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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Apr 18, 2017

In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about the life of King Josiah, and some applications that we are to take away from it.

Here are the notes for this episode:

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Be a Josiah

  1. Announcements
    1. Go over the reasons for such a gap between episodes.
    2. Announce what’s coming up (Lord willing):          
      1. A couple of episodes on Biblical Faith: What it is, how it operates, and looking at the examples specifically listed in Hebrews 11.
      2. Possible discussion with Warren B. Smith (mention praying for his health and house issues).
        1. Recommend his books Another Jesus Calling, False Christ Coming: Does anybody care?, and Lighthouse Trails Research Journal.
  2. Intro
    1. This is going to be a very informal episode. I usually have about 8 to 20 pages of notes to look at while I’m recording, but I just wanted to talk about something very simple.
    2. I’m kind of glad to be done with the series on Bible Versions. It’s not because it’s not a profitable discussion or an important issue, but I think it can become quite draining spiritually to take your attention off of just reading and studying the Word, praying, and the absolute importance of cleaving to Christ with purpose of heart. It can easily become a tangent and a distraction and unedifying.
    3. Just like language study, Greek or Hebrew, there are things that are meant to be tools for Bible study and serving the Lord. Any time those tools become the central focus in-and-of themselves you will decline spiritually and begin to wither. Even like discernment ministries. It’s needful for every believer to learn to discern between the truth and the errors out there. There is another Jesus being propagated everywhere you look. There is another spirit being received by many professing Christians. But don’t let discernment distract you from cleaving to the Lord Jesus Christ. You are not going to grow in discernment by taking your eyes off the Truth. So study the original languages if you desire, and study the good works from sound discernment ministries so that you can be instructed on the deception going on today, but keep your heart and mind fixed on Jesus Christ and His Word.
    4. Ephesus was a mighty fellowship. They tested false Apostles and proved them to be liars. Even Christ Himself commended their works in Revelation 2. He then went on to tell them to repent because they had left their first love. So don’t allow yourself to become distracted from just loving the Lord and seeking Him. He’ll make sure you learn what you need to. Do these things AND seek the Lord. Don’t do one to the exclusion of the other.
    5. Please turn to 2 Kings 22.
  3. Context
    1. Read 2 Kings 21:26-22:2.
    2. Josiah was the son of Amon, who was the son of Manasseh. Both Amon and his father Manasseh are said to have done “evil in the sight of the LORD”. Manasseh reigned 55 years over the kingdom of Judah; and Amon reigned 2 years after his father’s death.
    3. Josiah, it is said in 2 Kings 22:1 was only 8 years old when he began to reign over Judah. That means that he was probably born when his father was only about 14 or 15 years old. Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, is usually listed as one the most wicked king to have ruled over Judah. Though near the end of his life he did humble himself before the Lord and seemingly tried to undo some of the damage that he had done to the kingdom. That’s recorded in 2 Chronicles 33.
    4. So when you consider the fact that the majority of the previous 57 years of Judah were committed to idolatry and wickedness it shows the life of Josiah to be all the more miraculous. Though Manasseh did try to undo as much as he could after his repentance and restoration to the throne of Judah, it obviously did very little because after his death his son Amon picks up right where it had ended with him.
    5. As an interesting note, the Lord Himself told through a prophet what Josiah would do. We read in 1 Kings 13:1-5:
      1. “And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.” (1 Kings 13:1-5)
    6. The time span is determined by some to have been about 340 years from the time of this prophecy and the time of its fulfillment. It’s just another testimony to the fact that the Lord knows the end from the beginning.
  4. Josiah seeks the Lord in his youth
    1. Before we continue on to v.3 in 2 Kings we need to look at the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles which adds some information. In the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 34:3-7 we read:
      1. “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.” (2 Chronicles 34:3-7)
    2. So Josiah began to reign when he was 8 years old. When he was 16 years old, after reigning for 8 years, he began to seek the Lord. This is very remarkable, because as far as is recorded he may have had no real example to follow.
    3. After 4 years of seeking the Lord, in the 12th year of his reign and at the age of 20, he began to bring everything under his authority to the sole worship of the God of Israel. What makes this even more amazing is that, as far as we are aware by what is recorded, he had no personal knowledge of the contents of the book of the Law of Moses. It had not yet been discovered in the temple—as we’ll see in a minute.
    4. Perhaps Josiah was influenced by one of the prophets that ministered during his reign. We know that Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah ministered during the reign of Josiah. It’s unlikely that any of these prophets started him on his way to seeking the Lord though because: (1) it’s not mentioned in scripture and it’s not right to speculate, and (2) when the book of the Law of Moses was found in the temple not one of these prophets was consulted.
    5. It’s also possible that he was influenced by the memory of his great-grandfather Hezekiah. He could have read in the chronicles of the kings of Judah, not our books in the canon of scripture but the actual recordings of the kingdom’s history made by the scribes at the time, and he could have read of all the things that Hezekiah did in turning the kingdom to the Lord. We cannot be certain though.
    6. However he began to seek the Lord, He sought Him. The result of Josiah’s seeking the Lord was that everything under his authority was brought to the sole worship of the one true God.
  5. The Book of the Law found
    1. So he began to reign when he was 8 years old. When he was 16 he began to seek the Lord, and when he was 20 he began to purge the land of all idolatry and such things. Now, when he was 26 years old, in the 18th year of his reign, he began to repair the temple of the Lord. (Read 2 Kings 22:3-20)
    2. It’s interesting in reading that Hilkiah the High Priest knew what he had found and he gave it to be given to the King through the King’s scribe Shaphan. Shaphan pretty much tells the King, “Hilkiah gave me a book.” And he reads it to the king.
    3. Josiah’s reaction to hearing the Law of Moses illustrates perfectly for us the truth that is written later by Paul the Apostle, “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
    4. When Josiah is confronted with the whole counsel of God’s Word his is shown all the sins of the kingdom of Judah. This is clearly seen in what he then commanded as recorded in 2 Kings 22:13:
      1. “Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:13)
    5. So Josiah knew emphatically that God was angry for the sins of the people and his reaction was to humble himself and enquire of the Lord. There was no arrogance saying, “Who is the Lord that I should serve Him?” There was no ignoring what the scriptures said. There was no looking for a loophole saying, “Well, maybe it doesn’t mean what it says.” There was only a heartfelt submission and humbleness before the authority of God. The Lord even acknowledges this when He is enquired of by the king:
      1. “But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” (2 Kings 22:18-20)
    6. The Lord promised to spare King Josiah and the kingdom itself from His wrath during the reign of Josiah.
  6. Josiah’s deepened commitment to God
    1. After the Lord’s promise to spare Josiah and the kingdom during his life and reign, Josiah did something even more amazing: he deepened his commitment and devotion to the Lord.
    2. (Read 2 Kings 23:1-24)
    3. Here is a list of what Josiah did in his reign to bring things to the obedience of God (as listed in Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible):
      1. He destroyed all the altars of Baal (2 Chronicles 34:4)
      2. He then ground them into dust and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. (34:4)
      3. He burned the bones of the heathen priests upon their own altars. (34:5)
      4. He carried out these actions in distant Israelite cities as well as in his own kingdom. (34:6)
      5. He repaired the temple of the Lord. (34:8)
      6. He led his people in a massive “repentance service” upon the discovery of the law of Moses. (2 Ki. 23:1-3, 18-21, 29-32)
      7. He then had this book read to all his people.
      8. He planned for and presided over one of the greatest Passover services of all time. (2 Chronicles 35:1, 18)
      9. He killed heathen priests whom previous kings of Judah had appointed. (2 Ki. 23:5)
      10. He removed the idols from the temple. (23:6)
      11. He tore down the houses of the Sodomites. (23:7)
      12. He brought back to Jerusalem the priests of God who were living in other cities in Judah. (23:8)
      13. He destroyed the altar of Topheth in the Hinnom Valley so no one could offer human sacrifices upon it. (23:10)
      14. He tore down the statue of horses and chariots which were dedicated to the use of the sun god located near the entrance to the temple. (23:11)
      15. He destroyed the altars which Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple. (23:12)
      16. He removed the high places of of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, which Solomon had built for his many wives. (23:13)
      17. He tore down the altar and high place at Bethel which Jeroboam the son of Nebat had made. (23:15)
      18. He destroyed the high places on the hills of Samaria. (23:19)
      19. He purged the land of mediums (workers with familiar spirits), wizards (those who practice sorcery), and soothsayers. (23:24)
  7. God’s View of Josiah
    1. After going through that list of deeds by Josiah many today would say that he was a “tyrannical, bigoted, narrow-minded, holier-than-thou, sadistic and hateful pig who had no tolerance or love for people”.
    2. It was well said by G.K. Chesterton that “tolerance is for those without convictions.”
    3. How did God view Josiah’s life?
      1. “And like unto him was there no king before him, that 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; neither after him arose there any like him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
    4. I don’t believe there can be a stronger testimony of a man’s love and commitment to the Lord than that. There are some things to consider though in Josiah’s life. That verse should sound very similar to you if you are familiar with the New Testament scriptures. In case you missed it, let me make the connection for you:
      1. 2 Kings 23:25 says, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that 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; neither after him arose there any like him.”
      2. “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:29-30)
  8. Application to our lives
    1. The Lord specifically tells us in Mark 12:29-30 that the first and greatest commandment is almost the exact same thing as His own description of Josiah’s love and devotion to the Lord. So let’s consider some things from the life of Josiah.
    2. He sought the Lord when he seemingly had no example around him to pattern himself after.
      1. Too many people wait on others to do things before they will commit to the truth of scripture themselves.
    3. Immediately, you see Josiah bringing everything that is under his authority to the obedience of God.
      1. This includes your house, your children, your job, your hobbies, your spare time, and the very thoughts and affections of your heart. Everything is to be brought to the obedience of Christ. We are specifically told this:
        1. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
      2. Yes, that is literal. Every thought and intent of your heart is to be brought unto the obedience of Christ. And because God commanded it it is certain to be possible through an abiding faith in Christ. Only a divided heart will fail at this. Remember “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not” (1 John 3:6). Continue to walk by faith in entire devotion to Christ and He is able to keep you from falling. If you sin, confess it, repent of it, and renew again your commitment to Christ and ask Him to teach you to abide more fully in Him.
    4. Josiah cleansed the land of false priests.
      1. Christians are under no obligation to listen to false teachers or to put up with them. Christ told us how to identify them in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 7), Paul told us to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17), John said not to bless them because you would make yourself a partaker of their evil deeds, Jude said to earnestly contend for the faith against false teachers, and Jesus Christ commended the church at Ephesus for testing those which said they were apostles and proving them to be liars. Understand this, you are under no obligation to just believe someone when they say they are a Christian. You are commanded to judge their fruits and their doctrine.
    5. Josiah destroyed every false altar and high place and every idol.
      1. These are like the things of the world that are not of God that people run to for comfort. People take comfort in their physical beauty or strength, that’s idolatry and self-confidence. People take comfort in self-help books and psychology to explain away and give excuse to sin, but God said He would keep them in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him. We are told to take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ. Most people watch movies, TV shows, look at things on the internet , read books, or play video games that blaspheme the name of Christ. You spend your time in those things which God hates and wonder why you are struggling or feel dead spiritually. Put away those things that God hates and fix your affections on Christ. The Spirit of the Lord said by Jeremiah, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” In the book of Proverbs we read in 1:23, “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” And Jesus Christ Himself stated, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) Stop making excuses, stop finding comfort and distraction in the things of this world, and find all your joy and satisfaction in doing those things that God has commanded. Unless you do that you have no reason to complain about a single thing in your life, or about why you don’t “feel” the Lord. Feelings have nothing to do with serving the Lord. You serve Him or you don’t. Joy will come when your heart is fixed to do His will and you are doing it. It is a voluntary, willful commitment of your soul to Christ—and nothing less.
    6. Josiah repaired and cleansed the Temple of the Lord.
      1. In the OT the physical temple was a shadow of things to come. But as Christians under the New Covenant we are told, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) You, if you are a Christian, are the Temple of God: cleanse it in the name of the Lord. Every last vestige of self-confidence or self-esteem…get rid of it. Christians don’t have self-esteem we have God-esteem. We have no confidence in the flesh or our own works we only have all confidence in God, and Jesus Christ is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. We have nothing without Him. We are nothing apart from Him. We can’t even pray to God the Father but through His High Priestly intercession for us. He is our everything. Now, as it says in the book of Acts, purify your hearts by faith. With the same zeal the Christ had on earth to cleanse the physical temple of the Lord with a scourge of cords you ought to be cleansing the temple of the Lord that you have. Do you think that Christ will have less desire for you to be cleansed than a physical building? Think about it.
  9. Conclusion
    1. There a few people in churches today who are disillusioned. They see in the scriptures one standard and in their churches and experience they see another. Well, let God be true but every other man a liar. God is always correct. Go by His standard and seek it.
    2. We’re told by Christ that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. You’re wanting positive feeling or emotions or experiences: and you’re not going to get them by seeking positive feelings, emotion, experiences, or by imitating other people’s experiences. These things will only come when you’re heart is fixed by faith, which is confidence and trust, in Jesus Christ. Make Him the treasure of your heart, and pleasing Him the highest aim and desire of your life.
    3. Don’t wait for others to lead the way. Don’t wait for a church or ministry to tell you what to do. God has made all provision for you to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil Himself. It is the simplicity of Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6).
      1. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:2-5)
    4. Walk in the reality that Jesus is Lord. All power in Heaven and in earth is given to Him. Walk by faith in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, pray by faith in that fact, and you will see that overcoming is the only result possible. God has promised and He cannot lie.