Thursday, October 3, 2013

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35: Each One Decides

King Josiah was so distraught after learning how he and his fathers had disobeyed God that he "rent" (tore) his clothes, but he didn't stop there.  He did something about the wrongful worship of idols.  He cleared idolatry from his kingdom and passed laws for the people to worship only the One True God. 

2 Kings 23:3-4
Amplified Bible (AMP)
The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord—to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began].
Josiah commanded the people to worship God by keeping the Passover celebration. 

2 Kings 23:21-23
Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.
22 Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel’s judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah.
23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.

King Josiah was pure and passionate in his pursuit of the Lord, and he desired that his subjects would feel the same.  He did everything in his power to make things right between his people and the God he loved, but no matter how good his intentions, each person must decide for themselves whether they will submit their heart to the Lord.
Josiah's successor, Jehoiakim, immediately turned back to performing evil in God's sight!

2 Kings 23:36 & 37
Amplified Bible (AMP)
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began his eleven-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like all his [forefathers] had done.

Josiah's good intentions had fallen away, because the next King had to decide for himself to serve the Lord.  The people of the kingdom had to decide to serve the Lord.
I believe the most effective way to lead people to the Lord is through a life lived well before the Lord in the presence of those around us.  
When stress comes through a personal attack, do we react by raising our voice in defense or do we take the high road of forgiveness?  When an angry person gets in our face, do we respond with a "soft answer?"
Proverbs 15:1
Amplified Bible (AMP) 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.

When society's norms turn against God's commands, do we bend to fit in or do we stand firm against all forms of idolatry?

Do we love the sinner by our actions or do we pridefully ostracize him/her?

Friends, people are looking for truth.  Does our walk match up to our talk?

Just the other night at work, my co-worker identified that "something was off" in my behavior.  I wasn't my "normal" self.  Friends, people watch us!  They see how we react to circumstances.   Do we actually walk, what we preach?

In this particular instance, I discerned fatigue and overwhelm in myself, which apparently was discernible to my friend/co-worker.  I apologized and asked for forgiveness.  I thanked her for calling out my behavior. 

I think about the times in which I have not walked out the things, which I know to be true.  How many people were negatively impacted by my hypocrisy? How many times have people (non-Christians and Christians alike) been affected negatively by Christians' hypocrisy?

No one can consistently live well before God and others without the empowering of His Spirit.  We ALL mess up at times.  In those times, we must seek forgiveness, and we must forgive.  Sometimes the most powerful, enduring message is a Christian asking for forgiveness from a non-Christian.  It reveals that we don't have it all together all of the time, and that we are humble enough to admit that undoneness.  Humility allows God's power to flow through us!

Josiah wanted to legislate love for God, as well as, live it out, but we can't force someone to accept Jesus.  Each one decides!

What do you decide?


Laure Covert said...

Yes! Living out what we talk about. I love this.

Beautiful Grace said...

My friend, Laure,

Thank you for taking the time to read and for your encouragement!

I notice the post is out of alignment with scripture references. I wonder if my phone is distorting the post???? I'll need to look at it on my desktop computer.