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When you hear the word, “revival” what comes to your mind? Well for most Christians today, the word “revival” describes a special service or series of services with renowned guest speakers, really good music, and lots of food and fellowship. And near the end, a few people may come forward to join the church and we call it a successful revival. But, is that in fact what a revival really is?
In my last sermon, I asked you if you thought that we needed a revival and most of you strongly agreed. I hope I made it clear that true revival is far more than a special service or two and a few new converts. This morning, I want to go into more depth as to what revival really is and the steps we need to take in order to actually be revived.
One of the best examples of revival that we have in the bible is found in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23. Let me tell you a little bit about the state of God’s people at this particular time. About 640 BC a boy named Josiah inherited a kingdom that was so far from the ideals that God had for them that the bible describes them as more wicked than all the nations that God destroyed before them. How bad was it?
1. They had erected temples and shrines to false deities such as Baal, Ashtoreth, Asherah and Molech. Many of these shrines and objects of worship were placed even inside the Lord’s temple!
2. They had pagan male prostitutes working out of the temple grounds itself!
3. Obviously, they were sacrificing to these gods to such a degree that they all but forgot about the true God of Israel that had delivered His people time after time.
4. Some were even sacrificing their own children to the detestable god Molech! Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, who was perhaps the most wicked king Judah had ever had, even sacrificed his own son to Molech!
Here we have God’s chosen people. At one time, they KNEW who they were—their identity was certain, now they don’t even seem to have a clue. Instead of serving the one true God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength they now serve many gods—none of which have all of their heart nor are they even real. At this point in time, God’s so called “chosen people” are on the verge of total and absolute destruction.
And then a wicked king dies and 8-year old Josiah takes the throne. We are not told exactly why, but when he was sixteen years old the bible tells us that he began to “seek the Lord.”
No doubt led by the Spirit, he appointed a faithful and skilled crew led by the high priest to go in and begin making repairs to the Temple of God which had been terribly neglected. As they went about that task, the Book of the Law was found and read to the king.
I. When Josiah heard the words of God, he immediately tore his robes because he knew how far God’s people had fallen. (contrast his reaction with that of Jehoiakim who, instead of tearing his robe, cut off each section of Jeremiah’s prophecy against him and threw it in the fire!)
II. He was convicted by the words of God, repented, and wept aloud for God’s forgiveness and mercy.
III. He was moved to action: Tore down all of the high places, shrines to false gods, removed the quarters of the shrine prostitutes, got rid of the mediums and spiritists, and even had the priests of these false deities killed.
IV. Observed the Passover for the first time since the time of the judges (Symbolic
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