Day 116: A man and his word (2 Kings 12-14)

Posted: July 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of the LORD  – the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers, and let it be used to repair whatever damage is found in the temple.” But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple. Therefore King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.” The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves. 2 Kings 12:4-8

How sad is it that not even the priests could be trusted with the money to rebuild the temple? In the passage above, King Joash of Judah is doing good in God’s eyes, rebuilding the Temple (even though he failed in eliminating the high places of idol worship, but that’s a different story), and when he becomes king, he trusts his priests to collect the money required to rebuild the Temple. TWENTY THREE years…23 YEARS! All this time goes by, and the priests, the very people in charge of the place, fail to get it done. What a sad commentary on how the nation had done a complete 180. The builders and workers were more trustworthy with the money than the priests were! It also showed a complete lack of follow through on the priests’ part, and even on King Joash’s part too. God fulfills every one of his promises, and in turn, we should too.

It got me thinking, do you know anyone who never follows through on their word? Someone who says they are going to do something and then “conveniently” forgets or altogether denies it, or simply changes his or her mind? It’s a frustrating attitude, for sure, but for us, we are called to follow through on all of our promises, especially to God.

It reminds me of a failure in my own life when it comes to follow through! At our house that we rent, we have two sets of front steps that lead up to two separate front doors. One leads to the hallway and the other goes directly into our living room. Well, at one point last year, these stairs were falling apart, especially the one that goes to our hallway, because it gets used about 95 percent of the time. It’s closer to the driveway and it’s just more convenient. Anyway, I made a promise to our landlord that I would replace the two sets of steps, and with the help of my buddy Herm, we got one of them complete, with the full intention of getting to the other one as soon as we could.

That was a year ago.

Fast forward to today, and the other set of steps still sits there, rotting away, just waiting for me to get my rear in gear. It’s not that I don’t want to do it (OK, maybe a part of me doesn’t want to do it, haha), but other things have come up and other days I just forget. Now, regardless of the excuses, I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain. I have yet to keep my word.

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:33-37

Jesus Himself would declare hundreds of years later that we should “not break our oath,” that we should keep our word, to others and to God, never getting carried away with making promises we know we can’t keep. As children of God we should strive to be men and women of our word. In the days of King Joash, people who kept their promises were rare. God’s punishment was seen over and over again on these people. It’s amazing how many times “[Insert Name of King here] did evil in the eyes of the LORD” are seen in this book!

I guess I should grab my tool belt and get to work on those steps!

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