Wednesday, January 11, 2023

2023.01.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 12

Read 2 Kings 12

Questions from the Scripture text: In what year of which northern kingdom, who becomes king in the south (2 Kings 12:1)? How long does Jehoash reign? What else does verse 1 tell us about him? What did he do for how long (2 Kings 12:2)? With what shortcoming (2 Kings 12:3a)? Who offended in this (verse 3b)? To whom does Jehoash speak in 2 Kings 12:4-5? About what? What does he say to do with the money? In what year had this money not accomplished its purpose (2 Kings 12:6)? Whom does Jehoash call in 2 Kings 12:7? What does he say to stop doing? To what do the priests agree (2 Kings 12:8)? What does Jehoiada do instead in (2 Kings 12:9)? Who would count it when it was full (2 Kings 12:10)? Then give it to whom (2 Kings 12:11-12)? What still wasn’t made (2 Kings 12:13)? But what was done (2 Kings 12:14)? Why didn’t they have to keep a detailed invoice (2 Kings 12:15)? Yet, which money belonged to whom (2 Kings 12:16)? Who did what in 2 Kings 12:17, then planned to do what? What did Jehoash do in response (2 Kings 12:18)? What did he get out of this abandonment of God’s house? Now that this devastation of God’s worship has occurred, what does 2 Kings 12:19 abruptly say? How did he die (2 Kings 12:20-21)? With what result?

What warning does the Joash reign offer us? 2 Kings 12 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-one verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that even those who start well by others’ faith must come to know and own the faith for himself, lest his service amount to nothing, and his end conclude in unfaithfulness and loss.

The subtlety of infidelity. There is an ever-so-subtle hint in 2 Kings 12:2: “all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” If we know 2 Chronicles 24, we know what happens at that point, and the Holy Spirit has given us both accounts for good reason. Here, He allows us to see for ourselves the ever-so-subtle clues to Joash’s disappointing end after such a promising start. After Jehu’s failure to remove the traditional Yahweh-worship in the North led to such grievous results (cf. 2 Kings 10:29–33), the Spirit has trained us to be attuned to hear with alarm that the reforms of Joash in the South only go for so long (2 Kings 12:2b) and only so far (2 Kings 12:3). He does as he is led and instructed but does not own the faith for himself.

How needful it is for us to plead for, purpose after, and pursue wholehearted obedience to the Lord in every aspect of life—and to renew doing so continually for the entire length of our life! Have not the morning and evening sacrifices also taught us so? This is what it is to forget what is behind, press forward to what is ahead, renew heeding the upward call, keep laying hold of holiness, and finish well our race (cf. Philippians 3:12–21; 1 Corinthians 9:24–27; Hebrews 12:1–14)! Congregations should learn from their elders that each of us must personally have a life of such dealings with God. Children should learn from their parents that each of them must personally have a life of such dealings with God.

The subtlety of laziness2 Kings 12:4-11 are a little perplexing. If money collection isn’t producing temple repair after twenty-three years (!), why are priests still involved in the new plan for collection and repair? 2 Kings 12:9-122 Kings 12:15 rule out corruption. Rather, it seems that the priests just never got around to collecting the money, and therefore never got around to hiring the necessary tradesmen. For 23 years, the subtlety of laziness kept God’s temple in disrepair! It apparently extends even to enlisting enough of the right sorts of craftsmen (2 Kings 12:13-14). The Lord faithfully took care of them (2 Kings 12:16), even while they were so slothful in honoring Him.

There seems to be a parallel here with Joash’s own spiritual/religious reform and condition. And many of us admit our own parallel to the Lord every time we come before Him, whether privately or with our household. Since the prior time, He has been perfect in attending to us, while we have much forgotten and fallen short of serving Him.

The easiness of disaster. If we read 2 Kings 12:17-18 in the dullness of our flesh, we might think that Joash has done well to spare Jerusalem. But those who are paying attention know that Hazael is a red flag of judgment (cf. 1 Kings 19:15–17; 2 Kings 8:12, 2 Kings 10:32). And those whose priorities are aligned with the Lord’s will see not the sparing of a city, but the emptying of its temple, and with that its purpose (2 Kings 12:18, cf. 1 Kings 11:36). It is interesting to note that even Jehoram and Ahaziah must have fancied themselves Yahweh-worshipers. And it is devastating to note that four generations of provision for God’s worship can be wiped out in a single moment of fearing the world. Laziness and fear are close siblings, and what damage the one does slowly, the other can wreak in a moment. How great the revival seemed at the end of chapter 11! But 2 Kings 12:19 tells us that Joash’s disappointments detailed here are the story of His reign, despite being uprightly behaved and outwardly orthodox throughout the life of Jehoiada. Yes, things fell off a cliff at that point (2 Kings 12:22 Kings 12:20-21; cf. 2 Chronicles 24:17–27). But in 2 Kings 12, the Spirit warns us by the example of the deficiencies that were there all along. May the Lord spare us from the same!

What is your habit for renewing zeal, and commitment to leave no part of obedience undone? What has the resultant zeal looked like at those moments of renewal? Who is your Hope that it will continue and be completed?

Sample prayer: Lord, bless to us the warning of Joash’s example. Forgive us for how superficial and incomplete our obedience and holiness have been. Forgive us for how little progress we have made due to our laziness. Forgive us for our fearfulness, which threatens to undo much of that already-little progress in a moment. And grant to us that we would love and obey You conscientiously from our hearts; grant continual renewing of hot zeal for You, since we so desperately and continually need that renewing. For we ask it in Christ, our perfect righteousness before You. In His Name, please make us to be like He is, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry Before You Come” or TPH539 “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

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