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Jesus gave us the illustration of two different houses built on two very different foundations. The one was solid – built on rock – able to stand on its own and endure any type of trial. This house spoke to the type of faith that finishes strong and leaves a good legacy. But the other house was built on sand. It didn’t look very different for quite some time. It might even have seemed very attractive – plenty of bedrooms with walk-in closets; modern kitchen; even a screened in porch. But it was propped up by favorable conditions. Once the supporting props were removed and the strong winds blew, its weak foundation was exposed.

How strong is your faith? Are you being propped up by your parents or by some Christian leader or some strong spiritual mentor that guides you? When you are completely on your own and tough times come, how will you react? What happens when you go off to high school or college? What decisions do you make when you don’t have a large crowd of Christian friends to pressure you in the right direction? We want to learn a lesson today about finishing strong in our Christian life. We want to make sure that we are depending directly on the grace of God and the sufficiency of Jesus Christ – not on someone else to give us spiritual strength.

We are going to study the life of the Boy-King Joash – the one who came to the throne at the young age of 7 (hard to imagine) and ruled for 40 years over Judah. His life is broken into 2 halves. His early reign looks fairly strong under the spiritual guidance of the wise old high priest Jehoiada who lived to be 130 (talk about a generation gap! – Must have been some interesting dynamics). But after his death, King Joash showed his true colors and turned away from the Lord big time. Unable to form his own godly convictions and live them out, he turned to some other poor counselors and followed their foolish advice. Hopefully, we will learn from his failures how to finish strong in our Christian walk.


[Synoptic Approach – like with the Gospels – a harmony of 2 different accounts — 2 Kings 12:1-21; 2 Chron. 24:1-27]


1) (11:1) Desperate Times for the Nation –

Ed Anderson: Athaliah married Jehoram; daughter of king and now the wife of a king; and became the mother of a king; that still wasn’t good enough – became king herself! One problem – she missed killing one of the heirs; his aunt shielded him and hid him in the temple; that aunt had married the high priest; Athaliah put to death by the order of the high priest . . .

looked like the seed of David had been extinguished; What about the promises of God?? What about the coming of the Messiah through the house of David? 2 Kings 11 – Athaliah, the mother of the slain Ahaziah had taken over the throne – only time you see a woman on the throne in the southern kingdom of Judah; she was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel = nice set of parents; she tried to destroy all of the royal offspring,

2) (11:2-8) Divine Preservation of the Messianic Seed

but the half sister of Ahaziah – so not her daughter (but the wife of the high priest Jehoiada) had protected one small infant = Joash and hid him away until the right time to install him as king – the wonderful sovereignty of God to protect the line of David

Tremendous risk taken by the high priest and his wife to protect Joash; described later as showing great kindness

3) (11:9-16) Dramatic Coronation of the Young Boy King — Joash

Very detailed plans for performing the coup before Athaliah could get wind of what was happening and respond

4) (:17-21) Dedication to the Lord and Destruction of the House of Baal

Seems like Joash is off to a great start; maybe the nation is on the verge of another major revival in terms of embracing their role as the people of God




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

Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 And Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 3 And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters. (2 Chron. 24:1-3)

Joash is shortened form of Jehoash – same person; additional confusion because same name becomes king over Israel during his reign

For the most part Joash (spelling of his name in Chronicles) practiced righteousness – but only because he had the godly Jehoiada guiding him.

Provision of 2 wives was important –

– At least not the mess Solomon made of things with all his wives and concubines

– Chosen by godly Jehoiada

– Two allowed for possibility of one being infertile – talk about pressure to produce a male child!

The problem of worshipping at shrines described as “the high places” was a common one throughout Israel’s history. Sacrificed and burned incense here. You see it was not very convenient for everyone to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to worship.

People liked the high places for a variety of reasons:

– Personal Comfort – Who likes the hardship of following all of God’s regulations?

– Independent Control – Why submit to God’s plan for worship when we can come up with a plan that better suits our schedule and our interests?

– Self-appointed Leadership – What difference can there possibly be between the Levite priests who regulate the worship at the temple and our own leaders who can conduct sacrifices on a local level?

Silversides: bad tradition becomes entrenches as a matter of attachment and pride; very difficult to reform

Small cracks in the dam that holds back the flood waters of sin can widen into huge holes.

Look at other examples where the small seeds of sin grew into huge stumbling blocks:

– Adam and Eve – just a bite out of the fruit of the forbidden tree – just one bite – how significant could that possibly be?? Rom. 5:12 “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men”

– 5:18 “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men

Talk about huge consequences of sin!

– Judges – did not completely exterminate the wicked Canaanites from the promised land – Huge sin – problems down through the ages – still impacting Joash; Judges 1:19; chap. 2

– King Saul — left King Agog alive and some of the best livestock and spoil from the conquest of Israel’s enemies – lost the kingdom — 1 Samuel 15:9

– Ananias and Sapphira – just a small lie about what proportion they gave to the Lord – instant judgment and execution – Acts 5

What small sins are you putting up with in your life? Where are you playing the dangerous game of how close to the line can you get? How far can you push the envelope?

You must be ruthless in the pursuit of righteousness; take sin seriously; listen to your conscience; stamp out sin completely



[similar to message of Book of Haggai 1:4-8]

Then Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the sacred things which is brought into the house of the LORD, in current money, both the money of each man’s assessment and all the money which any man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD, 5 let the priests take it for themselves, each from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the damages of the house wherever any damage may be found. 6 But it came about that in the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had not repaired the damages of the house. 7 Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the other priests and said to them, “Why do you not repair the damages of the house? Now therefore take no more money from your acquaintances, but pay it for the damages of the house.” 8 So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, nor repair the damages of the house. 9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid, and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money which was brought into the house of the LORD. 10 And when they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and tied it in bags and counted the money which was found in the house of the LORD. 11 And they gave the money which was weighed out 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 the builders, who worked on the house of the LORD; 12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the damages to the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. 13 But there were not made for the house of the LORD silver cups, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver from the money which was brought into the house of the LORD; 14 for they gave that to those who did the work, and with it they repaired the house of the LORD. 15 Moreover, they did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings, was not brought into the house of the LORD; it was for the priests. (2 Kings 12:4-16)

4 Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD. 5 And he gathered the priests and Levites, and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah, and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God annually, and you shall do the matter quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly. 6 So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief priest and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the levy fixed by Moses the servant of the LORD on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the testimony?” 7 For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the LORD for the Baals. 8 So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the LORD. 9 And they made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the LORD the levy fixed by Moses the servant of God on Israel in the wilderness. 10 And all the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped them into the chest until they had finished. 11 And it came about whenever the chest was brought in to the king’s officer by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would come, empty the chest, take it, and return it to its place. Thus they did daily and collected much money. 12 And the king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service 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. 13 So the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications, and strengthened it. 14 And when they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was made into utensils for the house of the LORD, utensils for the service and the burnt offering, and pans and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada. 15 Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house. (2 Chron. 24:4-16)

A. Recognition of the Need to Repair the Temple

Temple has fallen into major disrepair; Joash led the rebuilding and repairing of the temple

B. Failure of Plan A – relying on the priests to push the construction work forward and collect and use the funds to get the job done

Jehoiada seems to have some culpability in this; Joash seems to take some excellent leadership steps here

How many times do you have to reinforce your priorities to make sure they are carried out??

Variety of different offerings in Israel: (not just one simple tithe)

Annual census with offering associated with it; free will offerings = for the temple

High priest had not followed through and completed the task

C. Switch to Plan B – Special Collection Box

Principles of financial accountability instituted

Principle: worker is worthy of his hire – not expected to work on the house of the Lord for nothing

Priests still provided for under this plan

Guilt offerings, Sin offerings = for the priests

Record old age for Jehoiada – he finished well – long time to persevere in the faith

Seems to be off to a good start; some chinks in the armor; but overall on the path of righteousness – then Jehoiada dies … what happens next ….


Now the Prop of the godly Jehoiada is removed; let’s see how King Joash responds

He lived a long time – gracious for God to prop up the king for that long; but he had to die at some point

But now the floodgates of sin and rebellion open up

Cf. Judges 2:8-12 “Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten . . . Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord”



Rugh: Chronicles gives fuller account of southern kingdom; Kings gives fuller account of northern kingdom

A. (:17) Different Agenda – Replacing Counsel of God with Counsel of Man —

Looking for Guidance in All the Wrong Place and for All the Wrong Reasons

But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king,

and the king listened to them.

Leadership transition periods are very vulnerable times; Critical part of a relay race is always the passing of the baton; very important to pass the baton of a life of faith and obedience to God’s revelation

2 Tim. 2:1-2 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Officials of Judah sensed that this was the time to push a new agenda on young King Josiah:

Use of flattery to try to improve their influence with the king; Jehoiada had been able to see through their transparent hypocrisy; Joash did not have the same value system or discernment antenna

Teaching regarding Flattery: political scheming at the highest levels

Psalm 12 – great insights — (:2-4) THE WORD OF THE WICKED

(contrasted with vs. 6-7 = the Word of the Lord) – characterized by:

– Falsehood — empty talk

“They speak falsehood to one another”

– Flattery — smooth talk

“With flattering lips …”

– Deceit — double talk

“and with a double heart they speak”

– Boasting — big talk

“the tongue that speaks great things”

– Threatening — trash talk

“with our tongue we will prevail”

– Rebellion against the authority of God – bigshot talk

“our lips are our own; who is lord over us?”

Prov. 26:28 “A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”

Jude 16 “they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage

Business owners – very important who they listen to – how important do they judge character to be vs just short term bottom line results??

Who do you listen to? Voice of Truth is calling out and demanding a hearing

Not just wisdom in abundance of counselors – but abundance of godly counselors

B. (:18a) Different Allegiance – Replacing Worship of God with Worship of Idols —

Rejection of God’s Revealed Worship Plan and of the Faith of Their Fathers

And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the

Asherim and the idols;

Dramatic turn of events so quickly after the priest died – Amazing defection and apostasy

Why would they choose to abandon the house of the Lord and the religious heritage of their fathers? Must be associated with lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life … something that appealed to pleasure and pride

Switching Loyalties to Glamour and Glitz

Asherim – associated with high places, with burning of incense to other gods, with the offering of sacrifices; all types of practices related to idolatry

J. Barton Payne: The images (Heb. Massebot) were Canaanitish stone pillars, thought to contain the local fertility-gods, the Baalim. The term groves (Heb. Asherim) refers, actually, to Baal’s goddess-consort Asherah, believed to reside in a wooden pole beside the stone pillar. Btoh, when carved, became idols (cf. 1 Kings 15:12). The images are now known, from archaeology to have been incense-stands.

1 Cor. 10:14 – “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” After warning us to heed the lessons of history

Where are your loyalties today? Are you a follower of Jesus just when others drag you along and prop up your faith? Can you dare to be a Daniel and dare to stand alone – willing to fellowship with the sufferings of Jesus Christ – or are you a fair-weather Christian?

C. (:18b) Different Adjudication — Replacing Grace and Blessing with Guilt and Condemnation — Result of Rebellion: Guilt / Wrath

so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt

never worth it

Things are now spiraling downward out of control; going from bad to worse

Wrath should never be associated with God’s elect nation and chosen land – but these people did not have a true heart for God; they never had genuine faith; they had a propped up faith – but once it was convenient and easy for them to defect, they showed their true allegiance

Guilt brings condemnation and wrath of God; there must be just forgiveness by God’s grace and justification so that there can be peace with God and blessing

Are you under God’s wrath or enjoying His blessing?



A. (:19) Sent Multiple Prophets — Patience and Longsuffering of the Lord – seeking repentance and restoration

Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified

against them, they would not listen.”

Failure to listen and respond

Not a pleasant mission; not met with any success

People need spiritual ears and hearts with fertile soil, prepared by the Lord, to respond

Faithful prophets were abused and probably persecuted; maybe martyred

If you are faithful in delivering God’s reformation message you don’t always meet with any visible success – not a good measurement of faithful service

Problem is not with the messenger – let’s see what happens when we send the best possible messenger; the one who should be the most persuasive and have the most clout with the leaders as well as with the people

Like God saying: surely they will listen to my Son! Parable of Landowner – Matt. 22:33-46

B. (:20) Sent Prominent Prophet/Priest — Clear Warnings – last chance to avert disaster

Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood

above the people and said to them, “Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress the

commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD,

He has also forsaken you.’

Spoke through Zechariah, the son of the godly high priest Jehoiada

Bold message from God – did not shrink back from delivering it

Did not preach it in secret – “stood above the people”

You are clueless about why prosperity eludes you

Why do you persist in the path of futility??

How you treat God is how God will treat you – ultimate Golden Rule!

Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you

C. (:21-22) Will Send Wrath — Futile Opposition from Hardened Hearts

So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death

in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the

kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he

died he said, ‘May the LORD see and avenge!’”

Look at the heinous nature of this crime:

– blatant misuse of God delegated power – “at the command of the king”

– affront to the kindness of God shown through parents of Zechariah

– affront to the innocence of Zechariah – killing an innocent man

– rejection of God Himself by killing His ambassador

– affront to the sacred ground of the house of the Lord

Rugh: see how quickly sin hardens a heart; he couldn’t have had a better influence than Jehoiada for so many years; he has conformed but has not been converted; his heart had never been transformed; now he goes the direction he really wants to go

The Lord will see and will avenge – Ultimate Sovereign will judge the kings of the earth



A. (2 Kings 12:17) Humiliating Selection by God of Hazael for the Appointed Instrument of Judgment

Then Hazael king of Aram went up and fought against Gath and captured it, and Hazael

set his face to go up to Jerusalem.”

Look at prophecy of Elisha in 2 Kings 8:7-15

Kings should thing long and hard before beginning a military campaign against God’s chosen land and people – but in this case Hazael is sent by God and blessed by God

B. (2 Chron. 24:23-24) Humiliating Defeat on the Battlefield – despite superior forces

Now it came about at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up

against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the officials of the

people from among the people, [and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus.] Indeed

the army of the Arameans came with a small number of men; yet the LORD delivered a

very great army into their hands, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their

fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.

Small numbers defeated a great army – we are used to being on the other side of this equation; but now God’s favor and blessing has been removed and placed upon these pagan forces; clear that this defeat was a judgment of God upon the nation

Prophecy of Moses – Lev. 26:17 “I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.”

C. (2 Kings 12:18) Humiliating Payoff by Joash – exposing complete vacuum of faith

And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and

Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred things and all the

gold that was found among the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s

house, and sent them to Hazael king of Aram. Then he went away from Jerusalem.

How can you take what has been dedicated to God by faithful people and just hand it over to the enemy?? Look at church buildings of apostate denominations … look at the laws of our land as their basis in righteousness is eroded

Bought off King Hazael so he would go away

It is impossible to live a life of faith apart from a foundation of integrity.


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 made a conspiracy, and struck down Joash at the house of Millo as he was going down to Silla. 21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son became king in his place. (2 Kings 12:19-21)

25 And when they had departed from him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and murdered him on his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings. 26 Now these are those who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. 27 As to his sons and the many oracles against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings. Then Amaziah his son became king in his place. (2 Chron. 24:25-27)

A. Health Destroyed

Wounded in battle, Sick, Vulnerable at the end of his life – still a young man (47) – should be in the prime of his strength

B. Security Compromised — Betrayal by Close Confidants

Look at the wives of those who rose up against him – from the enemies of Judah – the Ammonites and the Moabites [different names given in Kings vs Chronicles; multiple opponents]

C. Dead Body Disgraced

Contrast in Burial – God making a clear distinction between Jehoiada who was not a king and yet was granted the honor of being buried with David and the kings vs Joash who was a king and yet was shamed by being buried apart from the sepulchers of the kings

APPLICATION: Call to Repentance in order to Finish Strong: Ezekiel 18:24-32

But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? 26 “When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. 27 “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 28 “Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 “But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right? 30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord God. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. 31 “Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”