Summary: In spite of human failure, God keeps his promise alive through children, spiritual mentors and diligent workers.
Some of you are old enough to remember Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker and their popular PTL Club television program. Lots of Christians supported their program and many purchased life-time partnerships to fund the construction of "Heritage USA", an inspirational theme park in South Carolina. In return for their financial support, the partners were promised free lodging.
The Bakkers gave a new understanding to conspicuous consumption. PTL once spent over $100,000 for a private jet to fly Jimmy and Tammy’s clothing across the country. PTL also spent more than $100 to buy cinnamon rolls because Jimmy and Tammy wanted the smell of rolls in their hotel room. Jimmy was charged with overselling the partnerships as well as with keeping two sets of books to conceal irregularities He ended up in prison accused of racketeering, sexual immorality, and tax evasion.
Here are people who started out serving God, but ended up serving themselves. And sometimes we wonder, how can God keep his plan for the world going when his people end up failing like this?
Our scripture today tells the story of a king who started out well and accomplished some good things, but ended up as a failure. Where was God in this situation?
As you read this story in II Kings, you might observe that God doesn’t seem to say or do anything. We don’t hear his voice in the story. The prophets have disappeared. Does that mean that God is not at work? Some of you are very aware that God is working in your life. You hear his voice; you recognize his work. To others it may seem that God isn’t saying or doing anything. Be assured that God is there, nudging, prompting, opening doors, working behind the scenes. He is at work even when you don’t see any visible evidence. Our story today reminds us that God keeps his promise alive in spite of human failure.
First, the big picture. Beginning in Genesis, we see that the central theme of the Bible is the promise of God. God has chosen a family of people through whom he wants the entire world to come to a saving knowledge of himself. And God promises to lead them to a new land, to provide for them, to save them from all those things that would destroy them, and eventually to send a deliverer, a Messiah. But these people have trouble believing God’s promises and often try to take things into their own hands. As a result of their disobedience and unfaithfulness, God’s promise is often threatened. Sometimes it comes down to one faithful person, but God continues to keep his promise alive, and from the story of Joash, we can see how he does it.
1. God keeps his promise alive through a child. (11:1) When the mother of the man who was king just before Joash saw that her son was dead, she determined to destroy all of the royal family so that the line of kings would be in her family. But that is not what God had in mind. God had already started the family line of kings, the same line through which the Messiah would come.
So we read that an aunt hid baby Joash so he wouldn’t be killed. For six years she hid him in the temple and he became king when he turned 7. And it was through this child that God kept his promise alive.