2 Chronicles 24:2 – And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Today we will be learning from the life of Joash. Joash’s life has an extremely serious and pertinent lesson for us today. It serves as a stark reminder to parents and fathers in particular, and whether or not we learn this lesson from Joash’s life will determine whether or not the next generation is lost or not. Through the Old Testament we see that many of the sons of godly men turned out to be extremely evil and wicked men. For example, Samuel’s sons, who the Bible says abhorred God. The end of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, talks of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children’s hearts to the fathers. Today, currently, in the world, many of the next generation is wicked. We are only ever a generation away from disaster. The Bible says the world lieth in wickedness. There have been many revivals throughout history, and these have happened when (as Jesus said) Jesus is lifted up and he draws all men unto him. The Pharisees said, the world is gone after him! When we lift Jesus up, not our denomination, not our ideas, not our philosophies, not our opinions, not our religion, then men will be drawn unto Jesus. Whether or not you lift up Christ will determine whether or not you are a witness of him. Jesus said, I am the way. We lift up Jesus when we live a life following Christ, bearing witness of him, having faith in him, being in fellowship with him and pointing others to him. You must be born again to begin with, there is no substitute, there is no circumventing that step. It is either a reality or a performance, no matter how elaborate or convincing. In Judges, it says that there arose a next generation that knew not the Lord. This was but one generation after the one that had conquered the land with Joshua. Their fathers and grandfathers had seen the mighty hand of the Lord, they had experienced his faithfulness, his deliverance, his blessing. How quickly it can happen!
Why are generations lost? And why are they lost so easily? The Bible will show us why in the life of Joash. The Bible says that Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. Joash set about repairing the temple. He was keen to do the Lord’s work. He unified all of Israel in providing money to repair the temple. He did the right things. He was zealous and set a pace that nobody else seemingly could keep up with. The Levites could not do the work quick enough to satisfy him. So too many people can live extremely righteous lives, both saved and unsaved. They can dedicate their life to religious things. They can be pastors. They can live morally and religiously. Saved or unsaved, many people want to do what’s right. Many people, many unsaved people, are extremely disciplined, moral and responsible. But Jesus said, Ye must be born again. It is not enough to be religious, it is not enough to be doing the Lord’s work, it is not enough to be moral. 2 Timothy 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Trusting your own works will deceive yourself. It will give you a false sense of security. Joash was involved in the Lord’s work, he dedicated himself to repairing the temple, this was his work.
But Jehoiada died. And after he died, the Bible says that Joash and the people turned from God, they forsook God, and when God sent prophets unto them to turn them back, they rejected them. The Bible says the wrath of God came against them. Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, the very priest that Joash had relied so heavily upon, spoke against their rejection of God and exhorted them to return to God. God’s wrath is only appeased when we turn to him in repentance and belief. Joash ordered him to be stoned. He killed the son of Jehoiada. God sent a small army of Syrians that defeated a very large Israeli army, and Joash was eventually killed by his own servants. Why did this happen? How could Joash so easily, and so fully, fall so far? The problem was his faith was not in God to begin with. He was dependent upon Jehoiada instead of the Lord. His faith was in Jehoiada, not the Lord. Jesus said, Have faith in God. Jehoiada’s death tried the reality of Joash’s faith. God uses situations of life to reveal what we truly are. Similarly, many people today can be church people, noble people, seemingly righteous and justified and can have everyone fooled, including themselves. And this is how the next generation is lost. If parents are not showing and teaching faith in God, their children will be lost. Children can distinguish between profession and reality. Your children are watching and observing your life. Hebrews says of Godly leaders, whose faith follow. There is nothing wrong with following a Godly person. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11 – Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. But it is their faith in God that you are following, not the person themselves. If they stop following Christ, stop following them. If you are following someone, unless that someone has faith in God that you are following, you will fall. Your faith cannot be proportional to someone else, it cannot rely on someone else, all humans, all things will let you down. The Bible says Jesus did not commit himself unto man, because he knew what was in man. It is faith in Christ alone. In Exodus, God gave Moses instructions for keeping the passover. God said their children would ask, what meaneth this? Why do we do what we do? Do you do what you do because you are saved, born again of the Spirit of God, or is it all a religious facade. Is it tradition, routine, just something you do every Sunday? Is church just a club, a social event?
The key is building dependence on Jesus. Building faith in Christ. This is what edification is. Spiritual gifts are given for edification. That is what your local church should be doing. Our life, our very salvation, hinges on faith in Christ. Building any system, and installing any setup that detracts from faith in Christ to faith in someone else or some work you can do takes our eyes of Christ. Do not turn to the right or the left. And the next generation is watching. Will you be the stumbling stone to the next generation? Abraham went and worshipped with Isaac his son. It is God that turns the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, get right with God yourself. If you are in fellowship with God, your heart will be towards your child. And your child’s heart will be toward you. The next generation depends on your faith and fellowship with Christ.