Mishpatim and Shekalim
For the week of February 13, 1999 / 27 Shevat 5759
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 21:1-24:18 and 30:11-16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26
Replaced by: Shekalim, II Kings 12:1-17

Don't Neglect Others
When Doing God's Will

But by the twenty-third year of King Joash
the priests still had not repaired the temple (2 Kings 12:6).

Joash was one of the few relatively good kings of Judah (At this time in Israel's history, the Land was divided in two. The Southern Kingdom was called Israel, the Northern Kingdom, Judah). Sometime early in Joash's reign, he commissioned the renovation of the Temple.

The Temple in those days was the worship center of God's people. The Temple design and service were the culmination of revelations God gave to Moses, David, and Solomon. It represented God's presence to the people. All sacrifices were to be offered there, and it was to be the gathering place for the annual festivals.

True godly worship was neglected through much of the people's history. Joash, seeking to follow God, understood the importance of the Temple. It needed repairs, so he commissioned the renovations.

Our portion gives the impression that the Temple priests ignored Joash's instructions. It appears that there may have been concern over the distribution of funds. Joash's original instructions regarding the allocation of funds appear to be contrary to what God had originally set down through Moses. It wasn't until after this was straightened out, that the work on the Temple began.

Good intentions do not in themselves cause good results. A job needed to get done, but ignoring the needs of God's servants, the priests, was not the way to do it.

Sometimes people's spiritual goals can blind them. A person sees a need and insists that this need take precedence over all other needs. The possibility of this happening increases during periods of neglect as in Joash's day. In times like that when someone senses a responsibility to make a difference, it is easy to think that no one else's concerns have any merit.

We need to recognize that God is involved in life more than we think. If he has impressed an issue upon someone, that doesn't mean that there aren't other issues that others are pursuing. We need to be true to God's leading in our lives, while being careful not to become an obstacle to others.

Joash's God-inspired goal was not achieved until he recognized the need to make room for other things God himself ordained. So we too need to learn the balance of being true to God, while not getting in the way of others, who also desire to be faithful to him.

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