2 Chronicles 24:1-16 (Part 2) – Getting Beat Before You Even Play the Game

Posted: October 5, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 24:1-16 (Part 2 of 2)

Joash Repairs the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

In football, there are often games where a highly successful and perennial champion team is playing a mediocre team that has a mediocre history. In so many of those cases, the players of the mediocre team are just in awe of the swagger, style, speed, and confidence of the championship team. As they are warming up for the game, that awe gets in their head and often the mediocre team has already lost the game before the kickoff of the game even happens. They are defeated before the game even begins.

In ministry, you can get pretty frustrated when ideas for new directions get turned down (and that, of course, happens more often not) repeatedly. It can make you discouraged and take your will to fight for new ideas within the church and new ideas for reaching the world outside our doors. It can make you despondent about carrying out the same old, same old and you can lose focus. You can get the feeling that, after a while, that “ah, they’d never go for that!” and you can give up on pushing the church to grow and evolve.

Such a place is a dangerous place for a pastor to be in where he is in the “ah, they’d never go for that!” place. In that place, a pastor quits thinking fresh thoughts. In that place, a pastor quits thinking 3-6 months ahead of his congregation. In that place, you just repeat history because it requires no vision. In that place, you succumb to the power of the phrase, “this is the way we have always done it!” In that place, a pastor simply becomes a babysitter. It is the nature of human beings to resist change. It is the nature of human beings to love routine. It is the nature of human beings to love the familiarity of a routine where “this is the way we have always done it.”

When a pastor, thus, is not pressing against the wall to push the church forward, to challenge it to adapt to the rigors of a different world than that of the Greatest Generation, he lowers the expectations he has for his congregation. In college football programs, there are the superior programs and there are the mediocre programs. The difference often is the mindset. A mediocre program can become a superb program when the alumni and the fan base are challenged to believe and support the program in superb program ways. The coaching staff must instill a belief in themselves and their players that they can be excellent and go about achieving it. There must be a belief that the program CAN be great, must be a belief that any obstacles to greatness will be removed. There must be a belief that the players can work harder than any other program. There must be a belief by the coaching staff that there are no high school football players that are off the list because you know who will get them.  There must be a belief that the program can be excellent.

It is the same way for pastors and their churches. It starts with the pastor. If he gives up on pushing for excellence and starts accepting the voice that says, “ah, they’d never go for that!” then things become stationary and stagnant. Even if your new ideas get rejected 11 times in a row, there’s always that 12th idea that could be the home run for your church that God was waiting to show you and your church. We must keep pushing. We must keep the expectations high. Even if defeats have been aplenty. Failure to keep pushing could lead to you and your church missing that blessing comes with the persistence to get to idea #12 (or whatever the number might be for you).

It is that idea of not settling for the mindset of “ah, they will never go for that!” that I thought of this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 24:1-16. Let us read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

16 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and the king and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. 17 And all the people went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.

18 Jehoiada now put the priests and Levites in charge of the Temple of the Lord, following all the directions given by David. He also commanded them to present burnt offerings to the Lord, as prescribed by the Law of Moses, and to sing and rejoice as David had instructed. 19 He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Lord’s Temple to keep out those who for any reason were ceremonially unclean.

20 Then the commanders, nobles, rulers, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord. They went through the upper gate and into the palace, and they seated the king on the royal throne. 21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that the Levites took their time carrying out the king’s order, even though they told him not to delay. Offerings for keeping the Temple in good working order was not just the king’s wish but it was commanded by God (see Exodus 30:11-16). The Levites were not only disregarding the king but they were also disregarding God, as a result. When it comes to following God’s commands, a slow response or being quiet when we should speak out is little better than outright disobedience. The Levites had gotten so despondent about the people of Israel that they did not even want to try. They felt as though right from the get-go that the people would not support the idea. They felt that it was going to be a defeat before they even started. They succumbed to the voice that says, “ah, they will never go for that!”

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we must always keep pushing the envelope of our churches. Of course, that’s provided that you are following God’s will and His vision for your church. We must seek His will above all else including our own egos. Once we are certain that we are in line with God’s will for our church, then, we must keep pushing for the vision He has given you. Even if we have ideas aligned with the vision that get defeated 11 times. Go back to the drawing board and revamp, recharge, and re-present your ideas for moving forward. It may be that next idea that the Holy Spirit has blessed you to find that strikes a chord with church through His influence. Remember, Thomas Edison failed at least 1,000 times on the proper combinations of materials before he struck upon the invention that changed the world – the electric light bulb.

There are so many stories of perseverance of the world’s richest entrepreneurs who kept plugging away because they had a vision to change the world. No progress ever comes from “ah, they will never go for that!” Pastor, let’s not be like the Levites here and give up before we even get started. Keep your shoulder to the wall and push hard all the time. Keep having vision. Keep believing in the potential of your church. Keep seeking the excellence that you know that is in your church. If you give up and succumb to “ah, they will never go for that!”, who will lead your church into the future? Who will lead it to that place that God has intended for it all along?

Amen and Amen.

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