Summary: Don't take God's grace for granted. Trust in God personally. Be convinced that His Word is true and His ways are right.
Joash had a remarkable start to life. As an infant, he was miraculously rescued by his aunt Jehosheba and hidden in the temple of the Lord for 6 years.
• His grandmother Athaliah had seized power and killed all the royal princes in his family. Joash was literally plucked from the fire.
• He was the sole survivor in the lineage of David’s family, providentially protected by God. We see the hand of God is his rescue and protection.
Jehosheba (Ahaziah’s sister) and her husband, the priest Jehoiada raised Joash up secretly for 6 years, until it was time for him to be the King.
• Jehoiada prepared the ground, rallied the commanders and Levites, and brought Joash out eventually and made him the King.
• Athaliah came to the coronation celebration and was surprised to see Joash. She was seized and put to death.
2 Kings 11:17-18 “Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD's people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.”
• It looks like the beginning of a revival. Let’s read 2 Kings 12:1-16.
Joash started well. He began by restoring the temple which had been desecrated by Athaliah (cf. 2 Chron 24:7).
• He raised the funds but the repair works were not carried out, for a long time.
• Joash reproved the priests for the delay and pushed them to get it done. It was completed eventually.
What we have just read, however, was the only good thing that he did. And sadly, it didn’t last. Verse 2 gave us a hint that something wasn’t right.
• 12:2 “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”
• 2 Chron 24:17-18 tells us more: 17After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 18They abandoned the temple of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God's anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem.
Joash did what was right, for a specific period of time, ONLY as long as his mentor Jehoiada the priest lived.
• With the passing of Jehoiada, we see the passing of his ‘faith’ as well!
• Or was there truly faith in God in his heart, in the first place? Did he really understand the will of God and the covenant that Jehoiada re-established?
• Apparently, Joash did not know God personally. He has no conviction of his own. He did not understand God’s will himself.
And this wasn’t because he had a bad start to his life. God rescued him and kept him alive for 6 years.
• God provided him a nurse, Jehosheba and Jehoiada, the priest, who helped re-establish the covenant with God.
• He was well instructed, because the author says, “Joash did what was right ALL THE YEARS Jehoiada instructed him.”
We see God’s grace, we see God’s protection and provision for his life, and we see God’s instructions!
• Even the initial task of restoring the temple of the Lord, we see God providing the funds. They had more than enough.
And this is so sad, because after reading all the hard work they put in to restore the temple of God, we are going to see Joash giving them up to his enemy.
• 2 Kings 12:17-18 17About this time Hazael king of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem. 18But Joash king of Judah took all the sacred objects dedicated by his fathers-Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, the kings of Judah-and the gifts he himself had dedicated and all the gold found in the treasuries of the temple of the LORD and of the royal palace, and he sent them to Hazael king of Aram, who then withdrew from Jerusalem.
• The Arameans came up against Jerusalem and Joash stripped the temple of all of its treasures and gave them as tribute to the King of Aram.
• Why? To buy his favour. But that held him off only for a year or so, because Aram returned to attack them again (2 Chron 24) and plundered them.
Joash failed to treasure the privileges God has given him.
• He did not know God personally. He has no personal faith in God. He has no conviction that God’s Word is right.
• All we read about is the faith of Jehoiada. All the good that happened, happens only because Jehoiada was around.