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The King’s Treasure Chest

Key References: 2 Kings 12:1-16; 2 Chronicles 24:1-14; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 50, pp. 525-529; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 5, pp. 115-118; Our Beliefs, nos. 21, 14, 12

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“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV).

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We reflect God’s love when we give offerings for the care of our church building.

You may have heard countless offering appeals and pleas for more money to support the church budget. Well, this Bible story is about an offering appeal. The building of the Temple was in a state of utter disrepair. How did this congregation respond?

Close your eyes and imagine you are a guard in the king’s marble palace. Wandering down the halls of the palace, you see a little boy in his daddy’s royal robes: cool, flowing purple satin with white mink cuffs that hang down nearly to the boy’s knees. His gold crown sits crookedly on his head. This was his father’s, too. And yet he is king, so no one dares laugh at him. Beside him walks his uncle Jehoiada, the high priest of the Temple. Jehoiada is like a father to King Joash, and you can sense their closeness in the clasp of their hands as they come toward the empty throne, where just yesterday the boy sat for the very first time.

They have come from the famous Jerusalem Temple, which sits next door. It is impressive, even in comparison with the palace. But it is in serious disrepair. The paint is chipped, the stones cracked, the red carpets threadbare.

Little King Joash struggles to get up onto the bench of the golden throne, but finally, with the help of his uncle Jehoiada, he settles in, his short legs dangling in front of him, feet crossed at the ankles.

So this is the new king! Fortunately, his uncle is his closest advisor and will be there to explain as much of the royal business as possible, guiding him in his decisions. You feel certain that because of the high priest’s influence, the worship of God will always come first.

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It is 23 years later. You are an older guard now. The handsome young man who makes his way to the throne for business is tall and fits his royal robes. He has called together the priests and Levites for a special meeting. The topic for today is the Temple. “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple?” King Joash asks. “Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple” (2 Kings 12:7). He has recently realized that the Temple tax the priests collect isn’t being used for Temple upkeep. The Temple is in such disrepair that it is an embarrassment to everyone who comes there.

Joash becomes impatient and asks his uncle Jehoiada, who remains his closest aide, to help him. He wants Temple offerings collected in a special offering chest, and he wants workmen hired to make the necessary repairs.

A large wooden trunk is brought to the entrance of the formerly majestic, marble Temple, and placed right behind a particularly run-down spot. The marble is scuffed and worn with bowl-shaped indentations, from millions of feet scuffing sand across the surface, wearing the stone away. A priest bends over the trunk to inspect it with a nod. He runs his hand across a hole big enough for shekels of silver and jewelry to be put into it. The trunk will hold whatever gifts the people may bring to help restore the Temple to its original luster.

To everyone’s delight, the offerings and gifts begin to stream in. Everyone is excited about restoring the Temple! At the end of every day, the Levites bring the trunk into the Temple to empty it and count the money under the supervision of the king’s secretary. The next morning it is hauled back to its spot at the entrance. It doesn’t take long to collect a large sum of money.

At last work begins on the longneglected Temple. Masons, stonecutters, carpenters, and bronze and iron workers are hired. When the Temple is beautiful once more, there is still money enough to replace the silver and gold bowls and other items that Joash’s wicked grandmother stole for her worship of Baal. The marble gleams milk-white again, with no green streaks. The brand-new golden candlesticks reflect the candlelight in a warm glow. The Temple is reopened, and Temple services resume. Everyone comes to see how their offerings have been invested. They are content and grateful that they have had a part in taking care of the Temple of God.