Introduction: Joash, aka Jehoash, was one of Judah’s tragic kings. As a boy, God protected him from his grandmother Queen Athaliah’s attempts to murder him. Initially, Joash faithfully served God. Yet, his obedience started off as only partial obedience. Over time, it grew into full blown rebellion and idolatry. It then culminated in his murder of one of God’s prophets. From his mistakes, God reveals seven lessons on staying obedient in your walk with Him. These include: (1) personal devotion, (2) prioritization, (3) accountability, (4) vigilance, (5) fearing God, (6) faith / trust, and (7) fearing the judgment that comes from living your life without God.
First, Joash was only partially obedient because his acts of obedience did not come from his heart. He stayed obedient only until the death of the high priest. After that, he had no one to advise him to remain obedient, and his heart drifted from God. From his mistake, God reveals that personal devotion toward Him is required to remain obedient. Second, because Joash was not fully obedient in obeying God, his priests were not fully obedient in following his commands. They delayed in restoring the Temple. From the mistakes of Joash and his priests, God reveals that you must prioritize serving Him and act without delay to remain obedient in your walk. Third, Joash’s attempts to motivate the priests in rebuilding the Temple failed. It was only when the high priest worked together with him to create a system of accountability that he was able to succeed. From this example, God reveals that accountability is necessary to ensure that you remain obedient in your walk with Him. Fourth, after the death of the high priest who had purified Judah, Joash, his priests, and his officials all returned to idolatry. From their mistakes, God reveals that you must remain vigilant in guarding your heart if you want to remain obedient to Him. Fifth, God sent a prophet to correct Joash. But instead of repenting, Joash killed God’s prophet. Joash had become spiritually blind to his sins, and he did not believe that God would judge him. To avoid Joash’s mistakes, God reveals that you must fear Him (which the Bible defines as hating evil) to remain obedient in your walk. Sixth, Joash failed in his walk with God after he faced a foreign invasion. The invasion was God’s judgment that was meant to cause Joash to repent and return to Him. But instead of repenting, Joash gave away God’s gold as a bribe to a foreign king instead of trusting God. From his mistake, God reveals that you need to have faith and trust in Him to remain obedient in your walk. Finally, after Joash refused to repent, God removed His hand of protection, and Joash’s servants killed him. Here, God reveals that fearing the judgement of a life lived without Him can help you remain obedient to Him.
Joash walks with the Lord as a boy. When he assumed the throne at a mere seven years of age, Joash, aka Jehoash, did right in God’s eyes. “1 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 Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 3 Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.” (2 Chr. 24:1-3). But the book of Kings clarifies that Joash only did right in God’s eyes because he did what Jehoiada, the High Priest, told him to do. And, his obedience was partial because he was not personally devoted in his walk: “2 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 Kgs. 12:1-3). Because of his initial faithfulness, God blessed Joash with a 40-year reign (2 Chr. 24:1). This was the same amount of time that God gave to David and Solomon (1 Kgs. 2:11; 11:42). But he squandered this blessing. Following Jehoiada’s death, Joash’s new counselors turned his heart from God (2 Chr. 24:17-22). He failed to destroy all of the pagan altars of worship and later embraced idolatry. His long-term obedience failed because it was not an act of personal devotion.
Joash disobeyed God’s commands by tolerating evil pagan influences in Judah. Canaanite pagan altars were typically built on “high places” (1 Kgs. 13:32; Jer. 7:31). Whenever the Jews came across pagan altars, they were ordered to destroy them: “then you shall . . . destroy all their figured stones . . . and demolish all their high places;” (Nu. 33:52). “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars . . .” (Dt. 12:2-3). Failing to observe this rule would eventually cause the Jews to blend their worship of God with Canaanite pagan practices: “ . . . For on every high hill and under every green tree you have lain down as a harlot.” (Jer. 2:20). Failing to follow this rule also caused many kings to stumble.
Partial disobedience was the beginning of the downfall of many kings. Joash was not alone in his path to failure that began with partial disobedience by not removing the pagan high places of worship. King Solomon was a reformer who ultimately led a path to failure that began with the same small act of disobedience in refusing to remove the pagan worship centers (1 Kgs. 3:2). He later built special altars on “high places” for his foreign wives to worship their pagan gods (1 Kgs. 11:7-8). King Jeroboam later followed after Solomon’s example and built altars for idol worship with unauthorized priests (1 Kgs. 12:31). King Asa’s disobedience in this area also led to his downfall (1 Kgs. 15:14). King Jehoshaphat was also a reformer who failed for the same acts of disobedience (1 Kgs. 22:43). King Manasseh later rebuilt pagan altars on high places after King Hezekiah destroyed them (2 Kgs. 21:3). Thus, several kings began with great intentions. Yet, their partial or full disobedience led to their eventual downfalls.
The success of each king depended upon their full obedience. Before his death, David warned Solomon that his success as king would depend upon his full obedience: “Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn,” (1 Kgs. 2:3). Each king was further required to write a personal copy of the law to make sure that he followed it: “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.” (Dt. 17:18). Joash had started off his reign with obedience. Yet, because he did not completely follow God’s Word, he stumbled like many of the kings before him.
Make your obedience an act of personal devotion. Joash failed in his obedience because his obedience was not an act of devotion. The Shema, the Jewish call to worship, required that the Jews follow God’s law as an act of love: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Dt. 6:5). In Hebrew, the reference to a person’s “heart” also includes their “mind.” (e.g., Zech. 8:17; Dt. 9:4; 2 Sam. 13:33; 2 Kgs. 23:25; Esth. 4:13; Is. 10:7). Centuries later, a Pharisee lawyer sought to test Jesus. He asked Jesus to name the greatest of the Ten Commandments (Matt. 22:34). Jesus responded by quoting the second verse of the Shema. Yet, because the word “heart” in Greek does not include the word “mind,” He added the word “mind” when He stated the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, and all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:35-38; Mk. 12:29-30; Lk. 10:27; Ex. 20:1-8). If you love God, you will want to keep His commandments out of love and not obligation: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 Jo. 5:3). Does your love for Jesus make you want to obey out of devotion, not obligation?
Publicly commit to serving Jesus. Making a public commitment or vow to God was one of the highest acts of devotion. When Moses first presented God’s Word at Mount Horeb, the Jews made a public vow to worship God as He commanded in His Ten Commandments: “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 19:8.) Yet, they quickly broke their wedding vow when they then built and worshipped the golden calf. (Ex. 32:1-6.) There are also others examples where the Jews publicly committed to serving God. For example, the Nazarites made a public vow to deny themselves certain pleasures (Nu. 6:2-8). Jacob also vowed to tithe if God blessed him (Gen. 28:20-22). Hannah also vowed to give her son Samuel to the Lord to thank Him for her pregnancy (1 Sam. 1:27-28). Likewise, Jonah promised to be obedient to God’s direction if He would free him from the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:9). Paul also made a vow to be a “bondservant” to God (Ro. 1:1; Gal. 1:10). Jesus also wants believers to make the light within them visible to others. They are not to hide it (Matt. 5:15; Lu. 8:16; 11:33; Mk. 4:21). They are also to share their testimony with others (Matt. 28:16-20). They are also to accept Christ publicly by professing Him verbally to be both Lord and Savior: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32). “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God;” (Lk. 12:8). “[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Ro. 10:9). Have you made a public vow to follow Jesus to allow others to keep you accountable in your walk with Him?
The priests’ delay in using the monies received to repair the Temple. At a time when he was still partially walking with God, Joash (Jehoash) directed the priests to fix damages that Athaliah had inflicted upon God’s Temple. Yet, following in their king’s personal example, the priests acted slowly in fulling this command: “4 Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. 5 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.” (2 Chr. 24:4-7; 2 Kgs. 12:4-6). As a result of her pursuit of Baal worship in Judah, Athaliah caused damage to the Temple and the sacred things within it (2 Chr. 24:7). God preserved Joash inside the Temple for six years when Athaliah sought to murder all of her male heirs. Because God had protected him, Joash initially sought to show his appreciation by restoring the Temple. To do this, he ordered that offerings from the people be used for Temple repairs (Ex. 20:13; Lev. 27:2). The fact that the priests did not take the initiative suggests that their hearts were also not completely devoted to God. Their leader did not prioritize fulfilling all of God’s requirements. They followed in his partial example.
A disobedient leader can pull others off of their walks. Paul warned that merely associating with an idolater can cause the believer to be pulled off his or her walk. (1 Cor. 5:11). “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Cor. 15:3). Thus, you must: “take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9). If merely associating with an idolater can cause you to stumble, the risk is even greater when your leader tolerates idolatry. That person can cause any person or group of people under his or her authority to be led astray by his or her bad example. God will therefore judge these leaders for leading others astray. “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6). Joash set the example with his partial obedience. He was not passionate about God’s Word, nor were the priests who followed after his example. Are you inspiring others to obey through your example?
Make serving Jesus your priority and act without delay. The priests sinned against God by making a vow to collect money to restore the Temple and then delaying in their vows: “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you.” (Dt. 23:21). “When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; . . .” (Ecc. 5:4). “I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments.” (Ps. 119:60). Jesus rebuked a disciple who wanted to delay in serving Him: “Another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”’ (Matt. 8:21). Jesus also gave us the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate that some will foolishly wait until it is too late to accept Him (Matt. 25:1-13). Are you delaying in your willingness to serve Jesus?
Keep your vows to obey Jesus. Jesus only wants you to publicly vow to follow Him when you are ready to keep your commitment. Throughout the Bible, Jesus reminds His people that vows of obedience must be followed by action: “And the LORD said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear the words of this covenant and do them.’” (Jer. 11:6). “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matt. 5:37) Have you been faithful to keep your promises to Jesus?
Joash (Jehoash) instructs the priests to use all new monies to finish the repairs. Working together, Joash and Jehoiada set up an accountability system to inspire obedience: “8 So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the Lord. 9 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 All the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped them into the chest until they had finished. 11 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 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 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.” (2 Chr. 24:8-14; 2 Kgs. 12:7-14). Joash tried encouraging the priests with his public directive. Yet, his actions alone failed to generate the revenue to rebuild the Temple. Jehoiada then inspired accountability and giving through a chest that made the offering process more visible. These actions inspired the people to give abundantly knowing that the money would be dedicated (2 Chr. 24:10; Ex. 25:2). These actions also inspired the priests to be faithful stewards in collecting God’s money.
Be accountable to others to remain obedient in your walk. The system worked because the priests were accountable to one another in using God’s money. Whenever two or more are gathered in His name, Jesus is present to guide you: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20). To keep His disciples accountable, Jesus also sent them out in twos: “And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;” (Mk. 6:7; Lk. 10:1). Other believers can help you to renew your mind and stay pure when you fail (Ro. 12:1-2; Jam. 1:27). Thus, believers are urged not to forsake the fellowship and growth that comes from being accountable to other believers (Heb. 10:25). Are you also making yourself accountable and growing in a small group?
Be faithful in your service to remain obedient in your walk. After faithfully collecting the money and keeping it for its intended purpose, the priests were then faithful to use it for its intended purpose to repair the Temple (2 Chr. 24:8-14; 2 Kgs. 12:11-14). The people not only were inspired by the example of the king and the priests to give, the people were also inspired to give with their time to rebuild the Temple. Each person had a gift that was needed for the Temple, and they showed the discipline to use those gifts for God. God calls every believer by name before the foundation of the world to do good works for Him: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21). God has also given you gifts for you to use as a co-builder of His Church: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Pet. 4:10; Ro. 12:6-8; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:1-7). Every person’s gift is needed in the body of Christ because no one person has them all (1 Cor. 12:13-27). Joash and the high priest could not rebuild the Temple on their own. They needed the help of others. There is also no gift labeled “spectator” within the Church. If you claim to be obedient to God, are you volunteering your time, talent, and treasure to serve Him?
Be faithful to God just as He is faithful to you. God remains faithful to you, even when your faith fails you: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). If you are faithful out of devotion out of gratitude, God promises to bless you: “A faithful man will abound with blessings, . . .” (Prov. 28:20(a)). Also, if you prove yourself faithful in the small things that He gives you, He will bless you with greater things: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matt. 25:21). Are you remaining faithful in serving Him?
After Jehoiada’s death, Judah’s priests, its king, and its officials return to its idolatry. Joash’s obedience was not something that he did out of personal devotion. Thus, following the death of the one righteous man that he listened to, he, his priests and his officials drifted back into idol worship: “15 Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16 They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.17 But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them. 18 They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt. 19 Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the Lord; though they testified against them, they would not listen.” (2 Chr. 24:15-19). Jehoiada’s death is celebrated and remembered because he was the glue that kept Judah’s king, its priests, and its officials focused on worshipping Yahweh. After he died, the king, the priests and officials did what felt right in their own hearts. They believed in Yahweh. Yet, they felt that diversity in worship was a thing to celebrate. They knew that celebrating Baal would be too controversial. Thus, they slowly reintroduced idols to Baal’s companion Asherim for the people to worship. God had restored His blessings. Thus, the people felt no need to stay vigilant in their exclusive worship of Yahweh.
Without vigilance, fellowship can be quickly broken. Unlike these Jews, you should be vigilant in guarding your heart. You should never allow your spiritual successes to cause you to become complacent in your walk. If you do, Satan will try to take advantage of you. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Pet. 5:8-10). Who are you accountable to in order to stay vigilant in your walk? Are you also keeping yourself out of environments where you might turn to sin?
If you desire your old life, Satan will try to pull you back into it. These Jews liked having different idols to pray to. They most likely believed that their prayers were more likely to succeed if they could pray to multiple gods. Yet, this diversity of worship was offensive to God. If you desire for your old life of the flesh, Satan will use that to pull you away from Jesus. And, you will grow cold toward Jesus: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62). Do you long for any aspects of your old life when you lived according to the desires of the flesh?
Keep your heart focused by reading His Word and praying on a regular basis. How could the leaders of Judah so quickly return to idolatry? They did not read God’s Word. Had they done so, His Word would have convicted them of their sins: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). If you treasure Jesus’ Word, He will guide your path in times of darkness: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). Jesus’ Word is also the key to finding the kingdom of heaven. Once you realize that, you will consider it your greatest treasure: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt. 13:44). His Word also provides wisdom that is greater than gold: “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.” (Prov. 16:16). Are you regularly reading the Word and praying to guard your heart?
Joash murders Jehoiada’s son. Joash’s small compromises ultimately culminated with his decision to murder the prophet Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son: “20 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.’’ 21 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. 22 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!’” (2 Chr. 24:20-22). Joash’s unspeakable act showed that he had become spiritually blind to what was right and what was wrong. The man whom God had protected from his grandmother’s attempt to murder him had now murdered God’s prophet. Because Joash forsook God, he also forsook His mercy and grace. The oldest penalty under God’s law for murder was death (Gen. 9:5-6; Ex. 21:12; Lev. 24:17; Nu. 35:16; 35:31). Joash had even seen this law applied to Athaliah for her many murders (2 Kgs. 11:16). God, however, delayed the penalty that Joash deserved under the law to give him a chance to repent. God had allowed David to live after he repented for murdering Uriah (2 Sam. 12:13). If Joash had repented, God would have most likely extended the same mercy and grace to him as well.
To avoid disobedience, fear God by hating evil. Joash did not think that there would be any consequences for killing God’s prophet. He believed that he was invincible because he did not fear God. Through his similar mistakes, Solomon learned that he needed to fear God to follow Him: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7). “Then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.” (Prov. 2:5). Solomon later defined the fear of the Lord as hating evil (Prov. 8:13). Because Joash did not hate evil, his partial obedience eventually changed over time into his complete rebellion against God.
Satan’s goal is rebellion against God’s law. From his own mistakes, Solomon learned that rebellion was the sign of an “evil man.” (Prov. 17:11). According to Paul, rebellion is part of the spirit of “the prince of the power of the air.” (Eph. 2:2). Samuel also said: “. . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . .” (1 Sam. 15:23). Satan also becomes the father of those who rebel (Jo. 8:44). When society fails to follow its own rules, order will break down. It is no different with God’s law. Is there any rebellion in your heart?
Aram invades Judah, and Joash uses God’s money as a bribe. As a consequence of Joash’s rebellion, idolatry, and murder, God removed His hand of protection and allowed the armies from Aram to invade Judah and seized its treasures: “23 Now it happened 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. 24 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.” (2 Chr. 24:23-24). The book of Kings reveals that Joash (referred to as Jehoash) emptied God’s treasury in a failed attempt to bribe King Hazael of Aram to call off his invasion of Judah: “17 Then Hazael king of Aram went up and fought against Gath and captured it, and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 18 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.” (2 Kgs. 12:17-18). God used the Syrian king Hazael to first threaten Judah and Jerusalem to given them a chance to repent (2 Chr. 24:23-24). As a result of one battle, the Syrians wounded Joash (2 Chr. 24:25). Joash then became fearful. Instead of turning to God and repenting, he used God’s holy things to bribe King Hazael to call off his attacks on Judah.
Place your trust in God’s strength, not your own strength. Because Joash became fearful, he failed to trust God. He instead trusted in the money that belonged to God to deliver him. He should have trusted God instead of looking for his own way out: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5; 28:26). Sadly, the gold that Joash accumulated in rebuilding the Temple caused him to feel less dependent upon God. Thus, in his weakness, he failed to trust God.
God desires obedience more than sacrifice. God wanted Joash’s obedience more than his efforts to save Judah. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22). Are you taking actions that God will find offensive?
Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says. A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord. Yet, Jesus is not your Lord if you disobey Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46; Jam. 1:22). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24). If you call Jesus your Lord, are you are refusing to obey Him?
The servants of Joash (Jehoash) conspire together and killed him. After Joash refused to repent, God judged him by allowing his subordinates to conspire together to kill him: “25 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 Chr. 24:25-27; 2 Kgs. 12:19-21). Joash tried to live without God. God gave him his wish. God removed Himself and His hand of protection from Joash’s life. The many enemies of Joash then took his life.
A nation that refuses to return to God will also experience His progressive discipline. Joash suffered because he did not fear God’s judgement. His actions brought progressive judgment upon all of Judah. In the Torah, Moses outlined 40 progressively severe “curses” that God could use to bring a rebellious nation back to Him. These include: (1) resistance / opposition (Dt. 28:16); (2) scarcity (Dt. 28:17); (3) infertility (Dt. 28:18); (4) failure (Dt. 28:19); (5) rebuke (Dt. 28:20); (6) hardships (Dt. 28:21); (7) illness (Dt. 28:22); (8) drought (Dt. 28:23-24); (9) defeat (Dt. 28:25); (10) fear (Dt. 28:26-27); (11) disease (Dt. 28:28); (12) confusion (Dt. 28:28-29); (13) stolen spouses (Dt. 28:30(a)); (14) stolen property (Dt. 28:30(b)-31, 33(a)); (15) stolen children (Dt. 28:32); (16) oppression (Dt. 28:33(b)); (17) mental illness (Dt. 28:34); (18) sores and lost beauty (Dt. 28:35); (19) idolatry (Dt. 28:36); (20) being vilified (Dt. 28:37); (21) insect plagues (Dt. 28:38-39); (22) a seared conscience (Dt. 28:40); (23) enslaved youth (the second curse against children) (Dt. 28:41); (24) barren lands (Dt. 28:42); (25) indebtedness (Dt. 28:43-44); (26) destruction (Dt. 28:45-6); (27) captivity (Dt. 28:47(a)); (28) suffering (Dt. 28:47(b)); (29) invasion (Dt. 28:49-50); (30) pillaging (Dt. 28:51); (31) being besieged (Dt. 28:52); (32) self-destruction (Dt. 28:53); (33) husbands turning on their wives (Dt. 28:54-55); (34) wives turning on their husbands (Dt. 28:56-57); (35) unending plagues (Dt. 28:58-59(a)); (36) unending diseases (Dt. 28:59(b)-60); (37) other calamities (Dt. 28:61); (38) population collapse (Dt. 28:62-63); (39) exile (Dt. 28:64); and (40) despair (Dt. 28:65-68). The western world has also enjoyed great prosperity. It should not interpret its prosperity as an ongoing promise of God’s blessing. Joash made the same mistake. His undeserved blessings were the calm before the storm of God’s discipline. Are you praying for your leaders to repent to spare the nation from God’s discipline?