In 2 Kings 12, Joash orders the collection of taxes for the upkeep and repair of damages of the Temple. “But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the Temple (2 Kings 12:6).” Where did the money go? What were they doing with it?
These questions are not directly answered by the biblical text. Joash’s solution is to take the responsibility of tax collecting away from the priests and put the responsibility into the hands of trustworthy men who then proceed with the intended upkeep of the Temple.
Do we see parallel stories today? When we bring our offerings to our congregations or donate to our favorite charities, how can we be sure the money is used properly? Are our key religious leaders promoting the Name of God, or are they promoting their own names?
God intended for ancient Israel to be a theocracy; there was no separation of church and state as we think of it today. Hence, the priests should have been both religious and political leaders of the people. Are our political leaders promoting the good of our nation, or are they promoting the good of their own bottom lines?
As we observe a continuous increase of unrest in our community due to the fiscal irresponsibility of both our political and religious leaders, perhaps we should take Joash’s example in dealing with the problems. Perhaps the growing Tea Party organization has the right idea for politicians; take the responsibility away from those who aren’t getting the job done and place the responsibility into the hands of those who are capable of “acting with complete honesty (2 Kings 12:15).” Check www.teaparty.org for upcoming events.
Perhaps we should take a look in the same light at our religious leaders; are they getting the job done? Sure, the giant church buildings may look shiny, new, and well-kept, but do the people inside know the Word of God? Are the people inside learning how to actively live the Word of God? Is the Word of God being inscribed on the tablets of their hearts? Or, is the money being spent on the outside of the cup while the inside is unclean and filled up with cotton candy fluff (Matthew 23:25-26)?
Join us this Sabbath at The Living Word in DeSoto, TX. www.livingword-jewishchristian.com.