2 Kings 12:1-16 (Part 1) – Are We Willing to Do the Really Hard Work?

Posted: July 17, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 12:1-16 (Part 1 of 3)

Joash Repairs the Temple

In today’s blog, I got stuck on Verse 3 of the passage. Joash did much good as we see in the passage but he didn’t take on the ingrained problem. He did not take on the practice of people offering sacrifices, even if they were to the Lord, in the pagan shrines scattered around Judah. He did not take on the toughest problem. He did not take on the issue of syncretism. That’s a five-dollar word that means combining religious beliefs from various religions to create a new or altered belief system. Joash didn’t know what to do or chose to do nothing about the fact that the nation as a whole was no longer truly worshiping God. They were fashioning their own religion from God and from the surrounding man-made pagan religions of the Middle Eastern region of the time.

That is the essence of the world in which live today as well. We see a new religion emerging where God only loves us. He has no justice about Him. There are no longer any standards by which we are to live our lives. We have redefined love as accepting anything and everything. Because that is what God wants. God wants us to be happy and content and fulfilled. With that type of God, He is concerned with our happiness, our contentment, our fulfillment. He is there to make sure that we are fully self-actualized. Anything that impedes me from growing into the fully flowered individual that God intended me to be is bigotry and hatred. Because – God just wants me to be happy. With God wanting me to be happy, then, anything that I do that makes me happy is thus acceptable to God. The catch is that we define what makes us happy. Thus, we make ourselves God in this modern day religion that is emerging in America. Further, what makes me happy is OK with God and thus we redefine what His Word says as well. In this religion, we must tolerate all things and if you do not you are intolerant, bigoted, and backwards.

On the opposite end of the scale, there are those who claim to be Christian who are against everything and raise certain sins above others and demonize them. We have Christians who think certain sins enunciated as sins in the Bible are worse than others and will not engage in meaningful conversations with those who actively participate in those sins (see new religion description in previous paragraph). To these extremists, we select who the gospel can be shared with. We define who God loves and who He does not.

This world in which we have fashioned our own versions of worshipping God here in the 21st century is what I thought of when I got stuck on Verse 3 of this passage this morning. I thought of how Joash didn’t really address the main problem of syncretism in the Judean society. He made reforms with the true worship of God at the Temple but he did not really address what was going on in the nation. It is that idea of fashioning our own versions of Christianity here in the 21st century that stuck in my mind as I read through this passage, 2 Kings 12:1-16. Let’s read it now:

Chapter 12

1 [a]Joash[b] began to rule over Judah in the seventh year of King Jehu’s reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 All his life Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Yet even so, he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there.

4 One day King Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money brought as a sacred offering to the Lord’s Temple, whether it is a regular assessment, a payment of vows, or a voluntary gift. 5 Let the priests take some of that money to pay for whatever repairs are needed at the Temple.”

6 But by the twenty-third year of Joash’s reign, the priests still had not repaired the Temple. 7 So King Joash called for Jehoiada and the other priests and asked them, “Why haven’t you repaired the Temple? Don’t use any more money for your own needs. From now on, it must all be spent on Temple repairs.” 8 So the priests agreed not to accept any more money from the people, and they also agreed to let others take responsibility for repairing the Temple.

9 Then Jehoiada the priest bored a hole in the lid of a large chest and set it on the right-hand side of the altar at the entrance of the Temple of the Lord. The priests guarding the entrance put all of the people’s contributions into the chest. 10 Whenever the chest became full, the court secretary and the high priest counted the money that had been brought to the Lord’s Temple and put it into bags. 11 Then they gave the money to the construction supervisors, who used it to pay the people working on the Lord’s Temple—the carpenters, the builders, 12 the masons, and the stonecutters. They also used the money to buy the timber and the finished stone needed for repairing the Lord’s Temple, and they paid any other expenses related to the Temple’s restoration.

13 The money brought to the Temple was not used for making silver bowls, lamp snuffers, basins, trumpets, or other articles of gold or silver for the Temple of the Lord. 14 It was paid to the workmen, who used it for the Temple repairs. 15 No accounting of this money was required from the construction supervisors, because they were honest and trustworthy men. 16 However, the money that was contributed for guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the Lord’s Temple. It was given to the priests for their own use.

In this passage, for today’s blog, we must look at the fact that Joash did not go far enough in removing sin from the nation, but he did much that was good and right. The Israelites were supposed to offer sacrifices to God only in designated areas under supervision of the priests, not just anywhere (see Deuteronomy 12:13-14). Making sacrifices in the shrines scattered around the country copied pagan customs and encouraged other pagan practices to enter their worship. By blending these beliefs, people were custom-making their religion, and it led them far away from God.

Here in the 21st century, we as true Christians must realize that we have done a poor job sharing the gospel in the last 50 years. We have done a poor job of meeting people where they are at. We have demonized people who believe differently than we do and have written them off. We have taken an us vs. them mentality in modern day Christianity. We have defined who is worth sharing the gospel with. I think that our Savior said, “Go and make disciples!” He did not qualify who we were to share it with.

Further, it is our responsibility to engage those that believe differently from us in ways that “meet them where they are at!” We do not, of course, compromise God’s Word in the process. We stand firm on His timeless Word, but we do not own what it says. We do not define who it can be shared with. We must encounter those of this modern syncretist movement in ways that they will understand and encounter them with the truth of the Bible. How we do that will determine if there is a revival of Christianity in America or whether we will further recede into the woodwork. How we do that will determine if churches will continue to close. How we do that will determine whether true Christianity survives.

We must realize that Christianity and all religion is seen as irrelevant and intolerant today. That’s why people have fashioned their own religion. We must do the hard work of the going. We must do the hard work of making disciples. We must encounter people whose beliefs are opposite of ours with the gospel message. It is this time in history where being a Christian in America is no longer going to be easy. It’s going to get harder and harder.

Are we up for the big game of going and making disciples in a world that no longer sees us as necessary and thinks of us as irrelevant? Are we up for encountering people with the truth of the gospel in love and not us vs. them? Are we willing to do the tough work, the hard work, the get out of our comfort zone to spread the gospel work? Am I? Are you?

Amen and Amen.

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