Explore the Bible Study: Honor God

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Finishing what we start is challenging for many of us. 

We start projects only to find we have trouble completing them. Or perhaps we make commitments to the Lord that we struggle completing. Perhaps we commit to reading through the New Testament in one year, yet struggle to complete the commitment. Or maybe we commit to repairing a relationship, removing some habitual sin, or adding a new spiritual habit to our lives. No matter the commitment, we will face the constant challenge of completing what we started. The Explore the Bible Study: Honor God, will examine a king who started out honoring God, yet struggled in the end.

This new king was Joash, the young, seven-year-old King of Judah (2 Kings 11:21). Joash's reign had a great beginning. 2 Kings 12:4-16 focuses on the way Joash began to lead the people of God to reaffirm their commitment to Him and to honor Him. What we will discover is some great spiritual reforms that took place, but we will also discover the struggle we all have in completely removing anything in our lives that would dishonor God.

Honoring God Requires Finishing What Was Started - 2 Kings 12:4-8

The first recorded action Joash took to demonstrate his faithfulness to God was to speak to the priests about repairing God’s house. The king prioritized repairs for the temple so everyone could worship at a place that truly honored God. He also directed the priests to use silver that had been given to pay for the repairs.  Repairs were due to ordinary wear that had occurred in the over one hundred twenty-five years since Solomon had completed the work, and other incidents that may have caused more significant damage. 

Joash became king at age seven and reigned for forty years. The text does not tell us in what year Joash instructed the priests to begin the temple repair, but we do know that in the twenty-third year of his reign (813 BC), he grew impatient because the priests had not done the repairs.

While we don’t know why they delayed the repairs, it’s apparent that the repairs were not a priority for them. The delay prompted King Joash to call the priests, particularly Jehoiada, into account for their lack of action. Because the priests couldn’t give a good explanation for the delay, the priests would receive no more collected money from the people and no longer be responsible for the repairs.

Because they didn’t complete what they started, they lost the opportunity to be a part of the solution.

Why do believers today delay repairing spiritual damage that has taken place? What is the danger in not repairing or delaying the repair of spiritual damage?  

What can this event communicate regarding the stewardship of physical buildings used for worship and Bible study? 

What does this event communicate regarding your responsibility in restoring people to Christ through Salvation? (We can’t quit because the work isn’t complete.)

Anything we do for the Lord deserves more than a great start. We must continue until the work is complete!

Honoring God is Everyone’s Responsibility – 2 Kings 12:9-12

Following the king’s directive, Jehoiada the priest instituted a new system to fund the temple repairs. He created a designated offering box that would collect the money people gave toward the work, and the money would go directly to the workers. All of God’s people joined together to complete the repairs.

Imagine watching all this unfold every week. How would you respond? How was this an act of worship and not just an effort to pay for repairs?

Worshipers in Joash’s day who brought their designated offerings to the temple no doubt shared the same sense of responsibility. Yet the giving wasn’t just a payment, but part of their regular worship as they gathered. This had to be an exciting time because everyone was involved in honoring God!

Honoring God Requires Integrity – 2 Kings 12:13-16

Joash established a special offering under the supervision of both palace and temple (v. 10), but the text makes it plain that Joash’s and Jehoiada’s work to oversee repair of the temple damage did not ignore the stipulations from the Law of Moses. The priests kept the portions of the offerings to which they were entitled, and the temple repair work was funded through designated offerings the people brought. This money that came in went directly to pay the people who bought materials for the work and to pay the workers who did the work (v. 11). At least two officials—one from the palace and one from the temple—knew how much money went into the project, but those who supervised the work worked with integrity, so no accounting was required from them.

How does integrity honor God? How can it be a witness to those who are watching us?

A local church's integrity in how it stewards all it has been given is a witness to a lost community, and a believer’s integrity in business can further the cause of God’s kingdom. When we display integrity in all walks of life, people recognize our trustworthiness. When believers exhibit integrity even in small matters, many in the world take notice. The character trait of integrity grows in a person over time but can be lost quickly by one foolish choice.

Ending Well

2 Kings 12:1-3 gives us a glimpse into Joash’s complete reign: Joash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. . .  Throughout the time the priest Jehoiada instructed him, Joash did what was right in the Lord’s sight. YET [emphasis added] the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.

In describing Joash’s reign, the author offers a favorable assessment, but there is one important word in verse 3: YET.

His reign could have lasted longer, but 2 Kings 12:20 states that his own servants killed him and placed his son on the throne. Joash governed well during his tenure, mostly because of Jehoiada’s instruction. 

What then is the significance of the word YET

2 Chronicles 24:17–22, says that after Jehoiada’s death Joash allowed outright idolatry to flourish and eventually allowed Asherah worship. At the end of his reign, Joash murdered Jehoiada’s son when the son spoke against Joash (2 Chronicles 24:15-22). When Joash suffered defeat from Aram, his servants conspired against him and killed him (2 Kings 12:17-21; 2 Chronicles 24:23-27).

Colossians 2:6 reminds us: just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in Him. 2 Peter 1:5-8 exhorts us to: make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about your walk with the Lord. Is there a danger of having a “YET” describing an area of your life? Who could help you continue to honor God in that area of your life? Consider how you should become more involved in helping the church as it continues to honor God and as it strives to make disciples of all nations.

Joash and all Judah struggled to remain faithful because they abandoned God’s work. This should serve as a constant reminder of the need to keep our focus upon God because of the sin-broken world in which we live. The rebuilding of our lives into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) is not complete.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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