Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christians Can Learn from King Josiah (2 Chronicles 34-35)

"Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and walked in the ways of David his father, and didn't turn aside to the right hand or to the left."-2 Chronicles 34:1-2, World English Bible

King Josiah was one of the few kings who did what was right in the eyes of God. He remained faithful all of his days, unlike his father King Amon and grandfather, King Manasseh. The Bible tells us that it wasn't until King Josiah was sixteen that he started to search for his God. He instantly started destroying all the high places, sacred poles, images and statues that his father Amon must have put up, for Manasseh had taken them down after his conversion. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13, 15; 34:3-5) Josiah even went even further, going into the northern kingdom of Israel, eradicating Baal worship from a country that wasn't even his.-2 Chronicles 34:6-7

Did all of this prove to be enough for Josiah, the sixteen year old king? No. Ten years later, after false worship was no longer in the land, Josiah set out to do repair work on the temple. Being led by three men, Shaphan, Maaseiah, and Joah, repairs were started. While all of this was going on, something truly magnificent was found! The original book of the Law written by the hand of Moses! (2 Chronicles 34:8-14) The book of the Law was read to King Josiah. How did he react?-2 Chronicles 34:18

The Bible says that Josiah "tore his clothes". (2 Chronicles 34:19) In those times, tearing ones clothes was a sign of extreme distress. A faithful man named Jephthah tore his clothes when he realized that he had to give his daughter to Jehovah's service after making a vow. He did this because this was his only child--a sad time indeed for this man. (Judges 11:30-31, 34-35) What was in the book of the Law that tore at Josiah's heart?

We do not know what King Josiah heard that touched him so deeply. He did, though, immediately send people to pray to God on his behalf about the sins of the people. His words were "Go you, inquire of Yahweh for me...for great is the wrath of Yahweh that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Yahweh, to do according to all that is written in this book." (2 Chronicles 34:21, WEB) What was Jehovah's answer to this? He told them of the coming "calamity" that was to befall Judah--the fall of the country to Babylon--that was to come later. God was going to spare the country now because of the faith of Josiah and his repentance for not keeping the entire Law.-2 Chronicles 34:24, 27-28

After this, Josiah made a Covenant to follow Jehovah all the days of his life. He would keep all of his commandments, testimonies, and regulations. He then turned his attention towards the peoples of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. He charged them to repent, which they did, and then removed all of the detestable things out of the rest of Israel.-2 Chronicles 34:32-33

Josiah then proceeded to hold a Passover on Nisan 14, the anniversary of the day the angel of death flew over Egypt, killing the firstborn, and of the Exodus. They sacrificed thousands of animals to God being contributed from all sorts of people. This turned out to be the biggest Passover in hundreds of years! (2 Chronicles 35:1, 7-9, 17-18) What faith King Josiah had! What lesson is there for us today?-Romans 15:4

If you were one of few people who followed the true God today, the rest were scattered and few, and you followed the commandments in the Bible--go to church, preach, etc. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 28:19-20) and then found out there was more then just that, would you do it? Remember, you are one of the only people in your area that worships God. Would you perhaps feel that maybe you were already doing enough? If you found out that God required more, could you get the attitude that perhaps since you were the only one serving God, that was enough?

Sadly, that is the view of many today. They think that going to church and talking about God, while good, is enough. God requires more.

Our conduct has to be that befitting Christians. (1 Peter 2:12) Many people feel that after we turn around, we can continue doing what we want to do. That is not the way that it is. Paul wrote: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2) Can we continue to sin just because we are saved? Absolutely not! We have to learn to walk by spirit. If we do, we will carry out no fleshly desire at all. (Galatians 5:16) Continuing to sin willfully after repentance will mean that we are "trampl[ing] upon the Son of God", viewing as "ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which [we were] sanctified", and "insult[ing] the spirit."-Hebrews 10:26, 29

There are certain things that a Christian cannot do. Practice homosexuality, murder, be deceitful, malicious, slanderers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, arrogant, disobedient to parents, without understanding, be closed to any agreement, merciless, fornicators, greedy, extortioners, idolaters. We cannot practice spiritism, the occult, witchcraft, be superstitious, be jealous, have fits of anger, divide, get drunk, have wild parties, and things like these. (Romans 1:26-31; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; Galatians 5:20-21) When we find out that there is more things that God requires of us then just going to church and preaching, we need to be like King Josiah and do it. He had already done a lot in service to God but when he found more was needed, he did it.

Another important thing to do is watch our appearance. Both Paul and Peter speak of how a Christian's appearance should be. Paul says, "Likewise, I desire the women (and all Christians, men and women) to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb." Peter says, "Do not let your adornment be that of the external braiding of the hair and of the putting on of gold ornaments or the wearing of outer garments." (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3) Why would they say all of this?

Paul and Peter are telling us that looking good is not what is important for a Christian. We shouldn't use our outward appearances to impress people. Appearances sure do not impress God. (1 Samuel 16:7) What is important is what type of people Christians are on the inside. Paul and Peter conclude by telling us to adorn ourselves "in the way that befits women [and all Christians] professing to reverence God, namely, through good works." Peter concludes his thought with: "Let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit." (1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 3:4) Who we are on the inside and the way we conduct ourselves is what should impress people who are not Christian. That is what is truly important. That is what we need to groom.

Last, when doing more, we should follow the advice in the Bible to do all we can for other people. (Galatians 6:2) We are supposed to help other people, Christians and non-Christians alike.-Galatians 6:10

The most important point, though, is how we care for a certain temple today. We cannot do repair work on the actual temple like Josiah did. However, we do have a temple that we can constantly "repair", as it were. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 talks of the temple of your body. This is one temple that needs to be taken constant care of. Jesus said, "Not what enters into his mouth defiles a man; but it is what proceeds out of his mouth that defiles him." (Matthew 15:11) We are to be careful of how we talk because we do not want to "defile" God's temple. Being called a temple shows the importance of our Christian Way.

There is much embodied in the Christian way of life. When we learn what God truly expects of a Christian, we should strive to do it. Remember, God put the account of King Josiah in the Bible for a reason. We need to learn from it, use it in our lives. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Then we can truly be a holy temple.