Revival & ReformationIn 1 Kings 13 a Prophet of God spoke out against Jeroboam regarding the evil that he was leading God’s people into. The Prophet spoke of a righteous king who would come and undo all the idolatrous worship that was being set up in the land of Israel… that king’s name would be Josiah. Now, here in 2 Kings 22-23 we see this king come to power as an eight year old boy – and grow up into a leader who loved the Lord unlike any of his forefathers before him. Josiah took over a kingdom that had become so perverted that it was hardly recognizable from what was originally established.

Under the reigns of Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon – the most vile practices of idolatry that one could even imagine were set up and performed out in the open. Scattered throughout the land were “groves” set up to the goddess Asherah – these were idols carved out of tree trunks (sort of like totem poles of Native America) – and there were groups of them set up in the very Temple itself where vile, pornographic dances were performed around them by priestly male and female prostitutes. There were altars throughout the land where sacrifices were burned to the sun, moon, stars and planets (zodiac). There were fire-pits set up outside of Jerusalem, which were originally used to burn the city trash, but had been transformed into sacrificial pits where children were sacrificed (“sent through the fire”) to the demon Molech.

Israel was lost… what was needed was a revival.

For 18 years King Josiah ruled in this vile dump, until one day he made the decision to begin to renovate the Temple. It was at that time a copy of the “Book of the Covenant” was found. (This would have probably been a copy of the Pentetuch – the first five books of our Bible – as written by Moses. It was probably hidden somewhere in the Temple by godly priests during the reigns of the evil kings before them). Upon reading the words of this lost book – Josiah was gripped with repentance – and thus began a long-needed revival in the land.

Revival.

Josiah immediately gathered all of the people together and read the words of this book to them all. After that – he stood and remade a covenant with God… leading God’s people back to Him. With their hearts reconfirmed to the ways of the Lord, Josiah then began the arduous process of cleaning up the disgusting mess that his forefathers had made. He tore down the places of idol worship, destroyed the altars, put to death the many groups of dark priests who led the sacrifices to demons. (Josiah even went as far as to dig up the bones of former idol worshipers and grind them up into powder). He left no stone unturned in his reformation of the land.

Revival.

Next he re-instituted the commands which God had given to His people many generations before. Commands to keep the Passover and never forget that God had led them out of slavery to Egypt. These commands had been basically ignored since the days of the Judges – but now Josiah was reinstating them for the first time.

Revival.

I cannot help but notice that the reformation and cleansing was begun by a complete reading of the Word of God. It was the fact that the Law of God was ignored that things had been permitted to go as far as they did. Generations of people had come and gone without any knowledge or remembrance of what God had originally set up for them to do. Little concessions had led to huge departures from God’s way of life, until eventually a huge cleansing, such as this one, was needed. All it took was one man to stand up and turn the eyes of the people back to God’s Word.

Sort of reminds me of America.

 

Unfortunately – God knew that the change was not permanent. He knew that once Josiah was gone, the people would return back to their sin. That is why He does not relent from His plan to lift protection off of Judah and allow them to be overtaken and drug off into captivity. This wasn’t God’s doing… this was the result of many, many years of sinful rebellion – of such depraved depths that even this wonderful revival could not stem the tide that was building against it. HAD the people of Israel genuinely turned from their sin and repented, then no doubt God would have relented and saved them (as proven by His many warnings through the Prophets, along with His promise to save a remnant even after the destruction of Judah).

In the end, what God knew came to pass. Josiah dies and both of his sons, Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, continued to do “evil in the sight of the Lord” as their forefathers had done… despite the reforms set in place by their father.

Revival.

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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