4-16 The Merits of the Monarch
I want to look at the “Merits of the Monarch” first. There are two things that define Joash and he would become renown by his fixation with these two actions. They are foundational principles that only Jehoiada could have taught and trained him to appreciate. And only through his younger years of being hidden in God’s House could he have known what to do. These were principles that served as foundations on which Joash built his actions on. And because of his experiences through hardship, Joash was able to recognize problems in these areas and bring about real solutions to the poor conditions that had developed.
a. The Care for God’s House
The first order of business for Joash was dealing with the care of God’s house.
Message Bible – 4 Joash instructed the priests: “Take the money that is brought into The Temple of God for holy offerings — both mandatory offerings and freewill offerings — 5 and, keeping a careful accounting, use them to renovate The Temple wherever it has fallen into disrepair.”
The Temple, being ignored, had fallen in serious disrepair. Athaliah’s wicked reign had seen to this. And so the first thing we read of Joash doing is setting up a restoration program to repair the Temple of God.
What made him so effective in getting this done? Because he’d lived there and knew exactly what needed to be fixed! The years of residence in God’s House had given Joash an appreciation of what was in poor condition. No other king thus far was ever this focused and knew the specifics of repairs needing to be accomplished. This was something he was right on top of and had a comprehension for. Also, evidently Jehoiada had taught him scripturally were the money was supposed to come from and what it was used for. He gave direction to those specifics. Joash understood the needs and could specifically help in ways no other king could have done since David and Solomon. Why? Because he had lived there!
There is something about living in a situation that gives us appreciation for others. Acting has always looked so easy to me. But it wasn’t until we had outreaches where I was required to act that I grew a deep appreciation for the caliber of actors we see in the movies. They make it look so easy. It’s when you walk a thousand steps in the shoes of another that you appreciate the road the pilgrim travels.
Look around where you’re at; where you live! Do you see the needs around you because of things in life you’ve experienced. It could be that God is saying to us, see a need, meet a need. Each of us has different experiences in life that bring credible knowledge to a situation. Joash was able to inspire helpers because he literally had lived there! Joash was able to prioritize the work and make sure skilled professionals handled it because he knew what needed to get done. Sadly, the priests had proven they weren’t the best at making sure everything got completed. It took a few years for Joash to catch-up with that problem. But once he did the ship got right and off they went revived. And both he and Jehoiada came up with a new means to make sure the money went to the proper people. Issue conquered; problem solved!
Their care and concern inspired others to give and get involved. In fact, because Joash knew what he was doing, there was a tremendous amount of goodwill and confidence generated. We read these words…
Message Bible – 15 And no one even had to check on the men who handled the money given for the project – they were honest men.
No one feared defrauding! The first defining merit of Joash was his desire to repair God’s House.
b. The Care for God’s Priests
The second defining merit was the king’s care for God’s priest.
Message Bible – 16 Offerings designated for Compensation Offerings and Absolution Offerings didn’t go into the building project – those went directly to the priests.
The priests were cared for as they rarely had been before. Didn’t you find it interesting that the priests were let off the hook for taking all that money that was supposed to be used for repairs? There was a definite misappropriation of funds. If that had happened in our social climate we’d be calling for their resignations and making sure every cent was paid back. These priests would never work again. So why did the priests get off so easily? Let me read from the law what the Levites and priests should have received.
Numbers 18:24 NIV – “Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the Lord. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”
There were tithes that were supposed to be collected and money given to support these priests. This stopped happening long ago. As Israel begins to apostatize, the layoffs started. And very little collection actually occurred. Well, priests and their families have got to eat too, so they were forced to find help elsewhere. What does a priest do for a living? He’s got one thing he’s good at and no one wants it. This went on year after year. And Joash, living his youth in the Temple, saw, experienced and suffered firsthand the whole issue.
So, when Joash is anointed king, collections begin again. Now, having experienced a real depression in their field, the Levites and priests built up their 401k’s. Who knows when they would fall into disfavor again, especially with the wicked kings they had seen lately? So, after witnessing firsthand years of neglect and abuse toward the priests, Joash must have found it difficult to come down hard on these men with their families.
His care for the priests was also one of the defining merits of Joash. But something sad happened to Joash. Something tweaked in his thinking.
J. Robert Hanson