I am not a fatalist. I do not believe that we cannot improve our lot here on earth. I believe that ultimately we will all fall short of the glory of God, the perfection of God, the holiness of God. But, I believe that people come and go and generations come and go that draw near to God I believe that God blesses those who draw near to Him with His presence and His power and His love and His grace which is poured out not only on those who believe but also on those around them.
Last night, Ethan had a rough go of it. After all of his explosions and name-calling, fighting and futility, mostly aimed at me, he came into our bedroom 45 minutes after his bed time and asked if I would read the Bible to him. He opened "randomly", by the grace of God, to the story about Josiah in 2 Kings 22. Ethan told me that he thought God wanted me to read it to him.
King Josiah became king when he was 8 years old. He was probably quite respected and treated well and taught many, many things, but he probably wasn’t given the responsibility to make tough decisions that might get people killed or make big changes in culture or society. He was just too young to be trusted with that.
But, when he was 26, he ordered that the temple be repaired. He wanted the money that had been collected at the temple to be spent to restore the temple. There was still a high priest. There was still prophets and followers of God, but there were also many other things going on. There was idol worship going around across the country. Even in the temple, other gods were worshiped.
Who knows, maybe Josiah himself was guilty of worshiping these idols before he realized what God required of him. But, by the grace of God, he realized that the temple was important to his people, so he had them begin to restore it.
While the work was being done, the high priest found a scroll with the Book of the Law of Moses written on it and sent it to King Josiah. When he heard the words of the law, he tore his robes in misery and humbled himself before God. He repented.
God saw his repentance. He knew his heart. And, God promised that he would not send disaster on his people during King Josiah’s reign. He would relent. The disaster would wait until his sons ruled and did evil in the sight of God. But, not during King Josiah’s reign. Not on his watch.
King Josiah was contrite in his spirit and in his actions. He changed. And, he began a radical change throughout his people. Out of love for God. Out of love for himself. Out of love for his people.
He took action. He removed all of the articles of worship from the Temple that were used in sacrifices to these false gods. All across the countryside, he tore down altars to other gods that are not gods at all.
Ultimately, we are all in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. And, ultimately, we cannot overcome the sin of this world because we cannot overcome even the sin within our own hearts. But, ultimately, Jesus’ death on the cross did overcome the sin of the world. And, ultimately, we can live in that grace, and we can be the one who makes a change that changes the world for the better.
Repent and make a change in obedience to Christ. Every step of obedience has eternal rewards. And, if you are in Christ, forgiven by him, every sin is washed away. Separated as far as the East is from the West.