Although slow, Jenny and I are on a program of getting rid of possessions. Our modus operandi program is pretty simple. (1) Do we need it; (2) Do we want it; (3) Can we pass it onto someone who could use it and (4) Dump it. If you consider those four issue you will understand that after almost 51 years of marriage we have accumulated many things. If we are honest we will say we have all we need. As I said, it is slow but it is a great relief to see the garage, shed, washroom, inside the house and cupboards having “breathing space”. When “getting rid of clutter, unused and unneeded items” is understood correctly it creates great relief and comfort for the one ‘cleaning out”. As I look at the next section in the account of king Josiah, I see the same thing taking place, though it is “getting rid of idols and irreligious objects” that polluted God’s temple, the hills and other places were pagans (such as the majority of Judah were) gathered to worship their evil gods that replace the God of Judah and Creation. Once the people heard the king read the Word of God to them and they renewed the covenant of God, the king proceeds with a program of reformation. This is vital for a spiritual revival because God does not use “dirty utensils” in His Kingdom and for His Kingdom work. We need to return to this matter soon.
1) Reformation, the first step.
2Ki 23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel.
The king “ordered” the spiritual leaders and protectors of the temple to clean up everything his grandfather and father brought into God’s Temple. The term “order” is a strong word, loaded with authority and urgency. Here we see the removal of all pagan vessels from God’s House. Josiah wanted His God’s abode to be available and used for the worship and adoration of the true God. What items do you have in your church that might not conform to true reformed, protestant, evangelical Christianity?
2) Reformation, the second step.
2Ki 23:5 He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. This action was executed by the king himself.
He deposed of pagan clergy. Wicked kings appointed the pagan clerics and this good king saw it as his responsibility to fire them. Wicked spiritual leaders have disastrous effects on the people of God. They are deceitful and after personal gain … and prevent people from knowing God personally. One cannot repeat it enough … churches and church councils need to be extremely careful when appointing pastors. It is not how glamorous they look; how well-spoken they are; how well they know the Bible or how many degrees they have. The enemy appears in many shapes. They are subtle in seducing the people of God, ruining the church and bringing scorn upon the glorious name of Jesus. Prayer, investigation, examination and help from others are needed before appointing a pastor.
3) Reformation, third step.
2Ki 23:6 He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people.
I would suggest the king needed help to uproot the Asherah Pole from the Temple of God. He burnt it away from the City of God. He took the charcoal, ground it to powder before … scattering the dust over the graves of the common people. This was not being disrespectful. To touch the dead or a grave was seen as defiling oneself. So, taking the ashes of the Asherah Pole and scattering it over these graves was seen as defiling the idol! Are you getting rid of anything linked to idols in a decisively manner and even in a public manner?
4) Reformation, fourth step.
2Ki 23:7 He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah.
This ancient Palestinian practice in pagan temples was forbidden by God in the Mosaic Law
Dt 23:17 No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. 18 You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the LORD your God to pay any vow, because the LORD your God detests them both.
The person, the act and the earnings were detestable to God. It seems as though the women of verse 7 made curtains (weaving) to hang up behind which the ritual obscenities were performed. Some say prostitution is the oldest profession … but that does not mean it is accepted by God, whether it is for religious rituals or not. Any form or shape of sexual immorality (this includes any sex outside of a monogamous marriage union) is forbidden by God. We might live in the 21 Century where the terms “modern and liberal” are implied when it comes prostitution, pornography, to living together, having casual sex, fornication, homosexuality (male and female), bi-sexuality, polygamy, polyandry, etc. making them all acceptable, might please man but angers God. Romans chapter 1 is a good example and illustration of God’s wrath against sexual sin. Included will be one’s fantasies. Sex between a husband and wife, although physical has a spiritual dimension. See
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
5) Reformation, step five.
2Ki 23:8 Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense.
He broke down the shrines at the gates—at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate.
2Ki 23:9 Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
The king forced the priests of God who participated in pagan worship into compulsory retirement and destroyed the shrines where they served. He did however permit a limited pension … they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. Christian workers who drift into non gospel practices ought not to serve in the church. Politicians are for parliament. Entertainer for the stage. Non-Christian religions have no place in the church. Revival demands cleaning up!
Lord help us to clean up our church. Amen.