II Kings 22:14-20; 23:4-15, 19-20
II Chronicles 34:3-7, 22-28
(400 Years of History)
NIV Version of the Bible
Within the pages of II Kings and II Chronicles is a story of a rich child-king raised in an ungodly home. He is not only an eyewitness to sin, he is also surrounded by an idolatrous nation.
When faced with becoming king at the tender age of eight years old, he had every right to suck his thumb, squat in a corner, and hide from those much older than he. With his childish mind, he could have beheaded any number of servants who disagreed with his whimsical ideas.
Yet, in the eighth year of his reign, he sought God Almighty and discovered that he and his people had not been living according to God’s commands. In his twelfth year, he began to make a change. (II Chronicles 34:1-3)
It not only disturbed Josiah to discover he and Israel waddled in sin, he ripped his clothes when he heard that his people would be taken captive because of their adulterous behavior toward the Holy One.
When was the last time you considered the consequences of your sin? It takes a humble person to admit wrong. To spend time examining how far-reaching your sin can be is mind-boggling and may leave you in despair.
There are so many lessons embedded in the story of Josiah, that the only way I know how to tackle each one is to go through the story in chronological order as it is written.
In each line of this series, we will discover how closely related Josiah’s life is to our own. We will make note of the many lessons learned from his life and from the life of his forefathers. Together, we will discover that our past should not keep us from a better future. Matter of fact, because of our past we should indeed become better people—a holy people; a people as intimately connected to God as a marriage.
This study, however, won’t mean much to you if you don’t read the scriptures noted above. But if you’ll indulge in the reading, God will change how you look at His relationship with you. For he is indeed a God who . . .
“. . . plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
A Child Who Would Be King
II Kings 22:1-2
As you go through your daily life, who have you influenced?
I don’t know about you, but I’d be offended if my son recognized his grandmother as mother. To me that would be a blantant disregard of my existence and I’d have a few harsh words to express my disdain for his lack of respect. After all, I brought him into the world. How dare he ignore me and regard my mother as his mother. Humph!
That’s exactly how God described Josiah’s faithfulness. Josiah was like his father, David. Not like his father, Amon. If you’ve read the books of II Kings and II Chronicles, you understand why.
King Amon, like many kings before and after him, infested the nation with evil. There were signs of their sin everywhere. Asherah poles. Idol worshippers. Human sacrifices. You name it. Israel wreaked with sin. So much so that God promised to send them into captivity.
King Amon failed to see how his self-centeredness not only pulled him away from God, but it also destroyed his people.
Left unchecked, sin breeds sin. If you’re not accountable to anyone, chances are you’re headed for disaster. And what’s amazing about the disaster about to befall you is that it doesn’t feel disasterous at first. You ease into it. It feels comfortable for a time. Along the way, you persuade others to follow you. And if you didn’t persuade them verbally, then you’ve convinced them by your example. If left alone too long, you can’t or won’t turn back. And not only are you in danger of destruction, but those who follow you are also close to death.
Our sin carries far more weight than we expect.
Coming from an ungodly home explains your past, but it doesn’t control your future. Your past has taught you the wrongs of this life and what to avoid. But more importantly, you have the freedom to make different choices. No matter what your circumstances.
All of us want to impact the world in some profound way. Maybe you want to write an inspirational book that turns the world on its heels. Maybe you want to put an end to hunger. Or maybe you want to become President of the United States and return governing to the people. Whatever you set out to do, your impact will be felt along the way. Perhaps your impact won’t be on the scale of a presidential candidate, or that of a pop rock star. Your influence might come in small doses. Like the time you spent two hours on the phone talking a stranger out of killing himself. Or by bringing a woman who has come to church for the first time in months a bouquet of roses. Or inviting a struggling mother of three to your home for dinner. Or doling out food from your freezer to a family in need. No matter how large or how small your impact, you will indeed leave behind a trail to be followed by others.
The question is this: Will it be a godly trail? Or will it be a trail of destruction?
Make a list of ways you have influenced others today.
Holy Father, please correct me and hold me accountable for all I do and say. Please forgive me. Wash me clean. Dwell in me and use me as an instrument to spread your word. Help me to recommit my life to you . . . to put no other gods before you. That I remain one with you in body and in spirit.
PostScript: We are the body of Christ.
“. . . The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us from the dead also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:13-20)
1Portions of this lesson come from my inspirational series entitled “Impact – A Series That Explores How We Affect Each Other.” This series is expected to be published in 2016. This, however, will be the only posting from my book. Lesson 2 will not be posted here as suggested by the text.