2 Kings 12-13 and 2 Chronicles 24
A century after Solomon, both the people of Israel and the Temple had become a metaphor for one another. Both had grown to be a shadow of their former glory. The borders of Israel were shrinking along with the people inside. Many had moved from serving the One True God to idol worship, and the holy relics inside the temple had been refashioned for use in Baal worship. No one seemingly cared, and it showed. Enter Joash. Made king at only the age of seven, yet he showed wisdom beyond his years. Even if you’re a king, you haven’t truly found your ego at such a young age, which was much suffered by his predecessors. In fact, psychologically speaking, your sense of right and wrong is never more attune and concrete than at this time in your life. Just the king Israel needed at this moment. Joash is considered a “good” king because he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, including temporarily restoring the Temple and the precious things inside – not the holy relics -the people of Israel.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis discusses a similar metaphor in our transition to become more like Christ. He compares our old-self to a shack, and the new man/woman to a castle. I would dare say, with Lewis most likely agreeing, that God’s first move is not to take a bulldozer and knock our shanty to the ground. When we hear Paul assert “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” he is not implying such a thing either. Isn’t there some salvageable part that God made if he stitched me in my mother’s womb with a purpose? I believe the context of Paul’s words are more directed at building with a Christ-centered motivation, instead of using the law as we see fit (yesterday’s devotion – read Galatians 2 for context). Everything we do, from tying shoes to tithing, must go through a process of being purposed for God.
This means every wall must be inspected for integrity. Every space designed with the intentions of the Father using it. Yes, the sin, the junk, the addiction, the clutter, must go; however, when we do this, there are pieces – traits, relationships, gifts – that might be salvageable. The “bones” might be good in a spot or too, but God simply isn’t looking to paint the walls and hang a few pictures. He is using the most select pieces, making elaborate extensions, and has a detailed blueprint for more than we could possibly ever imagine. It is an extreme home makeover that begins with bringing Christ on the job-site. The home becomes more unrecognizable, yet with each phase, it is moving towards how it was intended to be. There is a shadow, a glimpse, of what stood there before, but there is much that has been changed, added, removed, all having the mark of their Maker.
Construction – quality, enduring, sizable construction – takes time. Joash did not restore Solomon’s temple overnight. Your renovation from a shack to a castle will take God and you a lifetime to complete, and it will require a day-in-day-out dedication to get there. Most beautifully, alongside our metaphor is a literal Kingdom with Christ at the center. This hard work is not without a promise. We truly are looking ahead for a city whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). I desperately hope we see each other there.
Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your week.
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+12-13%2C+2+Chronicles+24&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be 2 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 25 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan