Finishing Well (or Not)

“Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. [He] decided to restore the house of the Lord. So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside the gate of the house of the Lord. [They] collected money in abundance.  And the king and Jehoiada gave it to those who had charge of the work of the house of the Lord, and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. And when they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made utensils for the house of the Lord, both for the service and for the burnt offerings, and dishes for incense and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord regularly all the days of Jehoiada.” 2 Chronicles 24:2,4,8,11-14

Joash was remarkable in that as a very young man, whose wicked father king Ahaziah and treacherous grandmother Athaliah had led Judah astray, he became king, and with the godly counsel of the priest Jehoida, led Judah in restoring God’s temple and practices. Jehoida had prepared his way by strong reform and spiritual cleansing, removing the idols and places of temptation and establishing a covenant to be the LORD’s people and guard His house from all that was unclean. Now Joash led the collection of temple tax and repairing of the building itself, and reinstitution of proper services and offerings. Sadly, it seems his energy was directed to the work and the person guiding him, not the Lord Himself; after Jehoida died, Joash gave in to the secular princes of Judah and their politically correct, spiritually-wishy-washy advice to institute false religious practices once again. He who had begun so well did not finish so. Though God sent warning, he not only forsook the LORD, but “did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son” by having him stoned.

Christchurch church

To what, or whom, am I devoted? Has my resolution list, my work, the project itself, or even my counselor become my driver, my guide, my source of direction? If I am wholeheartedly committed to anything or anyone apart from the Living Word, the True and Good Shepherd, Who knows my name and leads me to His pastures and abundant life, I am in danger of going astray. Following Him and His voice that is truth, I can know where He leads and what He directs. His Spirit gives discernment, and is dependable. (John 1:1; 10:3-4,10-11,14,27)

Gracious Shepherd and King, sharpen my ears to listen to Your voice alone and heed all You say. Show me where I have been committed to causes and spokespeople other than Christ, and realign my affections and devotion to wholehearted fidelity to You. Guard me from refusing to pay attention, turning a stubborn shoulder, hardening my heart, and stopping my ears to Your perfect and complete word. Keep me from all foreign allegiances. As You inspire good beginnings, see them through to glorious finish. (Zechariah 7:11-13)

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