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Josiah and the WORD of the LORD. 2 Kings 22-23
Josiah and the Word of the LORD
2 Kings 22-23

This morning I am going to walk you through 2 Kings 22.

In this passage we are introduced to Israel's best king- Josiah-- for in 2 Kings 23:25 it says of him "Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him."

-Josiah was born in 641 B.C.
-When Josiah born the Northern Kingdom of Israel was no more (having been exiled by the Assyrians in 721 BC)
-Within 25 years of his death Judah (over which he reigned) was conquered by the Babylonians (the nation then spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon)
-He father and grandfather were incredibly wicked and violent men
-Though he had every "environmental/social reason" for following in his father and grandfathers steps, he followed God with a passion and zeal that few have ever shown.
-A really cool thing is this: He became king at age 8

READ 2 Kings 22 -noting that chapter 22-23 revolve around this one thing: The discovery of the previously discarded and forgotten Word of God ***

LESSONS, OBSERVATIONS, PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT

1. The younger a person when they start following Christ, the better

We to introduce our children to Christ as soon as we can. Seeking to instruct them in the ways of God.

Josiah was 8 when he became king (Joash was 7). He got really serious about following God when he was 26, but the wording of the text seems to indicate that from his earliest days, following the Lord was in his heart.

According to God's mercy, one can come into right relationship with God - through Christ alone- at any age-- but to seriously follow God from ones youth will save one from much trouble and pain that our sin gets us into-- for living righteously spares us of much self inflicted misery.


2. Focus and single minded devotion is necessary when it comes to following Christ

Note 2 Kings 22:2 "...he did not turn aside to the right or to the left."

This is to mark us. We are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith!

Our prayer: Help me to stay faithful to you Jesus

3. Of every person, God - who is the judge of all people- makes this evaluation "They have done right/evil in my sight"

Key phrase in 1 and 2 Kings is "And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD" or "And he did what was evil in the eyes of the LORD

Such a statement is not meant to imply that one is saved by works-- for salvation is by faith alone and by grace alone. However, what it is saying is that God knows every one of us. He knows all about our lives and as the JUDGE, he evaluates and weighs what we do, think, and how we live.

The call of course is to seek to walk rightly before God-- taking care to approach Him as his terms- ultimately entrusting ourselves into the arms of Christ who died on the cross, taking upon himself the punishment that we deserve for our sins- that we might be forgiven our sins and have eternal life.

To be declared righteous in God's site we must be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus-- such is found through faith in Christ. BE RECONCILED TO GOD


4. As an outworking of our faith- Honesty and hard work are two very important qualities to have. See 2 Kings 22:7

There's an old saying that goes like this "There are as honest as the day is long"

It means that person is completely honest. They are consistently reliable. They are the kind of person who - if they found a bag of money or jewelry- would turn it in to the police. They are the kind of person who if they received even a nickel more in their change, they will walk back into the store and give it back.

Note what the evaluation of the workers in the temple was- those commissioned with the repair of God's house- which had fallen into disrepair- "But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly." v.7

As the followers of Jesus, we need to be honest. We need to be trustworthy. We need to be hard working, people who are always committed to getting the job done-- doing so, because it is Christ we are ultimately serving.

5. God's Word always comes to pass- TRUST GOD

FULFILLED PROPHECY IS A GREAT REASON TO TRUST YOUR BIBLE

One thing that makes Josiah really special is that he was born according to prophecy. Some 300 years prior a man only known as "the man of God" prophesied to Jeroboam (the first king in the North- and a very wicked man at that) "A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you'" I Kings 13.

Just as was prophesied, Josiah was born and so did to the false altar that Jeroboam set up in Bethel.

Another example of God's Word always coming to pass is seen in the prophecy of Huldah (a female prophetess living in Jerusalem). She, like Jeremiah and the other prophets declares that because of the sin of those of Judah that disaster would seen come upon Jerusalem. Less than 25 years later the Babylonians came and destroyed the city.

The POINT: God's Word never fails. Every Word is true. Trust God.


6. The centrality of God's Word in our lives cannot be over emphasized

Interesting verse: Hosea 4:6 "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge."***

When Josiah was 26 years old an amazing discovery was made- the Law-- the first 5 books of the Old Testament, was found. THE ENTIRE FOCUS OF 2 KINGS 22-23 REVOLVES AROUND THE DISCOVERY OF THE FORGOTTEN, DISCARDED, NOW FOUND WORD OF GOD

It's hard to imagine not having a Bible. It's hard to imagine not being able to pick up for myself God's Word and not being able to read it. It's hard to imagine just following God on the basis of oral tradition.

The hearing of God's Word revolutionized Josiah's life, his faith, his walk with God.

In Hebrews 4:12-13 it says of the Word and of God; "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

The details of Josiah's response to God's Word

A. In response to the Word of God, Josiah tore his clothes in grief and with a repentant heart v.11

Why? Because he realized that God was angry with the way the people had been living and how he had been living and leading.

A couple of things about sin and God

Sin angers God. Disobedience angers God. Rebellion angers God.

As loving, as kind, as merciful, as tender, as patient, as gracious as God is, He is also a God who gets angry v.13- angry at and with people who disregard Him and His ways and who live in disobedience to His laws.

When a person discovers that God is angry with them for their sin, what are they to do?

There is only one thing to do -REPENT. Turn to Christ for salvation and forgiveness. That's the only way to escape the Judgment to come

When Josiah discovered that God was angry- with him, with the people of Israel, he tore his clothes in repentance before God and then changed his ways.

What is entailed in true repentance?

Psalm 106:6, 1 Kings 8:47, Daniel 9:5 all say the same thing. There needs to be a basic confession that we have sinned, that we have done wrong, that we have acted wickedly. This confession is to be followed by a changed life. Josiah models this to us.


B. In response to the Word Josiah did all he could to follow God's word

In 1 John 5:3 it says; "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome"

James 1:22 says; "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves"

2 Kings 23 tells us everything that Josiah did in response to hearing the Word of God

-He tore down every idol and high place
-He purged the Temple of the wicked images to other gods that had been placed in it
-He rid the land of the priests that existed in service of the other gods
-He even journeyed North to the former territory of Israel and tore down the idols that were there
-He rid the land of the spiritists and mediums
-He renewed the covenant that the Lord had made between himself and Israel in the wildnerness
-He had the people celebrate the Passover-- A celebration not done in 100's of years


APPLICATION:

How are we responding to God's Word?

What place does God's Word have in our life? Are we reading it, meditating upon it, loving it, taking it seriously, doing it, changing our beliefs to match it?


7. PASSION FOR GOD AND THE THINGS OF CHRIST- we've got to have it

When I think of Josiah the word "Passion" comes to mind.

Josiah's relationship with God was not lukewarm or on again/off again. In Josiah's heart was a burning desire to live for God (this doesn't mean that he was perfect, for he sinned just like all of us)

His zeal for the Lord/His passion for God-- expressed not in word but deed

Passion for God will be and has to be seen in action- not mere words of devotion.

We need to have passion in our walk with God - it begins in having a grateful heart to Christ for his taking the punishment we deserve for our sins.

Closing song: One pure and Holy Passion