Saturday, August 04, 2012


"Josiah was eight years old when he became king and reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah; [she was] from Bozkath.  He did what was right in the Lord's sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left." (2 Kings 22:1, 2 HCSB)

We live in dark, desperate, demonic days. Still, there have been dark days before when God has visited His people with revival. All He looks for is an open heart He can enter. He will then transform that life and can use them as a spark to ignite a flame.

Josiah was an example of this. As we look at the text, we can see the difference that one person sold out to God can make.  My prayer is that we will hear the cry to “Return to God!” from the pages of His Word.

Notice first that there is THE RIGHTEOUS THRONE.

"Josiah was eight years old when he became king and reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah; [she was] from Bozkath.  He did what was right in the Lord's sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left." (2 Kings 22:1, 2 HCSB)

Josiah was only eight years old when crowned king, but “eight is enough.” From the outset, he inclined his heart toward God and purposed to establish his reign in righteousness. As evil rulers brought sinful declension, a righteous ruler brought spiritual dynamics.

Reflecting on Josiah’s age, we must acknowledge the indisputable fact that often young people's hearts are more responsive to God than the aged. If someone isn’t saved before they get out of High School, the odds are great that they will never be converted. It isn't impossible for a senior adult to be saved--for with God all things are possible--but, it is improbable. That is why we must focus on children and student ministries! Even among the saved, why is it that we so often lose our spiritual passion, as our physical drive diminishes? I know that isn’t universally so.  Some who are reading these words do so out of zeal for God's Word that abides despite their advanced years.  But for those who are in that case, there are many more that have just settled down and stopped climbing.  I mean--we've heard it all before!  Don't let that happen to you.  I pray that I die first!

In fact, one of the chief things God calls us to do as we "mature" is to encourage and equip our young people.  They need mentors.  This is  discipleship.  The last time I checked, the Great Commission had not been revoked!  In many ways, my generation has failed to pass on the torch of truth.  Let us dig through the ashes of an aged, apathetic heart and find a hot coal buried.  If you are saved, there is one.  Pray the Holy Spirit breathe on it, and then find a few small twigs you can kindle a fire with.  The young people around us will impact the world significantly--for good or evil.  God used a child named Josiah to lead a nation back to the Lord.  His voice, though still going through the vacillations of puberty, yet spoke with spiritual clarity, "Return to God!."

From the righteous throne came the impetus for THE REPAIRED TEMPLE

"In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent the court secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord's temple, saying,  'Go up to Hilkiah the high priest so that he may total up the money brought into the Lord's temple-[the money] the doorkeepers have collected from the people.  It is to be put into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversee the Lord's temple. They [in turn] are to give it to the workmen in the Lord's temple to repair the damage.  [They are to give it] to the carpenters, builders, and masons to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the temple.  But no accounting is to be required from them for the money put into their hands since they work with integrity.'" (2 Kings 22:3-7 HCSB)

The neglect of the house of God was a clear indicator of the backsliding of God’s people. When we begin to lose the zeal for worship, alarm bells should go off.  No hunger for the Word of God; no thirst for the worship of God--this marks a sick soul.  Time and again, I have seen people’s spiritual life start spiraling downward at this point.  Like an old house, neglected for years, run down and near falling down, repair is urgent if the church is to be restored to its beauty.

Revival brings repair!  Once again the worship of God becomes a priority. This laser-like focus on God is fundamental to fixing up a deteriorating church.

What is revival, but our response to the cry to return to God?

We have witnessed the righteous throne and the repaired temple.  Next, we see THE REFORMATION TRUTH.

"Hilkiah the high priest told Shaphan the court secretary, 'I have found the book of the law in the Lord's temple,' and he gave the book to Shaphan, who read it.

Then Shaphan the court secretary went to the king and reported, 'Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the temple and have put it into the hand of those doing the work-those who oversee the Lord's temple.'  Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, 'Hilkiah the priest has given me a book,' and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king." (2 Kings 22:8-10 HCSB)

Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of Your words gives light.” In those dark days, the light of truth brought the dawn of hope and the end of the long night of sin.

Likewise, it was the Word of God that brought the world out of the dark ages in the revival we call the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther searched the Scriptures and God brought light to his heart.

God's modus operandi has not changed.  The blessed Book shows the way to return to God.

The righteous throne led to the repaired temple where they discovered reformation truth.  Hearing those searing Scriptures produced THE REPENTANT TEARS.

"When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.  Then he commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king's servant Asaiah:  'Go and inquire of the Lord for me, the people, and all Judah about the instruction in this book that has been found. For great is the Lord's wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.'

So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her.

She said to them, 'This is what the Lord God of Israel says, "Say to the man who sent you to Me:  This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, [fulfilling] all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read,  because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the work of their hands. My wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.  Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard,  because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you-[this is] the Lord's declaration-  therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.'"

Then they reported to the king." (2 Kings 22:11-20 HCSB)

Brokenness brought blessedness. It is always in that order--not mere sorrow over the consequences of sin, but over the condition of sin. There is a difference you know. The prisons are full of people who are sorry for their crimes.  Their sorrow is not repentance for their sin, but remorse for their situation.  They grieve that they are behind bars, but set them free and many return to a life of crime.  So, I have seen people suffer the consequences of rebellion against God, who appeared quite contrite, but as soon as they were freed from the burden, they returned to their evil ways.

“For godly sorrow produces repentance” (2 Cor. 7:10). This is a heart that doesn't just want relief from their situation, but repentance from their sin.  The path that leads us to return to God is paved with tears--the travail of a heart that has encountered a Holy Lord in His Holy Word.  The wet eyes flow from a cold heart, melted by the torch of truth.

The return to God results in THE RESTORED TESTIMONY.

"So the king sent [messengers], and they gathered all the elders of Jerusalem and Judah to him.  Then the king went to the Lord's temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets-all the people from the youngest to the oldest. As they listened, he read all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord's temple.  Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep His commands, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant." (2 Kings 23:1-3 HCSB)

Once again, the people of God had a message to proclaim. It is backed by the evidence of transformed lives.  The testimony of the lips must always be supported by the testimony of the life to have any credibility. That’s one reason the world mocks us.  The church, in an un-revived state is professing to be alive while it is truly dead (see Rev.3:1).  That is a sham.

If we’ve damaged our credibility through moral failure, it is time to have it restored through renewed obedience. It is time to take a sand for the covenant. Ours is not the old covenant of law, but the new covenant of grace.  More than making demands on us, it furnishes the dynamic within us.  A return to God will bring a restored testimony.

"Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the Lord's temple all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole heavenly host. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel.  Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and the whole heavenly host.  He brought out the Asherah pole from the Lord's temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.  He also tore down the houses of the male cult prostitutes that were in the Lord's temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah.

Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate).  The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.

He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or daughter pass through the fire to Molech.  He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. [They had been] at the entrance of the Lord's temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech the court official, and he burned up the chariots of the sun.

The king tore down the altars that were on the roof-Ahaz's upper chamber that the kings of Judah had made-and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the Lord's temple. Then he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley.  The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the detestable idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites.  He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones.

He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made. Then he burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah.  As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent [someone] to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who proclaimed these things.  Then he said, 'What is this monument I see?'

The men of the city told him, 'It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel.'

So he said, 'Let him rest. Don't let anyone disturb his bones.' So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.

Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the Lord]. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel.  He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

The king commanded all the people, 'Keep the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant.'  No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah.  But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem.

In addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord's temple.  Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.

In spite of all that, the Lord did not turn from the fury of His great burning anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had provoked Him with.  For the Lord had said, 'I will also remove Judah from My sight just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, 'My name will be there.'"" (2 Kings 23:4-27 HCSB)

When God comes in the devil must go. If there is true revival a moral clean up is going to occur. The stench of sin must be washed away, that the sweet savor of sanctification might pervade. We speak about revival in preaching, may even seek revival in prayer, but until we are willing to turn from our wicked ways we will not see revival in power. The roadblock of sin must be broken down so we can return to God.


"The rest of the events of Josiah's [reign], along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah's Kings.  During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched up to [help] the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. King Josiah went to confront him, and at Megiddo when Neco saw him he killed him.  From Megiddo his servants carried his dead body in a chariot, brought him into Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the common people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father." (2 Kings 23:28-30 HCSB)

His earthly mission accomplished, Josiah could rest in peace. This was part of God's mercy to a faithful servant. He would not have to witness the judgment that was coming on the nation. This revival slowed the wheels of judgment from turning, but it did not stop  their inexorable movement.

The curse of sin is a terminal cancer that has plagued the world. It will not be finally cured until the creation of new heavens and a new earth. But it can be put into remission. That’s what revival does. At least Josiah was spared the sorrowful sight of God’s wrath and there will be a generation of saints who will be removed by the rapture before the judgment of the tribulation begins.  I believe they will see a wondrous revival that will complete the Bride and make her ready for the Wedding with the Lamb.

Josiah was only one man, but his life made a difference.  What about us?  Will we pray and work for righteous leadership in the church and nation? Will we invest in our children? Will we maintain our passion for God in worship? Will we abide in the Word of God? Will we have a broken and contrite heart over sin? Will we renew our vows to God? Will we remove the rubbish of the world? Only then will we return to God and experience His hand in revival.

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