Today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 22:3-23:30; Acts 21:37-22:16; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 18:11-12
We are now more than half-way through the Bible for 2013! I hope you are enjoying reading God’s word as much as I am.
Today we read one of my favorite passages in which Josiah, the king of Judah, finds a copy of the book of the law (some, or all, of the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Bible).
Josiah was a good king (2 Kings 22:2) and decided to restore the Temple, which had fallen into disrepair (2 Kings 22:4-7). In the process of repairing the Temple a scroll was discovered that contained the Book of the Law (2 Kings 22:11).
Its hard to imagine that the contents of this scroll were unknown to the kings and priests. But apparently, over time, the word of God was removed from people’s lives. The people of Judah (and certainly Israel also) were “winging it” – living their lives as they saw fit without relying on God. And over the preceding centuries Israel and Judah fell on very hard times because of it.
Josiah wisely figures out that the reason things have been going downhill for Israel is that they have not obeyed God’s word (2 Kings 22:13). He then makes a commitment to keep the commands in the book (2 Kings 23:3). Notice the response of the people – they “all” pledged to do likewise. Josiah didn’t order anyone to do as he did. The people decided to follow his example for themselves. This is a great example of leadership by example.
Josiah then goes on a mission to destroy and remove all the pagan practices in Judah (2 Kings 23:4-24). He really went all out.
I can’t help think about the United States as I read these passages. Just like Judah in Josiah’s day, the Bible is no longer a relevant part of our government. Not coincidentally we see the United States falling further into decline. Many people have a Bible in their homes but have never read it. They have it sitting on a bookshelf like a decoration to their own piousness. Or they consider it simply a great literary work.
The Bible is a textbook. It is meant to be read and meditated on. It contains the instructions for how to live life. Joshua wrote some very important words regarding the Bible and prosperity:
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful (Joshua 1:8)
Reading the Bible and meditating on it all day every day will bring about a successful life. Sadly we know the lyrics to very ungodly songs or can recite dialogue from mindless movies. But we don’t know the word of God – the very words that lead to eternal life.
I wonder what would happen if a US president started abolishing abortion clinics, and adult bookstores, and took down all the porn sites on the Internet. I like to be president just for the opportunity to try it.
After being arrested yesterday, Paul is permitted to give his defense in Acts 22 today. In these passages Paul keeps it simple: he tells everyone of his life before Christ and his life after Christ. This is the same type of message we believers need to give to non-believers today.
The powerful impact that God has made on our lives – just like the impact He made on Paul’s life – is a great testimony. If we stick to that story we don’t have to worry about saying something wrong 🙂 we know the story of our life. We know what we were before God saved us. And we know what we are now. And we know what we are going to be. That is all anyone needs to hear. When they hear that they will want what we have.
Everyone on this earth is going through the same things. We are all struggling. We are all looking for hope. We all desire answers and the surety of our future. When someone else discovers that you have discovered hope and certainty they will want it too. Just like if you discovered a great sale at a department store — your family and friends would be interested in hearing about it and would be thankful that you told them. How much more so will they be when you tell them about the great offer that God extends to everyone – salvation through Jesus Christ – that provides hope and a future to any and all who believe.
Today we begin a second pass through the Psalms.
In Psalm 1 we learn that those who do not let the ungodly have an influence in their lives are blessed. When we run around with people who do not care if they sin, we will not be blessed by God. Instead we should find our delight in the word of God – the Bible. Those who do just that are “planted” – firmly rooted – near a river – a steady flow of life-giving water. They are content with what they are and what they have.
But those who do not are living worthless lives that jump from one thing to another. They are always looking for fulfillment but never find it; they chase after the “in” thing and are never satisfied.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post