2 Kings 23:3 “Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.”
During the time of prophets and kings the people of Judah had a succession of evil and wicked rulers. Manasseh, the oldest son of Hezekiah had turned the people away from worshipping the Lord and had reintroduced polytheistic worship, his son Amon had likewise continued the idol worship and the people grew restless and revolted. Manasseh had died at the age of 67 and his son Amon took the throne at the young age of 22 years old. After a short 2 year reign, Amon was assassinated and his son Josiah was instituted as king.
Josiah made it a point to repair the house of the Lord and reinstate true worship of God. During the process of collecting funds while working with the high priest, it was discovered that the law of the Lord had been found in the Temple. Josiah asked that the the book of the law be read to him, and in doing so an interesting thing happened:
2 Kings 22:11 “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.”
The law, when read, brings conviction of sin. Josiah realized that through his father and grandfathers rebellion, they had brought his people into a position of judgement. The realization of God’s perfect righteousness amplifies sin. This breach of God’s righteousness by the transgression of His law invokes His judgement because of the nature of the offense.
When you come to the knowledge of sin, how do you react?
By recognizing our offense toward the very one we claim to follow, we are brought into a conundrum, do we continue in sin, act as if it never happened, or do we repent of our sin and be made right before the Lord?
You see, once an offense has been made, it cannot be unmade. Sin has consequences, sometimes realized in life by the circumstances they bring and sometimes realized in our spiritual walk before the One we offend. The determining factors are made by our position before God and our ability to recognize our offense.
If I was living in the time of the kings and was following him into battle, the last thing I’d want to do is rebel against his leadership. Think how devastating this would be for an army that is coming up against a great enemy and then have rebellion breaks out in the midst of it’s ranks. That army would easily be defeated, even the weakest enemy would find victory against a foe that wasn’t unified behind it’s king.
Revelation 19:11 “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.”
Unity of the Spirit
The King has not only gone out before His people, He has strengthened His people in unity. The Lord appeared to Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden, He formed a people through Abraham for His own name, He came into our existence in the form of a man and died that we might be redeemed from sin, and He will one day ride forth in victory in the final battle against the enemy.
Today, the bond of the Spirit is the very presence of God in us. If we claim allegiance to the King of kings, we have been made new by the freedom from sin He purchased for us and His Spirit is His guarantee of our future hope and salvation.
2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
We have been set free from the scourge of sin by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There is now a battle being waged for the souls of man. The enemy knows that God’s people have been secured in Christ so his only recourse is to attack in ways that bring disunity. There are many ways the enemy attempts to discredit, weaken, or make ineffectual God’s people.
How can the enemy subdue God’s people?
- By creating strife, the enemy redirects God’s people from God and sets their minds on their circumstances. If we are so caught up in our own happiness, we become bitter and angry when our lives are not going like we think they should. It’s easy to turn on others when the focus is on ourselves. This inward focus becomes a bitter root that grows if left unchecked. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
- By reminding us of our past, the enemy seeks to make us think our value is diminished in God’s Kingdom. If we consistently relegate ourselves to the devastation of our old nature, we will live in a constant state of hopelessness. We were once defeated when we were in the position of separation from God, now the enemy has no hope for victory when we walk in the newness of this hope. We can’t forget that we have been brought from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, and the victory Jesus won on the cross is the victory we now share with Him. Psalm 29:11 “The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.”
- By making us think we can rest on our laurels or attempt to live by our own strength, we limit our capacity to be effective in this world. Proverbs 21:22 “A wise man scales the city of the mighty and pulls down the stronghold in which they trust.” We do not fight an enemy that is visible but one that dwells in the principality and power of darkness. The enemy can cause us to fight on the wrong front when we lose sight of where the real battle lies.
- The enemy attempts to make the obstacles in our lives seem bigger than they are. If we look at difficulty from a worldly perspective, we consider our own ability as that which is necessary to overcome. When we maintain a godly perspective, we keep in mind our focus on the Lord who is our strength and power, then our obstacles would need to be greater than Him for them to be insurmountable. 2 Samuel 22:30 “For in You I can charge an army; with my God I can scale a wall.”
Our Future Triumph
The beauty of God’s Word is that we know how this world will end. We know what is going to happen to Satan and all those who follow his lead.
One of the most beloved portions of scripture gives us a glimpse of what will come:
Revelation 21:1-4 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Josiah understood the necessity of honoring the Lord first in His life. Once the conviction of sin was understood, he literally cleaned house. Each of the evil practices of his father’s were systematically removed and he began to honor those who lived for the King. Josiah’s legacy was that of righteousness and honor and I’m sure one day I will see him in heaven with the other saints of old.
2 Kings 23:25 “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.”
When we discover sin we must follow the lead of Josiah, allowing our hearts to break for the ways we have dishonored the Lord. When we truly repent, we turn from our past and embrace the hope we now have in Christ. It takes a determined effort to remove the idols from our lives, to go against the tide and change our allegiances, or to walk in purity and sacrifice our old beliefs on the altar of God’s holiness.
What you lose has no comparison to what you will gain. Make that determination today, knowing your are investing in a future that is filled with hope in the King who is victorious over a world destined for destruction.
I once read a meme that talks about being indecisive in commitment, I thought it was quite poignant in it’s description:
The scoreboard is found in God’s Word. We now have a decision as to whether we will seek Him or seek our own.