Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reading about King Josiah

" Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant. (v 3)
I have been reading in the books of the Kings and I love the stories there, the history, causes and effects, actions and consequences, seeing God in His power, love and compassion,and even in His wrath. We need to see all the sides of God. HOW RICH for us today! Look at action and the consequence of young King Josiah here: he made a covenant to follow the Lord with all his heart and soul. AND ALL THE PEOPLE TOOK A STAND FOR THE COVENANT! Leadership, good or bad causes people to follow. As parents, church leaders, whatever position we have in our jobs, whatever level of leadership, people are watching and will follow our example. Are we causing people to TAKE A STAND FOR THE COVENANT which we have made with the Lord?
The chapter goes on to tell of how King Josiah really went after and destroyed all that had been allowed to be corrupted and defiled in the land when his own father was the king. It was a huge endeavor, but he kept on until he was finished. THEN he commanded “Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” I LOVE THIS NEXT VERSE!!! 22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. 2 I am imagining an incredible celebration as I think of this. We are studying the book of Mark in our morning worship service. Last Sunday was from Chapter 14: Jesus preparing to celebrate His last Passover with his disciples. To really examine what Passover was all about, beyond the 10th plague in Moses' day, we watched a JEWS FOR JESUS video explaining the entire tradition of Passover and how the very traditions of Passover point the way to JESUS. This video is a bit old,evidenced by the style of dress, but JESUS IN THE PASSOVER is rich with knowledge for we Gentiles of who we are in Jesus. David Brickner's teaching is fascinating and well worth the 40 minutes it takes to watch . I encourage you to maybe save it for later, but watch the video! But back to Josiah..........."such a Passover" As those people celebrated God's deliverance and His providence for them, "such a Passover had never been held since the days of the judges......." As they went over the traditions, one by one, the questions, the scriptures, commemorating God's faithfulness and His promise of Messiah, they reconnected with God their Heavenly Father, and took a stand for the Covenant. Scripture goes on to tell of, of Josiah (and this is why I LOVE the name Josiah so much) 25 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, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.

WHAT A TESTIMONY!!! And yet, God didn't just let him coast , or rest on his laurels, or rule comfortably from his palace. God was still showing His wrath and even though Josiah's story was that of a Godly King, actions have consequences.

26 Nevertheless the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the LORD said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” 28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him. 30 Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.

Josiah died in battle; his son took his place and returned right back to doing evil in the sight of the Lord. It makes me marvel at how quickly people can react positively to the Lord and then just as quickly react with evil and turn away from Him. These people did it, other stories from Scripture share how common this is........... and we see it in modern America, we see it in our churches, we see it in ourselves. I see it in me. So strong and so focused one minute, hour, day, week, maybe month or year, on SERVING MY GOD, and then seemingly in an instant, sidetracked or distracted, or self -centered: hence disobedient and needing to once again be drawn to repentance and to asking for forgiveness. God, knowing that we would be a fickle, faltering -in-our-faith creation, STILL made a Plan to send Jesus to be Messiah, Redeemer, Immanuel. Jesus came, obedient even unto death for these sinful people and for US, for ........me.
"while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans reminds us. A freind just shared from a meeting in Toronto last night with speaker Bill Johnson. His words tie all of my thoughts together.
"Hosting the Presence" was his message. " Hosting His presence requires intimacy but not intimacy for the sake of ministry but for relationship, is what he said. " When the children of Israel took a stand for the Covenant, perhaps they did it too much for show, or under peer pressure , or with good intentions, but not in a way which caused them to move closer to God and stay there. Those people, WE today, needed/ need to draw close to God for the sake of drawing close to God, not so we can talk about it, but so we can be LIVING IN IT. An awesome Passover celebration quicky lost its awesomeness when the people reverted to their evil ways. Any special session of meetings here in 2010 can be awesome, draw people to salvation, deeper committments to the Lord, result in glorious manifestations of God's presence and power, but if we do not go after intimacy with God for the sake of our relationships WITH GOD, it will quickly fade away. What God did for the people in the Old Testament days was amazing. What God did for people in the New Testament was even more so. What He offers us NOW in that we can learn from those experiences , partake in ALL of them and have an incredible intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, that is magnitudes of amazing. he hymn writer Alber Brumley said it so well, "He loved me 'ere I knew Him and ALL my love is due Him! He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flow"
When the Temple was destroyed in about 70 AD, the sacrifing of lambs for Passover ceased. (All sacrificing for all occasions) There was no longer a place for sacrifice to take place. That was about one genereation after THE LAMB was sacrificed, the last sacrifice needed for bloodshed to cover and atone for our sins. Jesus paid it all. That is more than reason for us to celebrate "such a Passover" ourselves. "The new Covenant" which Jesus brought with His blood is the Covenant for which it should now be said "All the people took a stand for the Covenant. " I want to live in this statement. I want to be seen living in it, I want to talk about it, but I want my words to reflect how I live.

3 comments:

His Hands His Feet Today said...

Preach it sister!!!!!!!!!!!

Laurel said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

:) :) :)

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

Beautifully said!

May God move the hearts of His people to be covenant people!

I love you!
Jill