Thursday, January 28, 2016
O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! Psalm 71:5-6(NLT)
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem. He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions all around them. He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 34:1-7(NLT)
A defining aspect of doctrine in the group to which I belong (United Methodist) is prevenient grace – the grace of God which goes before. The idea is that, before we can know, God is already there, guiding, protecting, loving, and urging us towards Him.
King David’s Psalm looks back to that grace covering him since childhood, as did the boy-king, Josiah.
I’m not a king, but I too recall the awakening of faith as a child, and somehow understanding God’s care in a prevenient sense. My parents never missed church unless we were snowed-in or sick (in an on death’s door kind of way).
In Sunday School the year I was about 7, our lessons were all about Exodus and the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. Each week the obedience or disobedience of God’s people became the object of discussion on the way home. These lessons nurtured my sense of God’s sovereignty and His providential care.
One particular Sunday, after hearing a lesson on God’s chosen, and then the Pastor’s sermon where he referred to our church being part of God’s special people, I did the math, Russell-style. Riding home I recall leaning up towards the front seat of the car and asking Mom and Dad, are we Jewish? When the laughter subsided, they helped me iron-out the realities of Old and New Testament theology, bar-mitzvah and baptism.
God’s prevenient grace was able to prepare Mom and Dad to help me get a more accurate picture of where I stood in the timetable of before and after the cross.
The “boy-king”, Josiah began to earnestly seek God when he was about 16. And when God’s prevenient grace started revealing the truth to him, he used his power as ruler in Jerusalem to break down the old superstitions and raise up worship of Yahweh, the one true living God.
God placed Josiah in a position to begin a revival of genuine worship.
Have you ever considered that God may have placed you where you are today to begin some kind of revival?
Activist, prayer-warrior, leader, or follower – if you’re drawing breath, God has a part for you in whatever He’s doing.
What will that look like when you step outside your front door today?