It Is Time For A Revival
My guess is many of us have not spent much time studying the kings and prophets of the Hebrew nation. Unless you have been through some class like Disciple Bible Study, all those ancient people seem irrelevant to us in our more sophisticated time. It is enough, we think to know that the Hebrew people wanted the Lord to give them a king, even when God warned it was not going to turn out well for the people. But they insisted…and so God granted their request.
The first King was Saul (not to be confused with the New Testament Saul of the book of Acts that went onto be called the Apostle Paul) King Saul eventually went mad and was followed By King David. We know the stories of King David, the Apple of God’s eye. Though he wasn’t perfect and had trouble keeping his household under control, David was a good King, and the Hebrew Nation was stable under his leadership. David was followed by his son Solomon, who overtaxed the people which lead to a split in the nation following the end of his reign. The Northern Kingdom fell into deep disobedience being led by one evil king after another and eventually went into exile never to be re-united again. The southern Kingdom had its own struggles as they were led by both evil kings and righteous Kings. Unfortunately, the evil kings had enough time in leadership that the Kingdom suffered, eventually falling into exile, several times, each time to return, rebuild and restore the kingdom. That’s a very concise and incomplete recap of the Hebrew nation’s period of the Kings. But the total history is not my point for today. I want us to focus on one of the Southern Kingdom’s kings, King Josiah. 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 34
King Josiah fell in line of succession after his father and grandfather had been King of the Southern Kingdom, which was also called Judah. Both his dad and grandpa had been evil kings, in fact, Josiah’s grandfather had been considered the most wicked of all the kings of the southern kingdom and he had reigned a long time (55 years). It was Josiah’s grandfather who introduced many forms of idolatry to Israel and broke Israel’s covenant with the Lord.
Given that history, we might naturally assume that Josiah would follow in their wicked footsteps. But that’s not what happened. God was doing something different in this young boy – and that’s what he was, because Josiah was only 8 years old when he became King. Yes, I meant to write 8.
I can imagine that young Josiah felt overwhelmed at the task that was ahead of him. How in the world would he ever be able to rule over such a kingdom as Judah? When he was 16, he started seeking God, no doubt seeking help in ruling this wayward kingdom. He ordered the temple be cleaned. While doing that they found the Book of the Law that had been lost and forgotten. Josiah started having the people gather while he read the Book of the Law to them. For the first time in a very long time the nation started celebrating Passover and living more like God wanted them too. Just think – all along the Book of the Law had been right there, but no one was reading it – so they were easily led astray into sin. Once they heard it, even a young man was able to bring reform to this ancient nation and lead them back to God. By the time he was 20 he gave orders that the idols his grandfather had brought into the temple were removed and destroyed. And when he was 24, he raised enough money to repair the temple. Again that’s a very concise and incomplete picture of all that happened. But it’s the outline of the story. And from that outline we can clearly see that it is quite a life for such a young man. When we think of Josiah, we often hear the phrase – the reforms of Josiah. It’s this calling back into alliance with God’s will by repentance and reformation. What brought this story to my mind? All that we have been through in the past year.
There is no way that we will ever be able to return to church as it was pre-pandemic. We can’t go back to the church of the 2000’s or 1990s or 1980, or 70, 60, 50s. We are in a new day, a new season, a new way of doing Kingdom work. We can’t return to the old. We will need the reforms of Josiah, where we realign ourselves to the will of God who has been calling us to kingdom rule ever since Adam and Eve.
Think about it – Genesis 1 tells us that at the very beginning of human time, God wanted us to rule – to take care of the whole earth. Verse 28; “And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Amp Bible). And then He called Abraham out of his homeland. God calls him to a new Kingdom way of living where Abraham will be the father of many nations, the father of our Judeo-Christian faith. (Romans 3 & 4). And the New Testament Church was to have not just influence but dominion over every area of life. But we have failed. We have become short-sighted. We’ve focused on our buildings and what makes us feel good. We’ve forgotten about those things that are important to God – justice, mercy humility. (Micah 6:8). We have not fought for freedom of the oppressed, had a voice louder than Satan and taken our power and authority in this time so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
While the pandemic has not been the best of times, one thing is for sure – it’s forced us to think differently about what it means to the church. It’s given us time to think about the world we are living in and hopefully we have heard the call to take our rightful place as kingdom rulers in this world we live in. So, as we start to come out of this pandemic, let’s look to a future, reformed idea of Church.