Intro. Joash was just 7 years old when he began his reign in Jerusalem. It was part of a plot by the Godly priest Jehoiada to wrest the throne from that wicked queen Athalia. During her reign her sons had broken the temple of the Lord and taken the holy vessels and put them in the temple of Baal. Little Joash ordered the temple to be restored and we are told that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all of the days of Jehoiada the priest. That should set off the alarm bells in our brain, for it infers that things changed after the death of Jehoiada, and indeed they did, for we read that after the death of Jehoiada they forsook the house of the Lord, and they began to worship Ashtoreth, the goddess of pornography and other idols. God sent prophets to them to turn them back to the Lord, however they would not listen to them. It is here that we read:
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who said unto them, Thus saith God, Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD? You cannot prosper because you have forsaken the Lord and now He will forsake you.
I. FORSAKEN BY GOD, I CANNOT THINK OF A MORE HORRIBLE FATE.
A. We receive so many things from God daily that we do not even think about, but just take them for granted.
1. When King Belshazzar had ordered the gold cups that his grandfather had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem to be brought into the dining hall that they might drink their wine out of those cups, they began to praise the gods of gold and silver.
2. Suddenly they sobered up very quickly as a hand began to write a cryptic message on the plastered wall.
3. When Daniel was finally brought in to interpret the message he rebuked the king for his blasphemy in desecrating the vessels that had been dedicated to the service of God. As Daniel rebuked him he said, "You praised the gods of gold and silver, but the very God in whose hand your breath is, you have not glorified.
4. Take a deep breath. You should thank God for that ability to do so. Some people can't take a deep breath with going into coughing spasms. Who do you think gave you that proper mixture of gases to breathe? 79 parts of Nitrogen, and 20 parts of oxygen is the perfect combination to sustain life.
B. We are dependant upon God for our very life, He is under no obligation to continue to sustain our lives. At any moment He could forsake you and it would be all over.
C. I think of how God protects us from so many dangers of which we are not even aware.
1. When we get to heaven it will be interesting to find out how many times our lives were in great jeopardy and we didn't even know it. Perhaps he caused some delay that disturbed us very much at the time, but we will find that had He not delayed us we could have been in a serious accident.
D. The Lord had told King Asa through the prophet, "The Lord is with you if you will be with Him and if you seek Him, He will be found of you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you."
II. JOASH HAD FORSAKEN THE LORD AND HAD BEGUN TO WORSHIP OTHER GODS.
A. He had done many wonderful things for the Lord, in his early years. He had restored the temple and the temple worship.
B. Now he has turned his back on God and the temple of God and has begun to walk in the ways of the heathen.
1. God said to the prophet Ezekiel:
When a righteous man turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I cause him to fall, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered.
2. The issue is not where you were with the Lord twenty years ago, ten years ago, but where are you with the Lord today?
3. Not, what you did for the Lord twenty years ago, but what are you doing for the Lord today?
C. When Joash had forsaken the Lord the Lord sent prophets to warn him of his folly, when Zechariah, who was the son of Jehoiada the Godly priest who had brought him to the throne, and for so many years had such a Godly influence on him, came with a warning from God, Joash ordered him to be stoned to death.
III. BECAUSE JOASH HAD FORSAKEN THE LORD, NOW THE LORD HAS FORSAKEN HIM.
A. God had been protecting the nation from their enemies. They were not aware that it was God who had been protecting them.
B. God has now removed His hand of protection and the Syrians attacked Jerusalem.
1. Because God had forsaken their defense, the Syrians destroyed the princes and the Syrians sent the treasures of the city back to Damascus.
2. We read that the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.
C. God has been watching over our nation and has been protecting us for many years, however, we have forsaken the Lord and it is only a matter of time until we see the disastrous consequences of our forsaking Him.
IV. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT BEING FORSAKEN BY GOD, I CANNOT HELP BUT THINK OF THE CRY OF JESUS FROM THE CROSS, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?"
A. Sin is such a hideous thing and has such horrible consequences.
1. Satan has sought to paint sin as something beautiful, desirable.
2. He has put a sugar coating over a very bitter pill and has enticed many people to swallow it.
B. The ultimate consequence of sin is separation from God, which is another way of saying forsaken by God.
1. The prophet Isaiah said:
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that He cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.
2. Note, it is not that God cannot hear, He will not hear.
3. Why? Because your sins have separated you from Him.
C. We are told concerning Jesus, "That God laid on Him the iniquities of us all." This is what prompted the cry, "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?"
1. There on the cross, all your sins were laid on Him.
2. He became the sacrificial offering for your sins.
3. Forget the debate as to who killed Jesus, the Jews or the Romans. I killed Him, He died because of my sins.
4. Because He was forsaken by the Father for my sins, I need never to be forsaken by God.
5. Because He cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" I will never have to echo that cry. Christ has for sin atonement made, What a wonderful Savior, We are redeemed, the price is paid, What a wonderful Savior. What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus, What a wonderful Savior, is Jesus my Lord.
D. Some of you today like Joash, have forsaken God. It is possible that, as yet, you have not experienced the consequences of your folly. But a day of crisis will come and when you call on God, you will find that He will turn a deaf ear to your cry. It is not that He cannot hear, It is that He will not hear. It is then that you will understand the horror of what it means to be forsaken by God.
Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; return to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
E. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "For God said: At an acceptable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. Behold now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation."