We have been speaking about the need to clean up every aspect of one’s life and church life, laying the foundation for holy living for the people of God, so setting the stage for a possible visitation of God by His Spirit in a true revival. Yesterday we looked at 2 Kings 22:4-9 and observe 5 necessities needed before God may visit. Let us continue this and again see how we can apply it to ourselves and our church.
6) Reformation, step six. What is so impressive is that the king himself was at the helm of removing all the evil and religious filth from the nation.
2Ki 23:10 He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. I would like you to see how sacred human life is.
Josiah’s father, king Manasseh had built an altar to the pagan idol god Molech, known as Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom (called Gehenna [gĭ-hĕn′ə]). The purpose of this altar was possibly the most disgusting, cruel and sinister thing anyone could participate in. The children of worshippers were sacrificed to this idol god Molech. As the fires burned, so the worshipper would let the child role down his outstretched arms into the fire and be burnt to death. Yes, it was nothing short of barbaric murder in the extreme. Manasseh offered some of his children in this abominable ritual. No religion can convince me that their god requires such an offering of a child. The Valley of Hinnom is the modern name for the valley surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City, including Mount Zion, from the west and south. It meets and merges with the Kidron Valley, the other principal valley around the Old City, near the southeastern corner of the city. During the reign of King Josiah, the Hinnon Valley was condemned as an unholy place. Centuries later Gehenna had become the garbage dump of Jerusalem. Rubbish, bones, decaying carcasses filled this desolate valley, and the continual fire burning the trash seemed indestructible. Every baby is a gift from God. Whether planned or not … whether wanted or not … God and only God is the giver of life. I always remember Pam Stenzil saying her father was a rapist. She thanked God that although her mother gave her away at birth, she did not abort her. Christians understand that human life begins at conception … not as some would say … once the “fetus” is viable.
Ps 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
At the same time we are reminded that in the context of life and death Job said
Job 1:21 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Allow me at this point to take you on a short journey without digressing too much (I hope). Churches, denominations and church groups as well as individual Christians have been making submissions due to the “Bill before parliament” regarding hate speech. It is felt that because of the Bible’s message, pastors as well as Christians could open themselves up to hate speech by saying Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven as well as teaching the Bible’s dogma, doctrines, morals and ethics. This is nothing new. When I taught at a high school in the late 1990’s we were expected as Guidance Teachers to make condoms available to the grade 12’s, teach all religions are equal, etc. This battle has been raging for years throughout the world. In Britain, Christians need to be extremely careful what they say. Why are we in this mess today? Because the Church has over many years permitted itself to be compromised by the world and politics. Gospel morality has been eroded! Let’s take an example … if the country is 70 percent Christian, why has the church allowed abortion, homosexual marriage, mercy killing and many other issues? Surely if a country is 70 percent Christian, politicians and parliament must be 70 percent Christian too. Sadly the Church has turned from trusting God to trusting man, from obeying the Bible to being scared of the authorities and from seeking holiness to compromising with the world. I will suggest that the condition of the Church and the State is the Church’s fault. We are called to pray for the state and we don’t. We are told to obey the authorities but never to compromise the Bible. As soon as the Church becomes compromised, the church tends to sacrifice its children, be it through abortion, evolutionary teaching, sex education by those whose morals might not be that of Scripture, etc. The only way towards a recovery is for the church and its people to honor God through obeying the Scriptures and living holy lives … intentionally … even if we are despised.
7) Reformation, step seven. The king cleaned up the temple.
2Ki 23:11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melech. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. 12 He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the LORD.
He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. The “horses” and “chariots” could have been large statues but were most likely smaller ornaments dedicated to the sun god because it was believed the sun god drove through the skies on his chariot. The king removed and destroyed these. Altars that his father and grandfather polluted the temple of God with were removed and broken up and likely with the horse / chariot remains thrown into the Kidron Valley. He was decisive, deliberate and passionate. Everything ungodly needed to go! God’s House must be holy and used for holy purposes. In applying this to you and me … we need to listen carefully to
1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
This is extremely serious. Look at those words … God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. If you are God’s temple, you are sacred and you may not allowed deliberate un-holiness to pollute God’s sacred holy temple. Together, holy and sacred believers forming the Church are responsible for keeping the Church holy and sacred for God’s use. Think about how radical king Josiah was. Will you be radical too for the sake of King Jesus and His Cause?
Dear God, our Glorious, Holy Father, please grant us the ability to live in holiness so that You are pleasured and we faithful in service. Amen.