I've had this lesson on my mind for three weeks! Today we will glean from a story about one of the greatest kings in Judah, other than David... Josiah! Because his story reveals a powerful, relevant message to the time and place in which we find ourselves today!
The Title of our lesson today is simply... Kairos...It is an ancient Greek word which means:
"The right, critical, or opportune moment...", for action!- Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon
We, my friends stand in a moment of KAIROS, in this country! A pivotal moment...A moment that is absolutely right, absolutely critical for action! What we say and do RIGHT NOW…Will have massive implications for the future of this country...And more importantly... Our Faith!
So let's jump into the story of Josiah.. And let God speak to our hearts DIRECTLY from His Word!
To get a true picture of Josiah...We have to see the family and times from which he came...Let's begin with his grandfather... Manasseh!
2 Chronicles 33:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem shall My name be forever." 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; (Literally burned alive as sacrifices!) he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. 7 He even set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God... 9 So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.
Josiah's grandfather was one of the worst kings of Judah's history…Building altars for foreign gods IN GOD'S TEMPLE... Even erecting an idol! And promoting their worship...Allowing male cult prostitutes to build houses inside the Temple Courtyards! Practiced witchcraft...And even sacrificed his own sons... Burning them alive to Moloch! Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians for a time...And there returned to the One, True God... Making reforms... But it was far too late!
Manasseh's son, Amon took over after his death...And rebuilt all of the evil with which Manasseh had polluted the land! Amon was such an evil king, his own people assassinated him in his house! Leaving his 8 year old son... Josiah... As king!
So Josiah was forced into Kingship...Because of the assassination of a horribly evil father...At the hands of a horribly evil society...Which was completely rebellious, ignorant and fallen from God...Of course, Josiah probably could not accomplish much at age eight...And he was surely led by the advisors surrounding him for a time! But by the age of only 16...He had already taken control...And had begun making massive changes to the kingdom!! Making the decision... Against the last TWO generations which had influenced and guided him... At only 16 yrs old! To walk with the Lord God once again!
Even though... At this point...He did not even have a single Word from God's Laws to guide him! Because God's Word had literally been lost in the Temple...As the Sacred Articles of Worship had been cast aside for idols! Listen to the radical decisions he made at only 16 years of age!
2 Chronicles 34:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign (16yrs old), while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year (20 yrs old) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. 4 They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence,
This is so powerful! Josiah did not just give the command to destroy these idols from the land... He personally went to witness and oversee their destruction!!!
...and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
Next, Josiah not only destroyed the images...But burned and crushed them to dust...And threw the ashes on the graves of the very priests that had sacrificed to them! (Showing the guilt & shame of those leading people into sin!) Then he literally burned the bones of the dead idolatrous priests...And put their ashes on the altars... Why do this?!! This made them unusable ever again... Sealing the door behind him!
6 And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes. 7 When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
Remember that Israel and Judah were two separate Kingdoms now! The Kingdom of Israel had been taken by the Assyrians by this time...And the land was being depopulated into exile...Josiah took advantage, and went into the uttermost cities, even there... To destroy their altars as well!! Pushing the limits of his own authority... Caring about the few left in Israel as well...Even though THEY had already suffered Judgment! For the sake of his God!
APPLICATION TO OUR LIVES THUS FAR IN THE STORY! LET'S STOP HERE FOR A MOMENT AND REFLECT ON SOME INCREDIBLE AND RELEVANT POINTS! Josiah came from two generations of mindless, violent, rebellion against God! But THAT did NOT stop him from returning to the Lord…With all he had!! Not partially returning... Not conditionally catering to the times, habits or people around him! But 100% back to everything God would have of him! He openly, unapologetically honored his God! And not only wholeheartedly turned from sin...Destroyed the ability to return to it, by desecrating the altars! He stood against the prostitution, sexual sin and false worship of the day...Not carrying of how it would affect his reputation or rule! He removed not only the sin from his environment... But the people who cultivated and led that sin!
POINT ONE: THIS WAS HIS STARTING PLACE...AND IT NEEDS TO BE OURS! For the Glory and Pleasure of Our God...To show our love and trust in Him...Because HE deserves it! AND BECAUSE WE NEED TO REALIZE...THESE VERY THINGS WE ARE FLIRTING WITH... INDULGING IN...ARE THE VERY THINGS BRINGING JUDGMENT ON OUR NATION... AND US!
The world stands firmly, unapologetically, aggressively…Even sacrificially for the value of their idols and selfish passion!!! It's long passed time we have the same pride, steadfastness and sacrifice for What WE hold dear!
WE have to be as radical and committed to a God…As the world is to sin and self!! We have to stop being passive and compromising...And stand for Christ... In our speech, action, habits, time & resources...At all costs to our personal lives and habits! In an ALL-OUT attempt to become what WE should be to our God!!!
POINT TWO: How old was Josiah when he began these radical moves? (16) Then it is far passed time our own youth...WHO ARE THE HOPE OF ANY CHANGE TO COME!!!!! RECOGNIZE AND ACCEPT THE TASK GOD HAS LAID ON THEM! And trade in the complacent, easy going, overabundance of entertainment and play...To stand as WARRIORS for Christ!!! Being leaders and influencers to those around them...Serving others… Rather than always seeking entertainment! Realizing NOW... THIS AGE... Is the time to STAND! LISTEN… YOU ARE NOT PREPARING FOR SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE...NOW... IS THE TIME YOU WERE BORN FOR!
In WWII, many minors were lying about their age and joining the WAR...Out of a mature passion and sense of duty... To protect what they loved! The American Veterans Center estimated 200,000 served / 50,000 were caught before getting in!https://www.americanveteranscenter.org/2012/02/veterans-of-underage-military-service/
Many as young as 14 and 15 years old! (One story of a 12yr old - who won a Bronze Star & Purple Heart!) There were 16yr old boys storming the beaches of Normandy!! Because they were so passionate... At THAT age... About the War threatening THEIR loved ones! Because they felt such a conviction to do their part! One 15 yr old was even field commissioned to 2nd Lt! Young people... Every decision you make about the direction of your education... Spouse... Or career... MUST be done with the primary thought...Of HOW they will fit into the PICTURE of your CALLING IN THESE TIMES! I’m not asking you to sign up for war... But grow UP for Christ! But this is NOT a suggestion anymore... IT IS A PLEA!
And parents... You MUST begin to teach your children the gravity of the world they live in today...You MUST teach them self-sacrifice to God and others...Over how special THEY ARE...You must teach them servitude...Over constant self-seeking! You MUST teach them what THEIR ROLE is in these Last Days! It is not a SWEET, CAREFREE RIDE ANYMORE! You are doing THEM a terrible injustice if you teach this attitude! ALL OF US... At EVERY AGE... Are called to serve God with all we have... In PASSION! NOW, more than ever before!
LOOK WHAT I FOUND! Let's finish the story of Josiah! Josiah's next move was to clean up the Temple... (Church) Restore all of the removed articles of Worship...And begin using the Temple for God's Glory ONLY! As the people were restoring the Temple...They found the Lost Book of God's Law...
Forgotten and covered in the mess! They immediately brought it to the King...
2 Chronicles 34:14, 18-21 (NKJV)
14 Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses... 18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read it before the king. 19 Thus it happened, when the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes. 20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, 21 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book."
Everything Josiah had done so far was WITHOUT the Word of God! NOW... As he heard God's Word for the first time... And realized how guilty they were of breaking God's Laws... He tore his clothes and cried in guilt and repentance! And immediately, he told his servants to ask God what he was to do about the guilt they incurred by living the way their fathers allowed!
APPLICATION TO US!!
Today... We as a SOCIETY have LOST the Word of God! Counting it as fable, outdated, unreliable, ignorant and judgmental! Today... We as INDIVIDUALS have LOST the Word of God! Having a very, very few who truly STUDY and KNOW God's Heart!! (Counting it a voluntary choice!) We do this, because quite frankly... We have other, more important idols to worship!
Today... We as a CHURCH have LOST God's Word! Changing, deleting and misrepresenting God to be Who we want! Ultimately worshiping our own desires and wants... Not God! Josiah's response should be our own...Heartbreak and repentance!!! And an honest fear of what our negligence has brought to our country!
BONUS ADDITION! ARCHEOLOGY!
Just for your excitement... And for the validity of this 2600yr old story!! One of the King's Officials named in 2 Kings 23:11, while Josiah was destroying Chariots to the sun god (Ra)... Was named Natan-Melech! He is only mentioned in history... Or even in Scriptures... ONE TIME!
But in October of last just year (2019)…A clay bulla (or seal) was discovered by an Israeli archeologist named Yuval Gadot... (NY Times article!) Found in the right area, surrounded by pottery from Josiah's era, written in the right style of writing for Josiah's age! With this inscription on the seal: "Natan-Melech Eved haMelech" or... "To Natan-Melech, the king's servant!!" WOW!!
So back to the story... Josiah found out by enquiring of the Lord... That the heart of the nation had become too dark... And that Judgment was imminent! But... Because of his repentance and heartbreak...The Hand of Judgment would be held until his rule was over! So... Since Josiah at least knew that he was safe... But it was too late for the nation… What did he do?!
2 Chronicles 34:29-32 (NKJV)
29 Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem--the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. And he (the King) read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD. 31 Then the king stood in his place 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 the covenant that were written in this book. 32 And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
This is so completely amazing!! Even though Josiah knew he and his people would be spared the coming Judgment...Even though he knew Judgment couldn’t be stopped! He brought everyone together... And LED them in a whole-hearted return to God!! THIS COUNTRY... THIS WORLD IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING... IT IS GUARANTEED THAT JUDGMENT IS COMING ALSO!! But for years we have lived easy, unfocused lives... Not devoted to Christ! Feeling that we were never going to be the ones to experience Judgment! But NOW... With Judgment seemingly nearer than ever...
With our sins destroying us as a nation...IT IS NOT JUST A TIME TO PREP FOR SAVING OURSELVES...There has NEVER, EVER been a greater, more dire time...When we should, as Josiah...
Set our attention on those in our sphere of influence... In an effort to save them from this world!!
When we should be more zealous to turn our own hearts towards God's Word and God's Mission...
To save OURSELVES and OTHERS from something worse than the coming troubles of this world!!!
Then... Josiah comes together with his people...To worship and celebrate Christ like Judah never has before!
2 Chronicles 35:16-19 (NKJV)
16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept. (26yrs old)
WE ARE CHRISTIANS FIRST! I hear people talking all the time about... "How this country is so far gone, they are ready to leave!" And I understand that feeling!
But I want you to come to a serious realization and understanding of responsibility today! We, as Christ's Church...Send people all over the world... Into hostile, dangerous, unwelcoming countries everyday...Because we are compelled by the love of Jesus...To live tough lives and risk everything to reach God's loved ones! WHY THEN? When THIS country... OUR HOMELAND... OUR PEOPLE...
Have become that place of hostile, unwelcoming people... Do we give up on them? Begin to hate and resent them? Want to leave them? Fight them!
THIS IS OUR NEW HOSTILE, UNWELCOMING MISSION FIELD FOR CHRIST!! Filled with our own Black, White, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, Middle-eastern and Jewish brothers & sisters!
Moses was willing to lose his fortune, his reputation, even his life... Who BTW, fought and rebelled the whole time! To bring his people back to God!! Paul was willing to do the same! On this Day...
Which we celebrate 244 years of FREEDOM as a Nation...Realize that as Brothers and Sisters in Christ... It is NOT just a Constitution of Freedom that we celebrate and protect...These things are unbelievably wonderful... Worth dying for... But fleeting! Realize that BEFORE WE ARE AMERICANS...
BEFORE WE ARE REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT, INDEPENDENT or LIBERTARIAN...WE ARE CHRISTIAN!!! AND THAT TRUMPS ALL OTHER TITLES! We are here not only to protect the worldly Freedoms of this Nation...But to be God's Warriors in WINNING THE SPIRITUAL FREEDOM of those lost souls around us! Some are so willing to fight for country…Yet so unwilling to fight Satan to win misguided souls! To love ALL around us with the passion of Jesus Christ! To NEVER give up on their souls, no matter the cost or environment!
Even when Judgment seems imminent Especially when Judgment seems imminent! When you find yourself in enemy territory...Search for... And save the POW's around you! Don't just turn and save yourself...“No man left behind!” Josiah used ever ounce of his influence and power...To bring an ALREADY JUDGED NATION BACK TO GOD! Because the true value in the BIG PICTURE...Is the Glory of God in the midst of chaos...And the soul of one more person coming to God from it's clutches!
Let's do all we can to prepare for hard times... Protect family! Do all we can to fight for the Freedom that has allowed us to worship God and love our families peacefully...BUT NEVER FORGET... NEVER ABANDON... Our even GREATER CALLING as Disciples of Christ in this world... Yes, even this one!
Because God's Word has been lost in our Nation, just as in Josiah's! And we are FIRST called...
To be a Light to the blind... Salt to the rotting! To represent the Single, Sole HOPE for those lost to a Greater Judgment! Just as Josiah did when he found himself in a dark, rebellious nation...
First decide that... Youth is not wasted by growing up for Christ... It is made more precious than ever before! Realize the American Dream of Success and Prosperity is Man-made and fleeting... And is NOT your Primary goal! Realize your goal as a parent is NOT to raise the most successful, sheltered and self-focused child...
Who thinks they are better than the world...But one who puts the world above themselves...
In desperate love to save it! Then decide it is time to burn the altars of our gods of lusts, success, and selfishness...And cover them with bones to make them unusable ever again...Then go and find that Book which has been lost in the rubble of idols...And study it like your life depended on it...
Because IT DOES!
Then get busy praying in real hope and passion...Get busy seeking God's purpose on a real-time, daily basis... And doing it! You don't have time for drama in selfish relationships and petty details you don't get your way over...It is time to put those things aside and focus on the matters at hand... Together! You are NOT an American Christian...You are a Christian American! And your own people need you more than at anytime in this Nation's history! You and I are living in a time... Not just of Chaos... But of KAIROS!
Can we do as Josiah did...And end our time with a Celebration of Communion...To remember and refocus on the Only Thing important in this fallen world...To recommit ourselves to the sacrifices His Life modeled! To give Thanks and True Love for HIM! Then maybe... God could possibly say of US...What He said of Josiah in his day...
2 Kings 23:25 (NKJV)
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.
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