opportunity for a deathbed revelation of truth, the way O’Connor’s grandmother does.
I do recommend the story to you! O’Connor was a devout Christian whose works center on God’s mysterious grace.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.