June 10, 2012
Many times graduates like we have seen today, high school or college, are asked – “What do you want to BE?
It implies you haven’t arrived yet. It implies a process of becoming the person they want to BE.
I have a word for our graduates – As you concentrate on “what you want to be” remember a different question – “Who do you want to be”. You will be remembered for what you did – accountant, psychologist, or teacher but you will also be remembered for the type of person you are or were.
Josiah in 2 Kings 23:25 is remembered for both. “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength…”
The Bible does much justice to Josiah. It records more of his life than most persons in the Bible. This is good stuff. If Josiah had a Facebook page, his timeline would read like this.
In 2 Kings 22:1 we learn that Josiah was 8 years old when he became king of Jerusalem. At eight years old Josiah did not have to worry about answering the question – “What do you want to be when you’re grown up?” Josiah didn’t seem to be concerned with being King but he must have posed a different question. “What kind of King do you want to BE?”
Sometimes we want to follow in the footsteps of our parents. Kings followed a genealogical line. Perhaps he would simply want to be a king like his dad and grandpa. But then again, we remember what we read, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did…” In fact his dad and grandpa did not even turn to the Lord. In 2 Kings chapter 21 we are told that Josiah’s grandpa’s name is Mannaseh. He was twelve years old when he became King. What is he remembered for BEing? 21:2 “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites”. It goes on to say how he built things that led the people away from loving God with all their heart, soul, and strength. Josiah’s dad was Amon, he was 22 when he became king. 2 Kings 21:20-22 says, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done…he forsook the Lord and did not walk in the way of the Lord.” This isn’t Fathers Day but what a message for fathers. My, oh my.
I am glad that with God things don’t have to stay the way they’ve been. Josiah grew up with unbelieving parents or at least his dad and grandpa. But that didn’t fix his course. We need the work of another book of the Bible to learn more about Josiah. 2 Chronicles comes to our rescue. It repeats something we know 34:1 “Josiah was eight years old when he became king…” but it adds something’s that 2 Kings doesn’t record. 34:3 says, “In the eight year of his reign, while he was still young (8+8 = 16 years old) he began to seek the God of his father David.” David is the second king of Israel and Josiah is in his family tree 400+ years before him. David is remembered for many things. Mistakes? Yes but also for being a man who followed after God’s own HEART. David loved God with all his heart, soul, and strength. Josiah is seeking after that God of David who loves and forgives.
The rest of the story is made known in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Let me stay with 2 Chronicles for a moment.
2 Chronicles 34:3 it continues, “In his twelfth year he began to purge (that means remove) Judah and Jerusalem of… and it goes on for several verses about how Josiah now at 20 years old is tearing down, cutting to pieces, smashing, scattering, burning and crushing all the stuff that his grandpa built and dad continued. Think about that? He destroyed the stuff of his family because it compromised his faith in God. He tore down everything grandpa built! He crushed everything his dad allowed. Josiah thought for himself what was right and did it even though it would defy “family”.
What kind of King is he BEing? The kind of King that is known as one who, “turned to the Lord… with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength…”
Men like to destroy stuff. But what will go in its place. If we remove bad habits what good habits will take its place?
2 Chronicles 34:8 says, “In the eighteen year of Josiah’s reign…he sent (people) to repair the temple of the Lord.”
Josiah, who is seeking God, making good decisions, also seems to know how to replace bad habits with good. An amazing thing happened in the construction work. Now lets go back to 2 Kings.
2 Kings 22:8, the high priest says, “I have found the Book of the Law (the Bible) in the temple of the Lord.” Bibles are meant to be read and it is. Bibles, God’s Inspired Word to us are meant to be applied, and Josiah does. This can only be done if we know where our Bible is. How many of you have ever watched the show “Lost”? How many of you would use that title to describe where your Bible is right now? Lost!
Josiah says in 2 Kings 22:13, “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book…” Ouch!
Oh later a prophetess shares a “Thus sayeth the Lord”. 2 Kings 22:18-19, “This is what the Lord your God…says…”Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken…your eyes will not see the disaster I am going to bring…”
To graduates and to all here – when we live our lives apart from God there is disaster. When we allow un-godly practices, like those unbelievers practice, then there will be disaster. You reap what you sow but when you “love God with all your heart, soul, and strength, God shows grace and mercy.
What do you want to BE is a good but “Who do you want to BE” is better.
Let us allow Josiah’s life to offer inspiration. The 4 Be’s.
BE Different – We may know some people that are different alright (ha) but this is spiritually different. Even though his family didn’t believe or believe as they should as evidenced by what they practice, Josiah sought the Lord. Seek the God as others did who are known as BEing people who loved God with all their heart.
BE Responsive and Be Humble – When God moves in your life, move with His direction. Humble yourself enough to know when you have to admit you are wrong. Be responsive to make the changes that are necessary even if it flies in the face of what your parents or others do. Might be unpopular but somewhere in the Bible it says to “Please God not people.”
When you are responsive to God and humble before God you are becoming who he wants you to be. BE Obedient. You will need to read for yourself, and take my word for it now but Josiah did a lot of stuff right EVEN BEFORE the Word of God was read to him. His life really took off though when He was reading and having read for him, the Word of God. Don’t lose your Bible. That was their problem. Don’t make it yours.
Lord, BE Glorified. We have sung it now allow it to be a prayer for yourself. Without the aid of musical accompaniment, In my life Lord BE glorified. Stand and in an attitude of prayer. (In my life, Lord, be glorified, be glorified. In my life Lord be glorified today).