I'm thinking that you are going to like today's topic. It's not so ugh! But, yesterday's message to us has been one that's close to my heart for over a year. My "outer court" is coming under His authority and it's worth every drop of sweat and every carrot. Except cooked ones, because I don't eat cooked carrots.
We'll be in 2 Kings 22 if you want to have your Bible open to it. As you know, I don't always give you the entire text, so I encourage you to go and read the whole context of everything we ever talk about. Makes for some good readin'!
2 Kings 22
The first verse right out of the hat is amazing:
"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years."
I have an eight year old and I'm thinking that even though I adore her, there's no way she'd make for a good Queen right now!
Good thing is this: "He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left."
Now, David was not is father-father, but his "father" in the sense that Josiah came from the blood line of David. I guess it's easier than saying "...and walked in all the ways of his great-great-great-great-great grandfather David." Saves times, you see.
He was a good guy and saw that there was some serious trouble with the natives. Apparently the temple had been neglected and needed some attention. (sidebar, we've gone back in time a bit. We're 70 years out from the building of the temple. Yesterday we were further down the time line, but I wanted to post about Hezekiah because, well, I wanted to.)
So, Josiah sends his secretary, Shaphan, to go check it out, get the money, and start repairing the temple. And as any good servant of a King would do...he did.
Look at verse eight and see if you don't find this, well, kind of sad and unbelievable at the same time.
"Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, 'I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.' He gave it to Shaphan who read it."
Did they forget where it was? Was the high priest looking through a closet and was like, "What's this? Ooohhhh, I heard about this. Hey Shaphan! I found the Book of the Law! You might want to take a look!"
I just wonder if the actual state of the temple and the priests was so bad that they had forgotten about the Book of the Law and then just happened upon it during some spring cleaning. (Which, if you are wondering what the Book of the Law is. It is the first 5 books in your Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch.)
Shaphan takes The Book to the king and began reading it to Josiah. At this time, Josiah is 26 years old. Some maturity under his belt. Out of the awkward geeky teen stage. Through the rowdy early 20's stage. Pert near a grown man. He was fully King and knew that his responsibility was to take care of the temple.
When Shaphan read The Book to Josiah "...he tore his robes." Now, we don't go around tearing our clothes when things are read to us, but in his day, the tearing of the robes was a sign for great grief. It would have been obvious to those watching that Josiah was heartbroken or grieved because the people of God had gone so far off course. Josiah knew this was not good.
He inquired a prophetess who gave him a message from the Lord. It was not good, BUT, and there is always a but with God, BUT, God said to the King,
"Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place
and its people...I have heard you."
Then God promised him that he would not see the bad stuff coming to the people of Israel.
Josiah then had The Book read in front of all the people and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord - "to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his should..and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant."
You really have to go read 2 Kings 23 because you're going to see a whoopin' up on all things evil and see what Josiah did to consecrate the people of God! It is amazing!
Here's the deal...is "The Book" for you something that you might find lying around every now and then? Do you brush the dust off the Bible when you pick it up? Or, is the Word of God treasured by you so much that it is wearing out around the pages? I'm just askin'.
When Josiah found The Book of the Law he went in 100% to make sure that his life and the life of his nation rested upon that Word. He gave heart and soul to the promises of God and commands of God to the point that he ransacked anything that was set up in opposition to the Word.
What about us? Are we so committed to Jesus and to His word that our first priority is to be obedient? Do we have the kind of relationship with Jesus that His Word inspires us to greatness and humility? Do we eat of His Word in such a way that our lives are ransacked with Truth?
I pray that we do not neglect the Word of the Lord. It's not just about rules and regulations, it's about an organic, living, breathing relationship with the Almighty who has chosen to make himself known and dwell IN us!
Remember that Jesus said the Holy Spirit will teach us everything (see John 16:12) and if we remain in Jesus and His words in us we will bear much fruit, meaning our lives will be a life that shows we know Jesus! Furthermore, He says that if His words remain in us we can ask Him for anything and He will give it!
The great thing is, the more we're in His word and in a relationship with Him, the more our hearts and minds will be like His and when we ask for stuff, it will be in accordance to His will.
"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God...We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught us by the
Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." 1 Corinthians 2:10, 12
If you have the Spirit of Christ in you and you are feasting on His Word, then you have just made room in your heart for the Spirit to do what He does best...wield the Sword of the Word in you.
He will teach you as you read the Word.
He will guide you as you study the Scripture.
He will give you insight and understanding.
Colossians says that Jesus holds the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that we have been rooted and built up in Him. We have been given all the fullness of the Deity who is head over every power and authority.
In your very being is everything you could ever need to know found in the Spirit of Christ!
Do you believe?
Do you have questions? Ask Him.
Are you struggling with a big decision? Take it to Him.
Are you dealing with a difficult person? Talk to Him about it.
In Jesus is all the wisdom and knowledge we will ever need. Will He guide and teach you? YES!
We have to be people of the Word of Christ. In those pages we find life, freedom, knowledge, wisdom, faith, and a hope for the future.
Will you be like Josiah and do whatever it takes to make sure the Word of the Lord is back in it's rightful position?
Will you "feed" your Temple?
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the
glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11