We are ‘ACCOUNTABLE’ for ALL our ACTIONS & INACTIONS: "Now it was so, by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, that the priests had not repaired the damages of the temple. So King Jehoash called Jehoiada the priest and the other priests, and said to them, "Why have you not repaired the damages of the temple? Now therefore, do not take more money from your constituency, but deliver it for repairing the damages of the temple." And the priests agreed that they would neither receive more money from the people, nor repair the damages of the temple." (2 Kings 12:6-8)
King Jehoash was one of the few kings reigning from Jerusalem who was raised up in the family of a priest. This priest Jehoiada was also his counselor, and the husband of Jehosheba who had rescued him from sure death in the hands of Athaliah earlier (11:2; 2 Chron. 22:11). In fact, the priest Jehoiada gave the king Jehoash solid instructions from God’s Word (11:12) and taught him both to obey and respect it, so "Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (12:2).
It is therefore natural that King Jehoash was concerned with the welfare of God’s temple in Jerusalem, and he showed remarkable leadership in repairing and renewing the temple, which had fallen into ruin (12:1–8). This temple was now over 140 years old, hence natural deterioration could be expected. An idol-worshiping nation of Israel had allowed the temple to deteriorate! However, this temple had also been badly damaged by Athaliah and her sons (see 2 Chr. 24:7), and had suffered neglect during the years of Athaliah’s rule. When we do not love God, we neglect the things that are important to God!
So, King Jehoash proposed that the revenue of the temple be used to refurbish the temple (see similar action in Neh. 10:32). However, a lagging work schedule and a clear lack of accountability caused the king to take up this matter directly in his own hands. When no repairs had been made by his 23rd year of reign, King Jehoash called the priest Jehoiada and the other priests and announced a new plan for collecting the money and repairing the temple. The priests would no longer collect the funds directly, nor would they supervise the repairs on the temple (v. 7). Instead, a chest with a hole in its lid was to be placed at the right side of the altar to receive money for the restoration of the temple. This money chest made the offering process more visible and the money was more efficiently put into the hands of those responsible for the repairs. The people responded generously and gave freely and willingly (2 Chr. 24:10), so the work proceeded and was soon completed (12:11-12; 2 Chr. 24:11–13).
Let us understand that accountability involves far more than simply telling someone what to do and then coming back later to see if instructions have been carried out. It means that the leader commits to overseeing the workers’ performance and making sure that the work is completed. The manner in which King Jehoash dealt with the priests concerning temple repairs provides us with some useful pointers in accountability:
- He delegated specific responsibilities to the priests with clear instructions concerning the collection and use of money (12:4–5).
- He personally confronted the priests, including their leader, Jehoiada, for their non-performance (12:7).
- He suggested a course of remedial action (12:7–8) and then oversaw the implementation of an alternative solution to the problem (12:9–12).