Joash - The dependant King
John Griffiths, Port Talbot, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
1 Joash’s Aim (continued)
‘Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord’, 2 Chr. 24. 4.
At 30 years of age Joash shows a brief flash of maturity and independence when he questions Jehoiada as to the lack of progress in raising revenue. No answer is recorded but Joash now takes overall responsibility for the project, to the relief of the priests and Levites.
Joash refers to the law of Moses in his monologue with Jehoiada - perhaps an indication that he had been reading ‘the testimony’ given to him by Jehoiada at his coronation. Giving, to support the Lord’s work in the New Testament, is always on a freewill basis. It is not based on the tithe, but is to be proportionate and cheerful. We should set aside for the Lord’s work each and every Lord’s day as the Lord enables.
The supervisors who received the money to pay the workmen were transparently honest and no public accounting was deemed necessary. Nevertheless, when the chest was emptied and the tellers counted up the revenue, this was undertaken by the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer, with the king and high priest showing a keen interest.
Paul was aware of the propriety of handling finances. When the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem was to be conveyed to the elders of the church at Jerusalem it was placed in the hands of brethren chosen by the local assemblies, 2 Cor. 8. 19-22. Giving financially is part of our stewardship but only a part. We are expected to give of our time, talent, and gift, not just money, to further the Lord’s work in support of the house of God.
Joash was involved not only in providing revenue but other resources, too: ‘them that had the oversight of the house of the Lord’, 2 Kgs. 12. 11; also, ‘the carpenters and builders that wrought upon the house of the Lord, and the masons and hewers of stone’. As workmen, building God’s house, ‘let every man take heed how he buildeth’, 1 Cor. 3. 10. The reason for the caution, ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God’, v. 16. We are building a temple of God: the local assembly. We need to ‘take care’ as to the principles, practices and persons that are built into the local assembly.
He not only resourced the workmen but the materials, i.e., timber, hewed stone, iron, brass and finally, the vessels of silver. Why? ‘For the sons of Athaliah had broken up the house of God’ and stolen the vessels for use in the house of Baal. This was the counterfeit religious system of that day. We are faced with Christendom today. It will become the apostate church following the rapture. We are to be separate from the world’s organized religion as clearly and categorically as Jehoiada when he rid Jerusalem of Baal’s house and priest. ‘Come out of her my people’, is the cry of God, Rev. 18. 4.
What are we building into the house, the temple of God? Is it gold, silver and precious stones or wood, hay and stubble? Is it that which is valued by God or that which has volume and bulk and will be consumed when tried by fire? I enjoyed 2 Chronicles chapter 24 verse 13, ‘So the workmen wrought and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it’.
A wonderful testimony to the workmen and a tribute to Joash and Jehoiada yet, sadly, we find this shortcoming, ‘but the high places were not taken away’. It would require Hezekiah and Josiah to complete the work. ‘I have not found thy works perfect (complete) before God’, was the condemnation of the church at Sardis, Rev. 3. 2. Also, Paul cautions Archippus, ‘Take heed to the ministry – that you fulfil (complete) it’, Col. 4. 17. This should be our spiritual objective and we should bend all our energy to this end – assembly building, repairing the breaches and completing the work. The house of God was to be restored to its original state, ‘in his state’; that is, as per the original pattern. We are expected to build according to the blueprint in the New Testament.
ACT 3 RUINED and REWARDED
– dependent on the influence of Judah’s princes.
Paul’s words to the Galatians, may be modified, ‘O foolish Joash who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth’?
2 Joash’s Degeneration
‘Then the king hearkened unto them’, i.e., the princes of Judah.
‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes’, Ps. 118. 9. How telling is this verse as far as Joash is concerned!
The degradation of the nation and its leaders is seen in their plea to the king for leniency that idolatry might be resorted to. The high places were still available even if Baal had taken a blow. They wanted compromise and they wanted convenience. It was easier to visit the shrines than to go up to Jerusalem three times a year. God in His grace gives warning by the prophets but ‘they would not give ear’. God forbid that we should compromise the assembly position, and meet out of convenience rather than conviction.
Zechariah is both a priest and a prophet. He is the son of Jehoiada and cousin of King Joash. Spirit energized, he condemns Judah’s transgression, only to be stoned to death in the temple court by order of his cousin.
The influence of the princes has led the nation to idolatry, revealed the base ingratitude of Joash towards his foster-parents, Jehoiada and Jehosheba, also their son Zechariah, and resulted in the iniquitous act of murder sanctioned by the king himself.
The New Testament reflects, ‘from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias whom ye slew between the temple and the altar’, Matt. 23.35. The Jewish scriptures begin with Genesis and end with Chronicles, hence, Abel and Zechariah are the first and last martyrs.
3 Joash’s Discipline
‘The Lord look upon it and require it’, prayed Zechariah.
- God challenges Joash by His seers – but to no avail.
- God chastens Joash by the Syrians – but to no avail.
Hazael is first appeased as Joash robs the sanctuary and the treasury of their silver and gold and turns it over to him. This was not sufficient to prevent a small detachment of elite Syrian troops humiliating Judah’s army and leaving Joash wounded – ‘for they left him in great diseases’.
- God chided Joash by the sufferings which His instrument Hazael inflicted.
Hazael was anointed by Elijah as king of Syria and was the Lord’s rod to chasten His people – but to no avail. Sadly, he despised the chastening of the Lord instead of being exercised thereby, Heb. 12. 5-11.
He lost respect
Joash was slain by two of his own officers as a direct result of his murder of Zechariah. How demeaning that his death was carried out by two men whose fathers were Jewish but whose mothers were an Ammonite and Moabite respectively. Ammon and Moab were the result of an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters.
He lacked recognition
Though buried in Jerusalem, the city of David, he was not buried in the sepulchres of the kings. But do you know who was? Jehoiada the high priest was buried with full honours because ‘he had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house’.
He is left off the record
Four kings are omitted from our Lord’s genealogy in Matthew chapter one – Ahaziah, Amaziah and, of course, Joash! Then, later, Jehoiachin.
What a lesson for us today. Those we think are worthy of recognition and reward at the judgement seat may well be those that lose out. Let us make sure that we are not in the category of those who lose their reward.
This passage may well have been written for Joash, ‘But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness and commiteth iniquity and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned’, Ezek. 18. 24.
The challenge of Joash’s life for us may be summarized in the words of Paul to the Galatians, ‘Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?’ 5. 7.