Hey good to see you’re back again! Today’s reading tells us about the last glorious days of Josiah and his grand restoration efforts.
How thorough was Josiah’s restoration? — One of the things that separated Josiah’s “restoration movement” from those of other kings was his thoroughness. How many times have we read about a good king who restored many things, but left the high places, or left some remnant of idolatry or immorality. They restored some but not all. Maybe they were afraid of the popular backlash from the people. Maybe some things had become so integral in their culture, that the king never even considered changing it, never even saw it as being wrong. Maybe they were unwilling to commit the resources to scrubbing the nation completely clean of every polluting altar, influence, or institution. Who knows? But somehow, after Josiah had read the Law, he understood the thoroughness of the cleansing needed and he followed through. He cleansed things from Jerusalem like horses and chariots that had been dedicated to other gods by Solomon (which not even Hezekiah had destroyed), he invaded what used to be the northern kingdom of Israel to clean-up the the “sins of Jeroboam”, and he eradicated the occultists from the land (those who practiced withcraft, necromancing, being a medium, etc.). He left no stone unturned to return back to the Lord. Makes you think about things doesn’t it?
It makes you wonder about the restoration of the church. Some have “reformed” Christianity. Some have done and taught some things that brought Christian teachings a long way back from the errors of Catholicism — but were too cautious to thoroughly restore New Testament Christianity. It is thorough restoration, like Josiah’s, that would please the Lord — a restoration of the pattern of the church, a restoration of the pattern of worship, a restoration of daily discipleship, a restoration of brotherly love, a restoration of evangelistic zeal, a restoration of apostolic doctrine, a restoration of Gospel emphasis, a restoration of compelling love for the Lord, and a restoration of spirit and truth.
And it makes you wonder about the restoration of… ourselves to the Lord. What parts of you have been “reformed” and what parts still need attention — still need restoration? Sometimes we’re content to simply “stand pat” with the changes that we’ve already made, and we settle for partial discipleship — good enough. When the Father offered Jesus on the cross, He wasn’t thinking “good enough”; He was thinking “the best”. Shall we offer less?
A first-class Passover — One example of the thoroughness of the restoration of Josiah is the Passover. It’s an amazing statement that’s made here, that the Passover that was celebrated had never been celebrated that well since the days of the judges! Not even the Passovers of David’s time, the glory days of Israel, had anything on this celebration! This suggests that God pays attention to such things. And since the Lord’s Supper is sort of the Christian Passover remembrance, what might this say to us? Does God pay attention to the Lord’s Supper celebrations? And what does He look for — not just individually, but as a church? Would it not be wonderful for the Lord to consider your congregation’s next Lord’s Supper to be considered the best celebration since the days of the apostles? What would you need to do to make it so? What would your congregation need to do? And what would that do FOR your congregation? For your individual discipleship?
Some consequences can’t be stopped — Lastly, in the case of Josiah’s restoration, even as dramatic and thorough as it was, it would not be enough to stop the consequences of the terrible things that had been done over the centuries from Solomon to Manasseh. And in a similar way sometimes we still suffer the consequences of our actions, despite the restoration we may have done. Some marriages will still break-up. Some jail sentences will still need to be paid. Some regrets will still remain on our hearts. This is no commentary on whether God has forgiven or not or whether God is with you or not. Our part is to “take the high road through the valley, if you want to reach the Promised Land”.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.