A Tale of Two Kings
Today, Joanne J Thomas shared from the old testament, a message titled "A Tale of Two Kings." It was about the two kings in the bible who had so much in common, but yet their lives ended so contrastingly. She shared the stories of the youngest kings to take the thrones of Judah and Israel - Joash and Josiah. Joash was the youngest king to take the throne of Judah. He was raised by his wicked grandmother and so was Josiah the youngest King of Israel, he too, was raised by a wicked family.
In 2 Chronicles 24:1-2, we read about Joash, it says "... Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest." In 2 Kings 22:1-2, we read about Josiah, and this is what it says about him, "... he (Josiah) did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
Both of these young kings of ages 7 and 8, were Kings of a nation. They held the fate of an entire nation in their hands. But apart from all these similarities, something that makes them so alike is that both of these young kings decided to rebuild the temple of God.
So what made these kings so strikingly different from each other?
Let's start with Joash. In 2 Chronicles 24:12-14, we read that Joash hired workmen to repair the temple and make it strong and beautiful on the outside. He focused on the external parts of the temple, he mended the parts that people saw from the outside. Now let's contrast this to what we read about Josiah's rebuilding process, recorded in 2 Kings 22:5-10. Josiah, on the other hand, discovers the Book of the Law while rebuilding the temple of God.
Now how did Josiah get hold of something that Joash didn't?
First, Joash knew the book of the Law because it was taught to him by Jehoiada, the one who raised him, but Josiah knew the book of the Law because he searched for it. Joash knew the law because that was what he was taught, that was all he knew. Joash that kid who grew up in a Christian home, following what was taught. He knew all the right things to say, and all the right things to do. But the second Jehoiada died, all of that faded away. In 2 Chron 24:17-18, we read that Joash continued listening but to the wrong people, who did not follow the law and the ways of the Lord. This is the striking contrast! Joash hearkened to people and was faithful to the man who put him on the throne. But Josiah was faithful only to the God, who put him on the throne.
If your faith in God is dependent on the faith of the people around you, then your faith is as the seed sowed on stony ground and as soon as adversity comes, it will wither away!
We may think we know every Bible story, every message that the pastor could possibly preach because we've heard it all before, but there is a reason that the Psalmist says "Your word I have hidden in my heart, not my parents heart, not my church pastor's heart, not my friends heart, but MY heart that I might not sin against you"
Remember, Joash and Josiah were not isolated in their belief. Their faith changed a whole nation and led a generation to follow God. When Josiah chose to follow God, he called all the people together, he said no matter what you choose, this is my choice, this is my decision, and we are changing as a nation. Just like Joshua said to the people of Israel, Choose this day who you will serve but as for ME and MY house we will serve the Lord.
Our faith cannot depend on the people around us, it cannot depend on our circumstances, it has to be US saying here and now, this is where I take my stand. And that's what Josiah did. He changed a whole nation because that is what faith does! Joash chose to follow the crowd but Josiah chose to change it! We've got to choose if we're gonna be a crowd follower or world changer.
Because only one of those, God calls us to do! He calls us to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. He says, don't follow the world, follow me and watch what I do to change the world through you.
Following God needs to be a personal decision. It can't be your parents, your church or those around you. It has to be YOU, from the bottom of your heart saying this is MY decision, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back!