Summary: 2d in series "Revival in the Land" Looks at the Roadblocks to Revival seen in the story of Joash
In June of 1995, after years of planning and research costing multiple billions of dollars, the space shuttle Discovery was scheduled to launch for the first of seven missions which would rendevous with the Russian Space station Mir, in preparation for the launch of the International space station in 1997.
The date had been carefully chosen, whether conditions were favorable but strange noises were coming from Launch Pad 39-B, upon investigation technicians discovered about six dozen holes in the insulating covering of the main external fuel tank.
All of the complex planning and high priced preparation were useless as the mission ground to a halt because a family of woodpeckers decided that the Space shuttle looked like a good place to live.
The story of Joash is a fascinating one, his was a reign filled with promise. After a steady decline in the kingdom from the time of David a bloody coup had taken place, upon the death of her son the king, Joash’s grandmother had killed all of the royal family and set herself upon the throne. But Joash’s great aunt had snuck the infant Joash out with his nurse and they hid for six years in a secret place at the Temple of God. When Joash was seven years old the priest Jehoida staged an uprising against the wicked and idolatrous grandmother, placing the boy Joash upon his rightful throne. The temple of Baal in the city was destroyed, the priest of Baal was put to death, the covenant was re-established and proper temple worship was re-established. It looked as if another golden age was coming to the kingdom of Judah. It looked like revival was coming. The plans had been laid, the process had begun but then something went wrong, you could say woodpeckers were discovered in the fuel tank of the revival.
Interrogative: The question for us this morning is, "why?" Why did such a perfect opportunity for revival slip away? What kept God from pouring out his blessing, What did Joash do wrong?
Transition: The reason these questions are important to me this morning is that I believe we are in a time that in many ways is similar to the beginning of Joash’s reign. A time that looks as if we could be on the brink of revival. Yes, society has experienced moral decline. Yes, terrible things have happened, but there are positive signs, signs that people are growing discontent with the status quo. After the tragedy of 9-11 there was a great spiritual hunger. Even here in our own community, our own congregation, people have begun to cry out for revival.
So I think it’s important for us to look at the lesson of Joash... of almost, but not quite revival, so that we might see the traps to avoid, the things that quench revival. In the story of Joash 4 things seem to stand out as roadblocks to revival. The first is
"Follow the Leader" Faith.
v. 2 Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
2 Chron 23: 16 Jehoiada then made a covenant that he and the people and the king would be the LORD’S people.
2 Chron 24:17-18 After 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.
As long as Jehoida was around to guide him, Joash did, OK. Not perfect but, OK. But it seems as if there’s little conviction in him, It wasn’t possible for Jehoida to make a covenant on behalf of the king, the king needed to dedicate himself to the Lord, but I don’t believe he ever really did that, and then, as soon as Jehoida is gone, Joash is easily led astray by those who wanted him to turn against the Lord, to reinstate Idol worship and to mix it with the worship of the One true God.
Joash was a follower, and that can be OK as long as you’re a follower with conviction, but Joash seemed to be a follower primarily because He had no convictions.
The same danger exists for us today. It’s tempting to follow the crowd or even to follow a charismatic leader, but that’s dangerous even when the leader is a good one, because you need to have a personal relationship with that Lord, and if your commitment is leader based it’s easy tobe led astray or turned around by some other leader. And it’s also dangerous because people will let you down. CH Caley will let you down--just ask my wife.
Though we often think of historical revivals in terms of their "leaders"--Jonathan Edwards, D.L. Moody and others, but I don’t believe revival has ever come because a leader desired it, but only because the people desired it enough repent of their sin and seek God in prayer with changed hearts and lives. Now a leader may play some part in imparting a vision under God’s annointing of what God wants to do, so that the people are inspired to make those changes, but I believe revival has never and will never happen where people seek to ride the coatails of a leader into revival. For that reason I believe that "follow the leader" faith is a roadblock to revival. The second roadblock is...