By Dustin Allman
Pastor, The Fort Church, Kingsport
Focal Passage: II Kings 12:4-16
They paid for their order and headed to the second window to receive their bag of food. Like many in a hurry, they didn’t open up the bag all the way, said “thank you” and headed down the road. They pulled over to eat and opened the bag. Their food was not in the bag! Instead, there was a sum of $25,000 in cash!
They immediately rushed to the McDonald’s to turn it in! The managers were thankful (and very curious) and so the authorities were called to investigate. During the process, someone on-site called the local news station to do a story with the couple. The man nervously turned down an interview. The woman he was with was NOT his wife! The paradox of course, is that the man was honorable with the cash, but not with his marriage!
We often find ourselves in predicaments where our honor and integrity can be easily divided. It can happen in the workplace, with financial decisions, or inside of our own home, where no one else can see. But assuredly, no one can build a life of integrity built on a foundation of sin and disobedience.
The people of Israel have been divided shortly after Solomon’s reign. Yet, we still witness God’s patience and mercy to Israel despite their continually rebellious ways. In fact, II Kings 11 gives us a glimpse of God’s gracious promise to preserve the Davidic line. His name is Joash and he just happens to be seven years old!
Joash reigned for 40 years and was commended for doing “what was right in the Lord’s sight” but he failed to remove the “high places” (II Kings 12:2-3). The writer goes on to describe the pace of the temple renovations was too slow!
The pacing of this rebuilding was curious, lazy, or both! In 23 years, the priests had done zero repairs! It reminds me of a witty quip from my uncle. He worked for the state department of transportation, and I was always astounded at all these people he said he worked with.
I asked him one day, “How many people actually work there?” He said, “About half!” There were lots of priests, but they made no progress in the temple. But that will soon change. Renovations will be made!
Joash made a decision to take up an offering. He designated a chest for receiving the needed funds. Enough money was collected with supervisors being trusted to handle things honestly and the workmen went to work!
II Kings 12:11-12 tells us stonemasons, carpenters, builders, stonecutters all worked! Each one played a different role. As the people were faithful to give, the workers were faithful to work.
Verse 15 adds “No accounting was required from the men … they worked with integrity.” We can cheer the completion of this particular project, but that word “integrity” stands out, doesn’t it? We see little of it today, even in our churches.
From world leaders to common laborers. Integrity must always start from the inside-out, not the outside-in. The only reason integrity should be a burden to you is if you enjoy being dishonest. Remember Christian, God honors those who honor Him. B&R