2 Chronicles 24:2
And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Sermons
Goodness as a Morning CloudSpurgeon, Charles Haddon2 Chronicles 24:2
JoashC. J. Phipps Eyre, M.A.2 Chronicles 24:2
JoashAlexander Maclaren2 Chronicles 24:2
Life and Character of JoashJ. Wolfendale.2 Chronicles 24:2
The Goodness of King JoashJames Randall, M.A.2 Chronicles 24:2
The Jehoiadas of SocietyJ. Parker, D.D.2 Chronicles 24:2
Moral WeaknessW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 24:1, 2
The Early Years of JoashT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 24:1-3


The extremely interesting circumstances under which Joash came to the throne (ch. 23.) make us wish that there was something satisfactory to record of him when he sat upon it. Unfortunately, it is not so. One work in particular he wrought (see next homily) for which he deserves honour, but his character stands before us as that of an essentially weak man. He did what was right all the days of Jehoiada, but no longer. He allowed one man, to whom he was much indebted, to influence him aright; so far he did well. That, however, is not saying very much, for it would have been ingratitude indeed, of the deepest dye, if he had not been guided by those who first saved his life, and then, as the greatest risk to themselves, seated him upon the throne of his fathers. But goodness that goes no deeper than that is essentially weak; the worth that has to be propped up by a human hand, and that falls to the ground when the sustaining hand is withdrawn, is of small account. It has taken no root; it will have no length of life; it will bring forth no flowers and fruits. Moral weakness is -

I. DISREGARDED OF GOD AND MAN. For such men as Joash the prophet of the Lord has no word of general commendation, though he has words of rebuke to utter (vers. 19, 20). With them God "is not well pleased." And man is also and equally dissatisfied. Men that are wrong and strong will find their advocates; indeed, they find all too many to honour and praise them, both while they live and when they are departed. But men that are good and weak find none to admire them. They may start, as Joash apparently did, with fair intentions and blameless desires, but they have no force of character, and being "driven with the wind and tossed," carried about hither and thither according to the passing breeze, they are the object of disregard, if not of positive contempt. There is nothing honourable or admirable in them.

II. FRUITLESS OF ANY POSITIVE GOOD. Such men as Joash may do some good during one half of their life, or at different parts of their life; but the good they then do is counterbalanced by the harm they work during the other half or on other occasions; and no one can say which prevails over the other. The measure of many a man's life-influence is a nice sum in spiritual subtraction; and when everything is known it will perhaps be found to be a "negative quantity." It is a poor and a pitiful thing to see a man first building up and then pulling down; one day working with the people of God and the next associating with the enemies of true and pure religion; subscribing to a Christian charity and attending a demoralizing spectacle; pulling in contrary directions. What can such a man do? What witness can he bear, what work achieve, what contribution bring to the great end we should have in view - the elevation of our kind? That will be represented by a cypher - or something worse.

III. UNNECESSARY. It may indeed be said that this is a question of natural endowment, and rests with our Creator and not with ourselves; that men receive from him either strength and force of will or else pliancy of spirit, sensitiveness of soul and readiness to be affected by influences from outside. This is true, in part; but it is not the whole truth. We must not make our heavenly Father responsible for our short-comings. Moral weakness is a defect of character. It is the result of a wrong choice.

1. Let a man give himself, as he should, in full surrender to the God whoso he is and whom he is most sacredly bound to serve, to that Divine Saviour who has bought him with the price of his own redeeming blood, and he will then be in the way of gaining single-heartedness and strength.

2. Let him be regularly and repeatedly renewing his act of self-dedication. Joash did, when he was a child, pledge himself to the service of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 23:16). But he was then too young to understand all that such a covenant meant. He should have continually renewed that solemn pledge. We have the amplest opportunities and invitations to reconsecrate ourselves to the service of Christ, and if we accept these, we shall retain our thorough loyalty to him, and then we shall not be moved and swayed, but be "steadfast and immovable."

3. Let him gain strength from above. There is an unfailing Divine resource on which all the good may draw. "When I am weak, then am I strong," said Paul. For when he was most conscious of his own insufficiency, then he looked up for help to the "Lord of all power and might," to him who can and will "strengthen us with strength in our soul," who will "strengthen us with all might by his Spirit in the inner man," who will make us strong

(1) to endure;

(2) to overcome;

(3) to bear witness;

(4) to labour in the holy fields of Christian work. - C.







And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord an the days of Jehoiada the priest.
There are certain characters that are great curiosities. There are also other characters that are great monstrosities. The ease of Joash is s very extraordinary one. From his history learn —

I. THAT IT IS A GREAT BLESSING WHEN PEOPLE YIELD TO GODLY INFLUENCES.

1. The first six years of Joash's life were spent in the temple.

2. He was started in life's business in a very admirable way.

3. He was outwardly obedient to the law of the Lord in the days of Jehoiada.

4. He was zealous for the externals of religion.

5. He influenced others for good.

II. GOOD AS ALL THIS IS, IT IS NOT ALL THAT IS NEEDED.

1. This is not yielding the heart to God.

2. All this yielding to godly influences may exist without any personal, vital godliness whatever.

3. An externally pious character may even prevent men from being saved at all. It may lead a man to take for granted that he is saved.

4. To be under godly influences year after year, without any great trial or temptation, may leave the personal character altogether undeveloped.We must have some kind of test, or else we cannot be sure of the character. You cannot be sure about principle being in any young man if he has been kept under a glass case, and if his principles have never been tried. The real character of Joash had never come out at all, because Jehoiada, as it were, covered him. His own disposition was only waiting the opportunity of developing itself. I have heard of an officer in India who had brought up a young leopard. It was apparently as tame as a cat. One afternoon, while asleep in his chair, the leopard licked his hand in all tenderness as a cat might have done; but after licking awhile it licked too hard and a little blood began to flow. It no sooner tasted blood than the old leopard spirit was up, and his master was his master no more. So does it happen to many that being shut in, and tamed, as it were, but not changed, subdued but not renewed, kept in check but not converted, there has come a time afterwards when the taste of blood has called out the old nature, and away the man has gone.

III. THIS YIELDING CHARACTER MAY EVEN PROVE A SOURCE OF MISCHIEF. The princes of Judah came and "made obeisance to the king." What followed?

1. Joash went off to sin.

2. He refused reproof.

3. He slew his friend's son.

4. Having no faith in God, he robbed the temple, and gave all the gold and treasures unto Hazael the Syrian.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. The history of Joash enforces the duty of training ourselves, and those who are under our guidance, to stand alone, and not to rest upon the support of others.

2. Not that we should make small account of the counsel of wise and religious friends. The perfect use of a wise adviser is not to determine for us what we shall do in every particular case that day by day arises; but to help us to store our minds with sound principles, such as we may call up for our own direction when any emergency requires them.

3. There is a great difference in the natural constitution of men's minds. Some are like the creeping plant that grows up rapidly, but must always hang for support upon some external prop. Others are like the oak, slowly developing itself from among the meaner underwood, until it rears its head alone above the trees of the forest. When the trellis or pole decays, the creeper must fall to the ground; the oak abides seemingly unmovable in its own strength. All the culture that man could bestow would never give to the creeper the sturdiness of the oak.

4. But though man cannot change nature God can. He can impart strength to the weakest character. Therefore the way to be firm in what is good, is to take God for your guide and support, and not man (Galatians 6:4, 5; Philippians 2:12, 13).

5. There is no contradiction between the duty of seeking and in due measure following the counsel of our good instructors and the duty of standing fast for ourselves in the counsel of God. Just as the office of the moon is to transmit the reflected light of the sun to the dark side of the earth; but if the moon comes between the earth and the sun, it does but darken the earth, by intercepting from it the rays that beam from that great light which is the source of light and heat to both; so the parent, the teacher, or the priest, is to stand for God towards the child, the pupil, or the private Christian, so far as their imperfect knowledge or their spiritual needs require; but not so as to eclipse God, or to make them forget that to God and not to man they are answerable in the last resort for their deeds.

(James Randall, M.A.)

Men may constrain us to a temporary amendment, but God alone can control us to a lasting change of character and heart. Circumstances can make any one of you religious for a time, and give you feelings and habits which will make you appear religious to others, and what is worse still, lead you to suppose that the outward appearance is the effect of inward principle. But nothing but the grace of God, and the love of His name and His truth, can produce that piety of heart which withstands temptation, and lives when all earthly agencies are gone which nursed it, because it lives in Him who was pleased to make those earthly agencies the means of grace to the soul. We have in this verse two characters for contemplation.

I. JEHOIADA, AS AN EXAMPLE OF INFLUENCE EXERTED FOR GOOD.

1. He had three elements of success with which to work.

(1)Power, arising from his priestly office and his marriage relationship.

(2)Piety, which gave him the principles on which to discharge his mission.

(3)Courage, arising from his faith in God.

2. Note here the relative influence of personal piety. "Joash did that which is right." The nation prospered in every sense through the faithfulness of one man. Clear and consistent personal piety is always a persuasive thing. No treatises upon religion can rival for persuasive power the "living epistles known and read of all men." Our calling as Christians is to win others, as Jehoiada did, to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. We have received light that our faces may shine before men. The design of God in our salvation is not only our happiness but our usefulness.

II. JOASH AS AN EXAMPLE FOR OUR WARNING. The religion which had its life and influence only from a man was soon forgotten when the source of that influence had passed away. There is a vital difference between the godliness which is the result of external circumstances and that which is the product of internal principle. It is the difference between the galvanised corpse and the living man; the star and the meteor; the flash of the lightning and the action of the sunbeam. There is a false godliness current among men.

1. With some piety is dependent upon policy.

2. With others it is a matter of periods.

3. With others it is a religion of place.

4. With others it is dependent upon the personal influence of some minister, or upon the advice and counsel of a friend.

(C. J. Phipps Eyre, M.A.)

I. THE INSTABILITY OF HIS RELIGION.

1. He was zealous for God under restraint.

2. He degenerated when that restraint was taken away.

II. THE HONOUR AND THE DISGRACE OF HIS REIGN.

1. Honourable reforms.

2. Disgraceful crimes. Like Nero after the death of his teacher Seneca, the philosopher, he was stained with crimes.

III. THE DISASTROUS END OF HIS LIFE. Conclusion: Learn —

1. The responsibility of those to whom the care of young persons is entrusted.

2. Caution those yet under guardianship and tutors and friends.

3. The awful end of those who turn aside from hopeful beginnings.

(J. Wolfendale.)

It would seem to be about the last thing men do, to estimate properly the value of subtle and silent influences, the magic and wisardry of noble character. We may even be ashamed to do certain things in the presence of the Jehoiadas of society. We are not ashamed of the things themselves, nor are we unprepared to make experiments in regard to them; but whenever we would put forth our hand to begin the experiments we see the observing Jehoiada, and withdraw from the pernicious attempt. So it is that there are trustees of commercial and social honour, men who would never do the dishonourable deed, speak the calumnious word, or mislead the sentiment of the market-place in times of strong temptation and peril. We rely upon them as disinfectants, keeping the commercial atmosphere pure, and discouraging in the most positive and decisive manner the spirit and action of men who are low-minded and selfish. These Jehoiadas deliver no lectures upon commercial morality, nor do they in any manner that can be charged with conceit display their own virtues; they simply go on their straightforward course, doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, and the result of their presence and character is that even the worst men are restrained, weak men are confirmed in good resolutions, and men whose character needs inspiration receive it from their example.

(J. Parker, D.D.)

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