Summary: Even when our efforts are not always aligned with his intentions and we make mistakes and sometimes make a mess of things, he knows the heart
2 Kings 22:1-20; key verse: 13
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, Leading on Empty writes of his daughter, adopted when only three days old. The apple of his eye, Abby, compromised her faith and morality, making choices that expelled her from College and for two years was searching for her identity, struggling why her birth mother didn’t want her. Her adopted parents continued to pray, to call, email and write but never receiving any responses from Abby. But they persisted, determined never to give up on her. One day they received an email from Abby who said she had returned to God. She wrote, “I know now that God may not have had me born of this family, but I am convinced that He has had me born into this family. I am coming home!”
A metaphor for our text – God’s people are sometimes like a lost child, seeking identity and purpose while looking in all the wrong places and turning to all the wrong people.
This period of history was full of mysterious events as well as the usual hard-life stuff:
• Prophet Elijah, chariot of fire (2 Ki2), miracles (2Ki 2, 4, 5, 6), woman’s dead son brought to life (2Ki 4)
• Political unrest … civil conflicts (2Ki 3, 18), murder of kings and ousted governments (2Ki 8)
• Social problems – famine (2Ki 4), slavery (2Ki 5), exile (2Ki 17), prostitution, poverty
• Spiritual prostitution – temple run down and “church worship” neglected (2Ki)
o 13 times (10 kings) the phrase “did evil in the sight of the LORD” from 2Ki chapter 1 to chapter 21 (2Ki 3, 8, 132, 14, 154, 16, 17, 212) and 5 times (5 kings) the phrase “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (2Ki 12, 14, 152, 18)
• Attempts of spiritual awakening and restoration (2Ki 10, 12); continued cycle of social/spiritual restoration and relapse; good to evil; tearing down sin’s strongholds only to slip into addiction again and again.
The people were LOST in their journey of trying to figure life out.
We enter the story in chapter 22 when King Josiah took the throne (8 years old!) Josiah followed Yahweh. His leadership included repairing the run-down temple (2Ki 22:1-7) because of Manasseh’s poor reign before him. One never knows what you’ll find when you start renovating a building. The same was true here. In the process of renovating we come to
Bible reading – start with 2Ki 22 1-10 … focus VERSES 8-10…
First mention of The Lost Book Josiah found. Believed to be parts of the book of Deuteronomy:
- 5th of Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible…)
- God’s people finally stopped wandering for 40 years in the wilderness on route from Egypt where they were slaves for 400 hundreds.
- When they finally settled in their new land Deuteronomy provided instructions about their faith, the meaning of their covenant relationship with God; God’s will for the nation; temptations they would face; it included instruction about how to live in security by following God’s plan. It’s the driver’s manual to stay safe on the highways and avoid penalties and prison for misbehaviour behind the wheel that could lead to deadly results.
Through The Lost Book Josiah noticed huge gaps in the practices of the nation and the instructions of God – VERSE 11…
• Showed signs of remorse, of grief, of deep pain with this new light. Josiah took responsibility rather than passing the buck or pushing the blame somewhere else.
The neglect of previous generations in the obedience and instruction of God’s law, Word, may be the reason for the hardships, evil and sin that generations faced before and up to Josiah’s time and he saw that.
Josiah shows signs of confession.
Confession is admission of something; it is an act of disclosure. Illustration: Story in the Ladies’ Home Journal as once quoted in The Reader’s Digest: Being general director of the New York opera took a toll on Beverly Sills; she ballooned into obesity. “It made me sick to look at myself. I’d reached the point where I didn’t want to have my clothes made anymore. It was too embarrassing. So I ordered everything from catalogues.”
Eventually Sills was forced to face the problem. “I woke up one day and realized I was really ill.” She went to see a specialist. “He put me on the scales. They read 215 pounds.
‘I cannot possibly weigh that much!’ I gasped.
And the doctor said, ‘Please look down. Are those two fat feet on the scale yours or mine?’”
Beverly smiled and said, “Once I faced the truth, I was on my way.”
• Josiah facing the truth…
George E. Mendenhall, associate professor of religious studies at Harwick in New York, defines repentance as “a reorientation of a value system and a redirection of choices and actions consistent with those values.”