“And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada, the priest, instructed him. But, the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places.”

II Kings 12:2-3

Even though our “good” may outweigh our “bad,” when it comes to surrender and service, we should not rest until He’s Lord of all.

Jehoash, who was also known as Joash, was the eight king of Judah and reigned in Jerusalem from around 835-796 B.C. His name meant “The Lord supports” and God spared his life through his aunt, Jehosheba, when she hid him from the murderous overtures of Athaliah, who sought to kill all the royal heirs of King Ahaziah (II Kings 11:1-3).

After Athaliah, the wicked daughter of Ahaz and Jezebel and Joash’s grandmother was murdered (11:13-16), Jehoiada, the high priest of Judah, declared that Joash was the lawful king of Judah. And, at the tender age of seven-years-old, he rose to the throne (11:21).

In spite of so many kings before him who “walked not in the ways of the Lord and did evil in the sight of the Lord” (II Kings 3:2-3; 8:18, 27; 10:29-31), Joash “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Thankfully, he had Jehoiada to “instruct him”—especially at such a young age.

But, his righteous service was tainted by the words “But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places.”

At first, he was quite zealous in leading his nation to faith and fidelity in worship. They repaired the Temple, restored true religion and destroyed Baal worship (11:18-21). But, after the death of his advisor-friend, Joash allowed idolatry to flourish as the people resumed “sacrificing and burning incense in the high places to the pagan gods” (II Chron. 24:18). And, sadly, he even had Jehoida’s son, Zechariah, stoned for openly rebuking him (II Chron. 24:20-22).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, how quickly a spiritual “foothold” becomes a satanic stronghold. As someone said, “You give him an inch and he’ll take a mile.” So true, so true.

Fidelity in faith doesn’t have to be rigid and legalistic; however, it must be wholly holy and wholehearted devotion. Anything less is an affront to Him by Whose Name we are called. Even King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived on the earth other than Christ Himself, succumbed to idolatry and immorality when his 700 wives and 300 concubines “turned his heart away after other gods” (I Kings 11:1-4).

In the Race of Faith it’s not how strong we start that matters—although that is still very important; it’s how we finish.

Many there are who set sail with large dreams and strong ambitions of accomplishing great things for God. But, soon adversities come. Hardships and heartaches multiply. And, soon their rose-colored glasses come off and their vision fades. They “grow weary in well-doing and faint in their minds” (Gal. 6:9). And, because of God’s Grace, they’ll still enter into that Promised Rest. But, let it not be said of us “But the high places were not taken away.” May we allow the Holy Spirit to search us and guide us (Ps. 139:23-24). That way we’ll be wholly His.

June 25, 2011