"Revive Us Again!"
There are few kings of Judah like young Josiah. Like Hezekiah before him, Josiah sought to bring about a revival. Let us have the heart of these two kings and seek to have a revival that draws us closer to God.
Revive Us Again!
(2 Kings 23:21-25)
A. The Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria. They were led away as captives. The once great nation of Solomon that divided after his death now saw a large portion come to an end. The Bible makes it clear that the reason God allowed the Northern Kingdom to fall was because it had turned from honoring God to worshipping idols. They had become just like the nations who were in the land before them that God swept in the days of Joshua. But now that time had come to an end.
B. At that time Hezekiah was king in the much smaller land mass called Judah, or the Southern Kingdom. Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Hezekiah torn down the high places and broke the pillars of the idol worship in Judah. He took the bronze serpent that Moses had made and destroyed it because the people had made it into an idol. His story has some great trails and some great blessings. But like all men, he too would die.
C. His son Manasseh came to the throne and reigned for 55 years (one of the longest), but he was wicked. He rebuilt the high places, and the Bible tells us he was like Ahab, King of Israel in his evil worship. In fact he built altars in the temple to Baal, and even murdered his own child as a sacrifice to the false God. All this was done in the temple where God’s name was placed. The bible says that Manasseh was provoking God, and that Manasseh, “led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done before him.” Because of that, God decreed that Judah, like Israel, would fall. God would “stretch out His hand against them and bring upon them a disaster that will cause the ears of everyone to tingle.”
D. But God did not destroy Judah right then. After Manasseh came Amon. Like his father he did evil in the sight of the Lord and within two years was assassinated. It let a young 8 year old boy named Josiah become king of Judah. And it’s his story that we learn from today.
A. How many sermons do you think you have heard in your lifetime? How many of those sermons have impacted your life? How many do you remember the theme of?
B. Move away from collective worship to private study. How much of the Bible have you studied, not read, but given yourself over to study? How has that that study impacted your daily life right now – the words you say, the way you present yourself on social media, the places you go to, the types of shows or movies you watch, the way you treat your spouse, children, co-workers…the list could go on. How much does your study of the Bible mold your current actions?
C. Josiah grew up in an evil house with an evil dad and grandfather. I would guess his great grandfather was not even talked about. Yet, in his 18th year as king, Josiah does something different, he hires people to repair and restore the Temple of God. In the process the Book of the Law was found and read – read to the high priest, to the secretary and to the king. When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law he tore his clothes and sought to know the word of the Lord.
D. A prophetess tells the messengers of the king that God will indeed bring disaster upon this place and its inhabitants. But because the king has humbled himself he will not see the disaster happen. God would wait. So what do you do with that type of news? Do you live your life as you want, or do you live as God desires, even though it won’t change the outcome of the nation?
A. Here is what King Josiah did. The king gathers the people and reads from the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Temple. Then we read vs 3. I may not be able to change what happens to our country or even this congregation, but I will make my covenant with God. Can we do this together? Can we as church decided the personal and collective reform to God’s covenant is more important than my desires, my rights, and my way of living? I am ready to make that covenant, because I know what happens if I don’t.
B. The king then followed the example of great grandfather Hezekiah and began destroying the high places, he cleanses the Temple of its idols and destroys them in the Kidron valley. He works hard to take all the evil throughout the land and destroy the idols and desecrated the bones of the evil men before him so that all would know that there is no honor among the evil dead.
C. Then the king commanded that the Passover be kept is the Book of the Law taught. He did more to reform Judah in his few years as king than others before him. In fact, God tells us (READ vs 25). I want you to remember the next verse (read vs 26). Reform did not change the outcome.
A. I have been with Christians who pray for and call for a spiritual revival. “Revive us again!” is the call. Have you ever thought that the word “revive” means “to restore to life or consciousness?” If you are need of a revival, it’s because you are dead, dying, or have forgotten what you need to live.
B. I need a revival in my life. I need to take the word of God that have heard for so many years and allow it to bring true reform in my life. I need to live it, not because of your future, but because of mine. I need revival because, who knows, if we become the church God has called us to be, God may relent from the destruction he has promised long enough for one more person to be saved.
C. “Revive us again. Fill each heart with Thy love. May each soul be rekindled with fire from above!” That is a calling for God’s holy fire, God’s Holy Spirit, to come and work in you and me in the power that changes lives; the power that raised Jesus from the dead and raised us also; the power that causes us to renew our covenant with God. That’s what it means to revive us again.
D. Church, this is our time be Josiah to our church, our family, our community and our country. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Are you ready to be revived, to restore you walk with Jesus? Then come as we sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister