I’m back! I know it seems like I must have gotten lost months ago on my way to writing this blog! But, after a busy summer of traveling and ministry, I’ve found my way back!
Have you ever lost something for so long that you forgot it was lost?
My mother is famous for doing this with gifts. When I was growing up my mother would buy me a Christmas gift in May or August – way too early. Then, she would hide it so I wouldn’t find it. Well, by the time Christmas arrived she’d forget she’d even bought it for me! Later, on some random day like March 17th, she’d need something from the spot where she hid my present and lo and behold! There was my gift! She’d say to me, “Merry Christmas…or… Merry Marchmess!”
I’ve been reading through 2 Kings this week and came upon a similar story but with much greater significance. After several generations of wicked Kings who did evil in the sight of the Lord came a boy named Josiah. Josiah became king at only 8 years old! Can you imagine being King of a nation at 8? No way! I can barely run a ministry of 100 teenagers as an adult! There was something different about Josiah than all the Kings before him; “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2) Josiah had a genuine desire to follow God.
Several years into his reign one of the priests was helping restore the dilapidated temple when he found a book. It wasn’t an ordinary book, it was the Torah, the book of scripture written by Moses! This scripture had been neglected and lost for generations because none of the previous Kings were concerned about following God. The priests read the book first and then presented it to King Josiah. After reading it Josiah tore his clothes and cried out to God in repentance. Immediately he called the people together and read them all the scripture of Genesis through Deuteronomy. Now the people were captured by the words of the LORD too and repented and called out for God’s mercy!
As I read this story it made me think of this Psalm, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Have you gone through a dry season lately? Perhaps you’ve been busy and distracted and haven’t been focused on God? I confess to you that last week I picked up my bible reading plan and saw that I was 43 days behind! Summer was a killer! It’s as though I too lost the book of God and had neglected it. Oh that God would renew our spirit to seek Him and obey Him!
When Josiah read the word of the LORD it penetrated straight to his heart and renewed a spirit of obedience within him. After reading God’s word he was focused on obeying. He went throughout the entire nation and destroyed all the false gods, idols, and altars that the previous kings had built. He burned and destroyed anything that was wicked and against God’s laws. He purified the nation. Without purity we are unable to see God and enjoy Him. What do you need to get rid of?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. ” (Rom. 12:1)
What do you need to get rid of? Seriously. What is entangling you? What are the false gods, the temptations, the things that get you distracted and cause your worship to shift off of Jesus? What do you need to cut out of your life? A substance? A habit? A bad relationship? A hobby? A self-focus? Whatever it is, attitude or action, if it draws you away from worshipping God and living like Jesus it’s not worth it.
Let it go. Get rid of it. Burn it. Tell them goodbye.
Josiah knew that it wasn’t enough to read God’s word and feel ashamed. He knew that he had to do what it said. Josiah made his life an example of obedience and purity. He reigned as one of the only honorable Kings in Israel’s history. This is how God described him at the end of his life; “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might.” (2 Kings 23:25)
That’s what I want to be said about me at the end of my life. There’s nothing better that could adorn my tombstone or the legacy of my life. May we return to the word of God with passion and obedience. May we love the word of God and actually live it out!
Time for a fresh start.