Growing Spiritually


For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images.
(2 Chronicles 34:3 NASB)
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah an official of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.
(2 Chronicles 34:8 NASB)
When they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
(2 Chronicles 34:14 NASB)
When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes.
(2 Chronicles 34:19 NASB)
“Go, inquire of the LORD for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD which is poured out on us because our fathers have not observed the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book.”
(2 Chronicles 34:21 NASB)



The story of Josiah is really quite amazing. He had become king at the age of eight, and when he was only sixteen, he began to seek the God of David. We will discover later that he didn't even have any written word of God, but instead simply began to seek God with his heart. By the time he was twenty he understood that something wasn't right about the way the people of Israel were living and he began to purge the country of the high places. When he was twenty-six he began to repair the house of the Lord. It was only then that they discovered the word of God which had been lost and when Josiah began to read it, he tore his robes because he realized how far they had wandered from their faith. Now, he was calling the entire nation to repentance. God was able to use Josiah's personal desire for spiritual growth to influence God's chosen people.



This is an amazing story of a young person who desires to get to know the God of David. Every now and then we hear stories of those who so desire to know God that even without any training or teaching are able to seek him out and get to know him. There is something profoundly simple in that truth. Too often we make this "Christianity" thing too difficult. Somehow we forget that God's desire for us is not wisdom or knowledge, but a very simple relationship. God loves us and wants us to be in a deeply personal relationship with him. When we seek him out -- when we desire that relationship, we will discover that he has been there all the time, simply waiting for us to respond. He is constantly reaching out to us, and to the whole world, deeply desiring a relationship with us.

Josiah sought out a relationship with God and he began to discover the very nature of God. Without having the book of the Law he understood something about the purity of God. If he was going to love God, there couldn't be other gods around. There was to be purity and fidelity in the relationship, and therefore the other things had to go. When we begin walking with the Lord we will discover that we become uncomfortable with things we may have been doing in the past. We decide that we have to get rid of those in order to be faithful in our relationship to him.

Josiah moved past his personal faithfulness to God and moved into what might be called a ministry of influence. God had been working on him personally and he understood that but now he had to put his faith into greater action and he repaired the very house of God. When we seek God, our relationship with him is developed, we discover the heart of God, and then out of the love which flows from that relationship we want to do things for God. In the midst of that repair which Josiah was doing for God, he received an added blessing -- the word of God. And isn't that just like God? Often in the midst of us doing something for him, we end up being the ones blessed! We don't do things to be blessed, but so often it is the result.

In today's "instant" world we want everything to come quickly and easily, even in regard to our faith. The reality is that our faith is something that needs to be cultivated and nurtured and as that happens, God begins his work in us. Josiah was transformed from an eight year old little boy king into a man of God who tried to lead a nation back into a relationship with God which was vital to their existence. That didn't happen overnight but Josiah was a man who grew spiritually and allowed God to speak and move all along the way. We must never think or believe that we have "arrived" spiritually for there is so much more that God wants to teach us as he daily forms us so that we may be a pure and undefiled reflection of his image.



Lord, thank you for the examples from history and for the hope of our relationship with you. Amen.


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