Faithful to the True King

Posted: July 4, 2010 in 2 Kings

2 Kings 11-12, “Faithful to the True King”
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Faithfulness – loyalty. It’s never a problem for God (after all, He is the “faithful God”); it’s always an issue with us. Will we be faithful to our Lord? It seems like every king we study, there’s always an anticipation of whether or not that particular king will be faithful to the Lord God (for good reason…). This week, it’s more of a question of whether or not the people will be faithful to the king!

Left off with King Jehu bringing God’s judgment on the house of Ahab (including the treacherous Queen Mother Jezebel) – destroying the priests & worshippers of Baal – & bringing general reform to Israel (although he did not destroy the false pseudo-Hebrew worship started by Jeroboam). While Jehu was bringing judgment to Israel, King Ahaziah of Judah also happened to have present – and he was killed as well. (Ahaziah was well deserving of judgment, as he had compromised & married into the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord.)

Narration now turns back from the northern kingdom (Israel) to the southern kingdom (Judah). With Ahaziah dead, there will be a new struggle for the throne – this time coming from within Ahaziah’s own family.

2 Kings 11 (NKJV)
1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs.

A. Keep in mind that at least some of these are her grandsons & other family relations. Overall, there would be other royal heirs of the house of David (she was directly of the line of Ahab) that she was attempting to destroy. Like King Herod attempting to kill all baby boys in Bethlehem to prevent any potential-messiah-kings, so Athaliah attempted to kill off the house of David to prevent any competition for the throne.

B. Hard to escape the conclusion that this was a Satanic attack upon the Messianic promise. God had made a covenant that the Messiah would come from the line of David – here we have someone of the house of Ahab attempting to wipe it all out. God will protect His promise & the line of David – see vs. 2…

2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered; and they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. 3 So he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

A. Infant Joash escaped due to the help of his aunt. Jehosheba was a sister of Ahaziah, but most likely had a different mother than Athaliah. Jehosheba was the wife of the priest Jehoiada (who we see in vs. 4), and likely knew the promises of the Davidic covenant (2 Chr 22:11). She put herself at great risk for 6 years in order to guard the child in the temple.

a. In our culture, it’s tough to think of anything we truly sacrifice or put at risk when it comes to the word of God…but around the world, it’s an every-day occurrence. Right now men & women around the world are risking their lives simply to meet in the name of Jesus. … There may come a time when we will need to do the same. Are we willing?

B. Athaliah reigned as Queen. Keep in mind that this would have been the 1st monarch since David to have been outside the lineage of David – and likely the 1st reigning queen in Judah (all the rest mentioned so far have been male kings). This was a dark time for the southern kingdom!

a. It begs the question: why did the people put up with it? Obviously there was a remnant (as seen in Jehosheba) – but where were the others loyal to God & the true king? Perhaps they gave up hope thinking that the house of David was completely destroyed. … It is in those dark days when we seem to have no hope that we’ve GOT to hold to the promises of God! God promised a Messiah from David’s line; the people should have trusted that God would make good on that promise. … God will ALWAYS be true to His promises; we’ve got to make the choice to trust Him, no matter what!

4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds—of the bodyguards and the escorts—and brought them into the house of the LORD to him. And he made a covenant with them and took an oath from them in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king’s son.

A. 7 years pass, and Jehoiada (one of the priests) obviously knows about the true heir (Joash). All this time, he has remained faithful to the true king & not the pretender to the throne… Since his wife was the one hiding Joash, it’s likely Jehoiada was raising him as one of his own sons. Jehoiada demonstrates true commitment & faithfulness!

B. When it’s time to reveal Joash for who he is, Jehoiada organizes a military coup that is faithful to the Davidic line, and prepares for the unveiling.

5 Then he commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall do: One-third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath shall be keeping watch over the king’s house, 6 one-third shall be at the gate of Sur, and one-third at the gate behind the escorts. You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down. 7 The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD for the king. 8 But you shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within range, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in.”

A. The plan to guard the boy-king. Very cautious! No enemy was going to get through… The idea was to take advantage of the guard shift change at the temple on the Sabbath in order to give Joash as much protection as possible for the announcement.

9 So the captains of the hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each of them took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

A. Were men working on the Sabbath? Yes! Guards were apparently always on duty – Sabbath, or not. This wasn’t a matter of ritual cleanliness or an attempt to get around the covenant of God with the people; this was a matter of saving life. … Jesus appealed to the same argument to show that the Sabbath did not lord over men. [Man with the withered hand – Luke 6:9…] We don’t serve the Sabbath; we serve the LORD of the Sabbath! We find our rest in HIM!

10 And the priest gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of the LORD. 11 Then the escorts stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, all around the king, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, by the altar and the house. 12 And he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony; they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”

A. Jehoiada has a public coronation ceremony of the boy-king Joash – presenting him to the people as their rightful king.

a. Shows the royal armaments…not because they needed extra shields, but to demonstrate that Jehoiada was coming in the name of King David.

b. Gave him a copy of the Law – not the Ark of the Covenant (Testimony), but his own personal copy (which kings were supposed to have made for themselves, per Deut 17:18).

c. Anointed with oil

d. Public declaration of his kingdom & authority…with the people recognizing him as king & giving him the appropriate praise.

B. In a similar way, this is how we see Jesus lifted up as King:

a. He has all the visible signs of kingly authority: fulfilled prophecy, power of God, authority of God when He teaches…

b. He has fulfilled the Testimony of God (the Law) to the uttermost

c. He has been anointed with the Holy Spirit. He demonstrated on numerous occasions that He was filled with the Spirit. The very word “Messiah” (Christ) means “the Anointed of God”

d. He has been declared to be King by God the Father (at baptism, in the transfiguration, and through the resurrection), and by the witnesses of the apostles…

e. Jesus IS the King! Now is the time to recognize Him & give Him praise…

13 Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the escorts and the people, she came to the people in the temple of the LORD. 14 When she looked, there was the king standing by a pillar according to custom; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. So Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, “Treason! Treason!”

A. More than a bit ironic & hypocritical. Athaliah was the traitorous one; she was the one who murdered all of the rightful heirs to the throne…

B. Likewise, Satan is a mere pretender. He’ll try to claim that authority belongs to him, and the world system will agree with him…they’ll agree to “any king but Jesus.” They may shout “Treason!” or “Intolerance!” but truly they are the rebellious ones. Until we humbly recognize God for who He is & how He has been revealed in Jesus Christ & bow our knees before Him as Lord, we are ALL in rebellion against Him.

a. Yet this is the great love of God towards us – in that WHILE we are rebelling against God, that is when He sent His Son to die for us. He made provision for our forgiveness long before we ever realized we needed to be forgiven! (Rom 5:8)

15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not let her be killed in the house of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her; and she went by way of the horses’ entrance into the king’s house, and there she was killed.

A. Athaliah was taken captive & executed – but 1st she needed to be taken outside of the temple grounds, as it was inappropriate to execute her there (Exo 21:14 – “take him from My altar”). Why? God desired purity in the temple court… The place of sacrifice was ultimately to represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It had to be a holy place. Any impurity (bodily discharge or whatever) was supposed to be kept outside the tabernacle/temple. Similar thought with Athaliah’s execution.

i. Underscores the fact that we can only approach the Lord God on His terms in perfect holiness. All of us would be excluded, if it were not for the work of Jesus on our behalf!

B. Politics could be pretty bloody in Israel & Judah! Appropriate punishment for the mass murders she committed in order to gain the throne.

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD, the king, and the people, that they should be the LORD’s people, and also between the king and the people.

A. Renewed the covenant between the people & God. After having so many kings (and queens) for so long that disregarded the word & covenant of God, the people needed to be reminded Who it was that they belonged to & Who it was that they served.

a. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the same thing! With all the temptations to turn to the right or to the left, we need to take a stand alongside of Jehoiada…to proclaim alongside Joshua, “As for me & my house, we will serve the Lord!”

B. Also renewed the covenant between the king & the people. Reiterated the fact that the people belonged to the Lord & that the new king was God’s chosen king; not a pretender. The king was to rule the people according to the word of God & by God’s authority alone.

C. This was crucially important! Preserved the Messianic bloodline through the house of David… Satan was no more able to overthrow God’s plan at that time than he was able to overthrow God’s plan at the Cross! … And if that’s the case, we can be sure Satan is powerless to overthrow the plan of God regarding Jesus’ 2nd coming!

18 And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down. They thoroughly broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.

A. The royal covenant wasn’t the only item renewed; worship was renewed as well. The priests of Baal were killed & the altars of Baal were broken down.

19 Then he took the captains of hundreds, the bodyguards, the escorts, and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, and went by way of the gate of the escorts to the king’s house. Then he sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword in the king’s house. 21 Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.

A. Jehoash (Joash) may have only been 7 years old, but the people still rejoiced. Why? Because they were rejoicing in the rightful king – in God’s choice as king.

2 Kings 12 (NKJV)
1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2 Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

A. Jehoash was a good king! As opposed to Queen Athaliah (a murderer & usurper), King Ahaziah (who did evil in the sight of God), and King Jehoram (who was a compromiser who died to no one’s sorrow), Judah finally has a decent king again who seeks to please the Lord God!

B. But he’s not a perfect king. There were still opportunities for idolatry that remained in the land. In the end, this is going to trip him up after Jehoiada dies. Joash did OK while his mentor was still alive, but he’ll follow bad advice after Jehoiada passes on.

C. We need to be careful of doing something similar in our own walk with Jesus. We can be doing a lot of things right, but still leave up old bridges to the past & the sins we used to do. Praise God we live in the power of the Holy Spirit for today & for the glory of God – but we need to remember to reckon ourselves dead to what we were before. [Symbolized through baptism…] Romans 6:9-11 (9) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. (10) For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [] Some bridges are meant to be burned! Leave the old behind to faithfully follow your King…

4 And Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the dedicated gifts that are brought into the house of the LORD—each man’s census money, each man’s assessment money—and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the LORD, 5 let the priests take it themselves, each from his constituency; and let them repair the damages of the temple, wherever any dilapidation is found.” 6 Now it was so, by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, that the priests had not repaired the damages of the temple.

A. Apparently, the temple had been broken down for a while & they had gotten behind on their regular maintenance. Jehoash is going to try several attempts to get things fixed up & back to working order.

B. Attempt #1: keep receiving the offering money as usual, and leave the work to the priests to do. … Apparently, it didn’t work. 23 years went by, and not a single project had been done. Lots of money was coming in, but seemingly the priests were unable (or unwilling) to be able to determine what needed to be used for the temple repairs & what was to be used for their own food & needs.

7 So King Jehoash called Jehoiada the priest and the other priests, and said to them, “Why have you not repaired the damages of the temple? Now therefore, do not take more money from your constituency, but deliver it for repairing the damages of the temple.” 8 And the priests agreed that they would neither receive more money from the people, nor repair the damages of the temple.

A. Attempt #2: Stop receiving an offering, and demand that the priests get the work done in the temple with the money they had already received. If they couldn’t determine what money was supposed to go to what purpose, then King Jehoash made the determination for them: ALL of it was now supposed to go to repairs.

B. Why were the priests so negligent in this? Had they become lazy in their “career” rather than realizing they had been given a “calling” – or was it simply a lack of wisdom regarding finances?? The Bible doesn’t tell us…but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the priests.

9 Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who kept the door put there all the money brought into the house of the LORD.

A. After the 2nd attempt, Jehoiada took matters into his own hands. The same priest that was loyal to God’s chosen king is going to show himself faithful to God’s worship & temple…

a. Will God find us faithful stewards with what He has entrusted us? [Parable of the talents – Mt 25] Keep in mind that EVERY thing we have is given to us by the One who owns the universe. He has entrusted us as stewards with our time, our talents, treasure…even the Gospel! May we be faithful…

B. What did Jehoiada do? Basically he put aside a specific offering box just for the temple repairs. Instead of the priests trying to figure out how much of the money was supposed to go to them as personal wages & how much was supposed to be used for repairs, Jehoiada basically set up a dedicated building fund, so that no one could mistake what money was to be used for what purpose.

10 So it was, whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and put it in bags, and counted the money that was found in the house of the LORD. 11 Then they gave the money, which had been apportioned, into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they paid it out to the carpenters and builders who worked on the house of the LORD, 12 and to masons and stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone, to repair the damage of the house of the LORD, and for all that was paid out to repair the temple. 13 However there were not made for the house of the LORD basins of silver, trimmers, sprinkling-bowls, trumpets, any articles of gold or articles of silver, from the money brought into the house of the LORD.

A. Finally the construction repairs were done. Contracted out to the experts…

B. The repairs to the temple instruments seem to have been left undone – why, the Scripture doesn’t tell us.

14 But they gave that to the workmen, and they repaired the house of the LORD with it. 15 Moreover they did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be paid to workmen, for they dealt faithfully. 16 The money from the trespass offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD. It belonged to the priests.

A. The workers were faithful… The priests were provided for… Good solution overall.

17 Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it; then Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that his fathers, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred things, and all the gold found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and in the king’s house, and sent them to Hazael king of Syria. Then he went away from Jerusalem.

A. According to 2 Chr 24, Syria did go ahead & attack Jerusalem. Apparently after the successful attack, Joash paid “protection” money (tribute money) to Syria to keep from getting attacked again.

B. Things have come a long way since the days of King David when Israel wouldn’t have even considered such a thing! Easy to see how the influence & power of the kingdom has dwindled the further they got away from the things of God. Part of the reason Jerusalem was attacked was because Joash had begun to walk away from the Lord (2 Chr 23:24) – this was (in some regards) the judgment of God.

a. Has a similar thing happened to the church today? The Church used to have somewhat of a voice in our culture. Even non-believers in our country would look to the Biblical Church for guidance on spiritual & moral issues. Today, the Church is all but ignored. Some of it simply has to do with the times in which we now live. Yet we need to ask ourselves: how much is due to our own compromise? When those who profess the name of Christ don’t walk according to how Christ calls us to walk, why would anyone else listen to what we have to say?

19 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 And his servants arose and formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash in the house of the Millo, which goes down to Silla. 21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him. So he died, and they buried him with his fathers in the City of David. Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.

A. Jehoash escaped a murder attempt as a baby, but couldn’t escape it as an adult. Yet before we read this with too much sadness for injustice, we need to have the whole story. This seems to have been the righteous judgment of God upon Joash for his apostasy away from God after his mentor & friend Jehoiada died. He served wooden images & idols & was confronted by God’s prophet: 2 Chronicles 24:20 (20) Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’ ” []

B. Like so many others, Joash starts off great & then finishes poorly. … That’s not what God would have for us! He wants us to finish strong, keeping our eyes upon the Lord Jesus & running the race in the power of the Holy Spirit…

Conclusion:
Like Jehoash, we have a King who was denied by the world, and attempted to be destroyed by Satan. Also like Jehoash, the attempt failed – and Jesus was shown to be the King that He is. Unlike Jehoash, Jesus has finished well! (And will come back to finish well again!) … We can rejoice in Christ our King – the promised anointed one of God & the victor over the enemy!

May we be like Jehoiada – and show ourselves faithful to our King no matter what the circumstances! Jehoiada was loyal during times of opposition – did not hesitate to proclaim his king as the true king – and was a faithful steward of the tasks put into his hand (repairing the temple). May we be loyal to Jesus no matter what… Bold to proclaim Jesus as Christ the King to the entire world… Faithful to the gifts, talents, and responsibilities Jesus has given us in the meantime…

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