2 Kings 22:1-20
A lot of Christians I know, in fact all of the serious ones, are really concerned about the spiritual condition of the church in America. We know that there are a lot of problems among us. Of course, there’s the obvious: Sex and money are the downfall of many pastors who ought to know better. The divorce rates of Christians and non-Christians are virtually indistinguishable. There are waaaaaaay too many Christians (or pseudo-Christians) who use the banner of our Savior as a cover for shoddy or shady business practices. I can only dream of a day in which the name “Christian” is synonymous in the business world with honesty, integrity, and a great quality of service or product. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
So if that’s what’s happening, then what can we do about it? Well, in a sense there’s nothing we can do. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives life to the church, and he’s the only one who can do that. He alone can stir up the hearts of people which have gone cold. But we can work with him, or rather for him, as we seek his guidance and power.
With the understanding that only the Lord working through his Spirit can truly revive the church, how does he work through us to accomplish this? What’s our part in his plan? The obvious first answer is prayer. As he moves our hearts, he is inviting us to plead with him to work in other peoples’ hearts as well.
Second, the love for God’s word must come back to the church at large. As you can see from today’s passage, Josiah’s heart was broken when he was exposed to Scripture for the first time. Most Bible scholars believe that what the priests found was the book of Deuteronomy, which laid out in very specific details what the nation of Israel could expect if they turned away from their Redeemer. God’s word was the catalyst for Josiah’s sweeping reforms in the next chapter. Like we discussed three days ago, the Bible tells us that there was no king quite like Josiah, before or after him, who was as zealous for obeying God’s law. And it all started with handing him a scroll.
I do have to add a caveat, however. As you read in the last verses of today’s passage, Josiah’s reforms didn’t lead to a true, long-lasting, nation-wide revival. What we read about, however, was a personal revival in Josiah’s life. His soul was ignited in godly fear for his people, and he turned his own life around and also instituted national reforms which affected everyone. Even though he didn’t succeed in bringing about permanent national change, he got himself right with his Lord.
The point I’m making is this. I don’t know if the Lord is going to bring about a national revival like he has several times in the past. I believe so, but I don’t have any special “hotline” to God’s plans. I do know, however, that I can have a personal revival in my life. And if there is going to be a national revival, then it’s going to start with ordinary individual Christians like you and me, spending time in God’s word and on our knees. Do you want to see it happen? Then you know what you need to do.
Lord Jesus, please use your word like a surgeon’s scalpel on me, cutting and healing at the same time. Change me into your likeness. You’ve done it before, so please do it again.