2 Kings 23:15-25

            To say that King Josiah cleaned house would be a gross understatement.  Having found the Book of the Law, lost for generations deep within the temple, Josiah took its words to heart and set about a campaign of reformation like no king before him.  Indeed, Josiah was determined to restore and implement the Law in the life of the nation of Judah.  His zeal knew no bounds.  Josiah was relentless, radical, and redolent with the smell of transitioning the Jews back to the true worship of Yahweh.
 
            King Josiah did not just re-institute the Passover and other festivals of the Lord; he first upended the pagan worship which had moved in like a death-dealing cancer.  Josiah cut it out with ruthless precision.  He made ashes out of Asherah poles and put pagan priests out of business permanently.  He did away with everything that was contrary to the worship of the One true God, including spiritual mediums, household gods, and sacrificial high places.  In order to turn his heart fully to God, he did away with all competing gods.
 
            If there is to be true repentance, there must be a two-fold process:  turning away from what is false; and, turning toward what is true.  Turning from sin without turning to God is merely a half-repentance.  And turning to God without turning one’s back on sin is both denial and dangerous.  We are to put off the old clothes of injustice, and put on the new clothes of righteousness.  We are to forsake the old in order to embrace the new.  There needs to be a radical gouging out of sin so as to replace it with what is just and right.  It must be born in mind that none of this is pretty or romantic; it is a messy ugly process of dispelling darkness and letting light shine.  It is not for the faint of heart.
 
            Where to begin?  Make a fierce, brutally honest inventory of your life.  You cannot turn from something that you are not really aware of, so create in your schedule some time in the week to connect with God.  After identifying some areas for change, list the things that stand in your way of turning from them, i.e. fear, despair, financial repercussions, etc.  Face the obstacles honestly and forthrightly.  Then, begin to form a rudimentary plan to forsake the old ways and embrace new paths of righteousness.  This is but a beginning.  Let God take that process and direct it in ways he wants to take it….
 

 

            Holy God, you are jealous for your own glory.  I decide today to identify and put away all that is contrary to your righteousness and will for my life.  And I choose to turn to you with all my heart.  In body, soul, and spirit I belong to you.  Amen.

2 Kings 22:11-20


             It is hard to fathom that things had spiritually degenerated so much in the kingdom of Judah that the Book of Law, God’s Word to Israel, was completely lost.  The Law was tucked so far back in the temple, and had gathered so much dust, that everyone simply forgot it existed.  Yet, maybe we in the Western world can relate to this more than we think.  When a plethora of Bibles and translations exist, yet they gather dust on the shelf and we have not cracked it open since….?
             We are approaching the end of the Christian Year which always culminates in Christ the King Sunday.  As we journey with Jesus and ascend his holy hill, we anticipate corporately acknowledging Christ’s lordship.  The best and most biblical way to do so is through penitent humility.  King Josiah’s officials had found the Book of the Law and brought it to him.  After they read the words, the king became completely undone with humble repentance.  He realized that the life of the nation had not revolved around the majesty and kingship of God, and it cut him to the core of his being.  
             The first and most appropriate response to the realization of God’s sovereignty and Christ’s lordship is humility.  Without it there is no going forward; there is only the ghastly state of remaining stuck in one place with ancient dust accumulating on our static hearts.  But with humility there is repentance; and with repentance there opens up the grand vistas of hope, new life, and fresh beginnings.
             Try something quite different from your regular experience today.  Put on some old clothes and read carefully the words of Scripture.  Take the time to acknowledge some sin of omission in your life.  Then, tear your clothes; yes, rip your shirt.  Allow yourself to feel, like Josiah, the realization of missing the mark.  But do not remain in this condition.  Drink in the grace of God in Christ and receive the forgiveness that is yours through Jesus.  The trajectory of our Christian lives will be determined by the depth of humility we experience, and filling the hole with mercy.
             Awesome God, although I might not always perceive your majesty and sovereignty, you stand above all creation as the Lord whom I am to submit to in all things.  I come to you in great humility of heart and vow to obey everything I read in your Holy Word through Jesus Christ, my King.  Amen.