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Trying to Follow God in the Flesh
Living the Chistian life is hard, even for the most committed. Why? Because it is a life of surrender, of giving all to Him and allowing Him to live His life through us. And when we attempt that, our flesh, our independence, screams in rebellion. There is no way to live the life of faith in the flesh. No way to manifest the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), without the Spirit. Or, when attacked unjustly, to turn the other cheek out of sheer determination and the force of your will (Matt. 5:39). It cannot be done, long term, no matter how hard you try.
After all, the Spirit and the flesh are at war with each other and only one can win (Gal. 5:16-17).
Josiah became king of Israel at the ridiculously young age of eight. He must have been taught properly, because by the time he was a young man, he took great, and unpopular strides to right the wrongs committed by previous kings and approved by the people.
For in the eighth year of his reign (when he was 16), while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year (when he was 20) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.(2 Chr. 34:3-4).
Not bad for a man in his early twenties who had never read a single word of Scripture and did not know God personally. He was serving God the best he knew how, with no personal knowledge of the God whom he was serving. Much like many in the church today.
But then everything changed for Josiah. He read the Bible for the first time.
Knowing the God You Serve
You know the rest of the story. Hilkiah the priest found the Word of God in the house of the Lord when they were doing repairs, probably the first five books of Moses. The Law. Boring stuff for much of the church today. But for Josiah, it was like discovering a great treasure.
Notice what this young king did when he discovered the part of Scripture we seldom even read.
Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD – 2 Chronicles 34:29-30.
Did you get that? He read “all” the words of the Book of the Covenant. And all means just that, all. Plus, Josiah saw Scripture as a covenant, a contract, between God and man. How many of us think that way today?
Then the king stood in his place 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 the covenant that were written in this book – 2 Chronicles 34:3.
So Josiah made his own covenant to the Lord. And it was a covenant of faith, action, and obedience. But he wasn’t finished. He also made all those with him do the same. To “take a stand” to follow the Lord.
And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers – 2 Chronicles 34:32.
You can read the rest of the story in the verses that follow. But know this, once Josiah read the word of God, everything in his life changed. Is it that way with you? Do you view the print in your Bible as the words of God, a covenant He made with you that was ratified by the death of His Son? And if so, how are you doing keeping up your part of the covenant, the faith and obedience part that unlocks the promises of God?
And if you don’t view Scripture as the words of God, how do you hear from Him? What is the standard of truth in your life? It is you? Maybe what your friends think or what they say on TikTok?
Something to think about, would you agree?