May 15 | Daily Devotion

May 15 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Every once in a while a leader comes along and does what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 12:2).  Such is Joash, king of Judah.  His mentor, the priest Jehoaida, has a tremendous influence on the young king.  Jehoaida most likely served as regent until Joash was of age. Under Joash’s reign, idolatry is curbed (though not eliminated).  Since the worship of pagan gods has become widespread, preserving the “high places” may be a calculated political move.  However, Joash himself worships the Lord and restores the place of worship built by Solomon nearly 125 years earlier. Not only has the temple fallen into disrepair, funding for the worship of God has been curtailed.  You may recall that tithes and offerings are used for maintaining the place of worship; supporting teachers, priests, and musicians; celebrating regular festivals in honor of the Lord; and providing care for the poor. Initially, the needs are so great that monies intended for temple repair are used for other budgetary items.  Consequently, after years of seeing no progress made on the temple, Joash decides to outsource the work and make payments directly to the contractors (rather than having the priests manage the work).  Apparently, the priests agree to this arrangement.

Joash’s single-minded determination reveals something about the human heart. When people turn away from their idols to serve the one true living God, worship becomes a priority!  This was always the case in Israel’s history, and it remains so in today’s church.  Tell me how you spend your time and money, and I will tell you what you worship.  We make time for what we value, and we spend money on things we delight in.  Yes, worship is a matter of the heart, but where the heart goes, everything else follows. One of the signs of spiritual decline is the gradual softening of our commitment to worship God. Leading cultural indicators suggest that we are growing lax in this area.  Conversely, one of the evidences of spiritual renewal is a passion for God expressed by time and money devoted to Him (see also Haggai 1 and Malachi 1-3).  Perhaps now is a good time to ask yourself some hard questions about what your habits of giving and worship say about your heart.  Joash made a clear and decisive decision about what mattered most.  Worship would be a priority for him and for the people he led.  May this be true of you and me, as well.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.