Jehoash was a child of seven years old when he began to rule Judah as her king. He had been rescued from his grandmother’s homicidal rampage and hidden and raised in The Temple by his aunt, Jehosheba and the priest Jehoiada. The influences of his father and the rest of his family had been eradicated and The Lord chose this child to bring Judah back to Him. Verses 1-3 describe Jehoash’s reign
“In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2 And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.”
He was a good king, who pleased The Lord, but perhaps in his naivety he left the high places and so idolatry still continued. Perhaps Jehoiada chose not to teach him this one thing for his own reason. But whatever the reason those idolatrous altars remained. Being raised in the temple and taught by Jehoiada gave Jehoash a zeal for God’s house. The Temple had fallen into disrepair over the years. As a king who loved The Lord and his Temple, Jehoash couldn’t let it stay in that condition. He understood that the Temple represented God’s footstool, His presence with the people, and the vehicle for proper worship.
Maintaining God’s house is just as important as taking care of His servants. Today, we are the house of God and maintaining His house includes the building where His church meets but also the body and soul which He indwells. We have to be diligent about how we build onto it and take care of it. 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 says it this way,
“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
Maintaining the Temple requires us to learn and teach the truth. Jesus Christ is our foundation but sanctification doesn’t leave us as bared foundations, no matter how beautiful and perfect it is. Jesus establishes us and The Holy Spirit indwells us and grows us. Who would come to worship The Lord at a temple that only had a floor, no roof to shield, no windows to shine light, no walls to protect, no posts to support, or doors to invite people in? The building is what reflects the beauty and perfection of the foundation. It summons people to come. Our lives and our good works are the decorations of the Temple. Jesus is zealous for His Father’s house (John 2:13-17). He is zealous for us! We, as His ambassadors ought to be just as zealous for one another, His temple.
Well Jehoash was zealous for God’s temple too but no work was being done. He had ordered certain monies to go to its upkeep but nothing was happening. Verses 6-12 read,
“But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house. 7 Therefore King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your donors, but hand it over for the repair of the house.” 8 So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house.
9 Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in the lid of it and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the Lord. And the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord. 10 And whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king's secretary and the high priest came up and they bagged and counted the money that was found in the house of the Lord.11 Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord. And they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the Lord, 12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the Lord, and for any outlay for the repairs of the house.”
The priests were not able to make the repairs because they were not qualified, they lacked the skills. But all those years instead of telling the king that, they just kept letting things go as they had before. The king’s intervention made it possible for them to understand and redirect the appropriate funds to go to the temple and to hire the men who had the skills required for the job.
We cannot fix the problems in our own temples. We cannot erase sin. We cannot save ourselves. Our souls and our bodies require the King’s intervention. Jesus came in and saved us and made us righteous. He then gave us His Holy Spirit to renovate us and bring us ‘up to code.’ Until the temple is as God means it to be we can’t add the accoutrements required for holy worship. We get the foundation laid first, then the building made as it should be, then and only then do we add the fixtures, furniture, and decorations. So it was with the temple repairs of Jehoash’s day. Verses 13-16 read,
“But there were not made for the house of the Lord basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, 14 for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the Lord with it. 15 And they did not ask for an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the Lord; it belonged to the priests.”
The money meant for the Temple went to the Temple and the money meant for the priests went to the priests. There was no shortage of provision for the priests in order to care for the Temple. When we take care of the things of the Kingdom as we are meant to do, when we obey, seek God’s word, love one another, and diligently work out our salvation, The Lord provides perfectly. We do not have to worry about how to eat or what to wear, God’s got it (Matthew 6:25-34). We make sure we are building the Temple, the Church with Truth and God covers everything. We seek knowledge, wisdom, and righteousness and He gives it. Along with that He provides, not meagerly but lavishly. He is Good! Proverbs 3:13-18 describes it like this,
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.”
In other words, Seek God, His wisdom and truth and He will give it to you, along with health, provision, honor, peace, and joy. This was how it was for Jehoash as well. God provided for the Temple work, He provided for the priests and the people and He provided for the peace. Verses 17-18 read,
“At that time Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath and took it. But when Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem, 18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred gifts that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent these to Hazael king of Syria. Then Hazael went away from Jerusalem.”
The Syrian king Hazael seemed bent on war. He decided to go against Jerusalem, God’s very own possession who were following and pleasing the Lord. But Jehoash gathered the sacred gifts, the treasures dedicated to The Lord by himself and his great grandfather, grandfather, and father and gave them to Hazael. He said, “Here ya go, no need to spill blood. God’s riches are more than enough.” Jehoash trusted God enough to know that he could afford to give those treasures to Syria because God’s riches are as inexhaustible as God is. God had put it in Jehoash’s heart to restore the Temple. A war would have taken away from that endeavor. That war was for other kings to fight, not Jehoash. He did what was pleasing in the sight of The Lord. He ardently carried out his mission, the ministry God had given him and let The Lord take care of all the stuff of life. Verses 19-21 describe his death.
“Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 His servants arose and made a conspiracy and struck down Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. 21 It was Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son reigned in his place.”
Jehoash was killed in the end so that his son could reign in his place. It was not Amaziah’s plan to murder his father, a good king who like so many others did not remove the high places (2 Kings 14:1-6). Maybe it was Jehoash’s toleration of the high places that let evil into the hearts of the servants who killed him. He took care of the Temple so that he and others could worship and honor the Lord, but he didn’t stop others form committing idolatry.
Believer, what is the state of your temple? Does it have the firm foundation of Jesus Christ? Does it have the pillars of truth to hold up the roof and walls? Is it cracked with misinformation? Does its beauty invite people to come?