Revival or Judgment?
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“For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book.” (2 Kings 22:13 ESV)
Just imagine. It’s been more than 50 years since God’s people have worshiped Him or tried to obey His Word. Instead, they offer all they have to idols of silver and gold and to other gods introduced by foreigners. They even do it in God’s house. And the religious leaders there have ignored their convictions and enabled the people to dive further into depravity. When they need answers, they desperately seek mediums and evil spirits instead of the living God. Sacrificing children and sexual immorality have become commonplace, and God’s judgment looms on the horizon.
This scene describes ancient Judah (split from Israel) in the time of the kings, a few decades before they were conquered by Babylon as judgment for their wickedness. At that time, the wicked ruler was killed, and a child began to reign, a boy named Josiah. Amazingly, God reached the boy—and he began to serve God at age 16, becoming so passionate that by age 20 he was leading the people to purge the nation of idols. He went against the status quo and that began to transform the nation.
Soon enough, Josiah led the people to begin repairing God’s temple for proper worship, and in the process, he rediscovered the book of the law, Scripture available at that time. When he read God’s Word and recognized the terrible scope of his people’s disobedience and dishonor to God, it broke his heart, and he tore his clothes in grief and repentance. Then, he brought the people together to covenant with God again, to recommit themselves to proclaiming and obeying God’s Word.
Judgment was still coming because of what the nation had done, but when Josiah chose to swim upstream and follow God in humble repentance, it changed everything for him and his entire generation. Scripture says God responded to Josiah with these words:
“Because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place” (2 Kings 22:19-20 ESV).
During Josiah’s days, which lasted another 30 years, God’s hand of judgment was stayed. His mercy was extended because one person chose to humbly submit to God’s ways. In the same way, today, the nations have taken a long walk away from God’s ways, and judgment might be coming. But there is always hope with God on the throne, whose mercies are new every morning. And it begins with one person. It begins with you.
Has God attempted to humble you, and you’ve “kicked against the goads”—like the Apostle Paul did (Acts 9)? Can you lay down your pride and recognize your part in the fate of your own nation? Will we reconnect with God and genuinely devote ourselves to His Word in such a way that our covenant is renewed and God’s promises for us are reignited? There is hope for our nation, but it takes repentance, and it starts right here.
Scripture is quoted from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
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