Unsung Heroes: The Child Who Became King
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Intro Slide 1 – This marks week two bad weather that has led us to canceling church service. So today I want to take you through the message that way you get more than a short devotion.
As we continue to look through a few of the Unsung Heroes of the Bible, I want to draw your heart to a particular word, ZEAL. Zeal is often misrepresented in today’s world, especially in the context of religion. We continually hear of people who are zealots, these religious and political fanatics often have a bad name and tend to leave others with a bad taste in their mouths. These people are so focused on their cause that people think they are weird, crazy, or both. Who knows, maybe they are. Maybe we should be?
Slide 2 – Today we are going to look at 2 Chronicles 34. We are going to talk about King Josiah. We are going to look to his example to see what it means to be zealous for God. But before we go there let me give you a definition of zeal.
Webster’s defines zeal as this: “eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something.” Zeal is intense emotion for something, deep passion, great enthusiasm. Zeal motivates us to action. So it is time to ask the question, “WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?” What motivates you? What moves you?
Slide 3- A little background about Josiah. Josiah is from a line of kings who rules in Judah. His grandfather, Manasseh was a wicked man who exalted idolatry throughout Judah. He built alters to false gods in the high places as well as in the temple of God. He offered sacrifices to false gods including offering his own children in the fire of sacrifice. He practices witchcraft and divination as well as consulting those who seek to speak with the dead.
When the Lord spoke to Manasseh, he and the people ignored the Lord’s warning. As a result the Lord sent the Assyrians who took Manasseh as prisoner and led him away with a hook in his nose.
As a prisoner, Manasseh cried out to God and humbled himself and God delivered him and brought him back to Jerusalem. After this Manasseh rebuilt the walls and removed the alters from the temple. He commanded the people to return to the Lord but they disobeyed.
When Manasseh died, his son Amon became king. Amon was more wicked than his father had been. Amon was so wicked his officials assassinated him and made his son king. This is where 2 Chronicles 34 starts.
Take a few minutes to read 2 Chronicles 34
Slide 4 – All to often we tend to dismiss the hearts and minds of children. Josiah was eight years old when he became king. At first he was probably seen as a type of puppet king that would insure that the officials got what they wanted. But a child’s heart is a powerful thing. Psalms 8:2 says, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” and Jesus told us. “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Slide 5 – This child gives us a great story of faith. His zeal should inspire us to a deeper commitment to God. Josiah became king of Judah at 8 years old. He is put there by the very men who killed his father. He was just a child and suddenly was responsible for a nation. In the eighth year of his reign, around 16 he began to seek after God. Vs. 3. At this time religion was a mess in all of Judah. Idolatry was running rapid. And the Word of God hasn’t been seen.
At approximately 20 years old, Josiah’s zeal for God prompted him to purge Jerusalem and all of Judah of idolatry. He went around destroying idols, breaking alters, and killing priests. After cleaning the land of idols Josiah wanted to further purify the land so he sent some men to restore the temple.
Josiah was not content with a quite faith that was fine to worship how he saw fit and let everyone else do their own thing. Josiah desired to see the nation worship the one true God.
Slide 6 – As the temple was being restored the Law of God was found. When Josiah heard the words of scripture read to him, he began to morn in repentance for the nation. 2 Chronicles 2:19 says, ” When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his robes.” Josiah understood the depths of Judah’s sin and he understood that judgement was close at hand. Josiah then inquired of a prophet.
Slide 7 – Sometimes in these moments we don’t see the grace of God. We miss the love that he lavishes on those who love and seek him. Josiah is told of the disaster that is coming, yet God tells him that he will die before the disaster comes.
Slide 8 – As a result Josiah seeks to restore the righteousness of the people. He calls all the people together from greatest to least and in the temple he reads the word of God for all to hear. And as a result the people did not fail to worship God during Josiah’s life.
Do you have Zeal for God? Do you understand what Christ has done for you? Do you desire to see the nation praise the name of Jesus?
What are you going to do about it?