Monday, June 27, 2011

Josiah and Family

Josiah and Family

Well here we are back again.

I have preached on how people around you can affect your proximity to God, then my next sermon was about how God uses troubles and trials to bring us to become closer to Him, and then my last sermon was about how we can spend more time with God through the method of praying and reading the Bible. Each of them are methods God uses to bring people to a closer communion with God, or possibly the Devil may use the same methods in drawing you further from God. So today we are going to look at another aspect which will make a huge difference on a Christians walk through life. And that is the Family.

We will look at the family today mostly in connection with King Josiah of Judah, and how the family shaped his walking with God.

The hard part, however, is that family is something we are born into and we don’t get to choose our family. And we know from experience that Christians are drawn in from all walks of life, some are born into very Godly families, some are born into very wicked families. But one thing is certain, that they will take note of how family life affects a person, and seek the Lord’s help when they are called to start their own family.

It is true that the family plays an important role in our lives, but it also follows that we also make a big impact on other members of our family.

I get the feeling that maybe I’m waffling on a little bit, so I hope that in the following sermon that I will be able to make the subject a lot clearer to you by studying the life of King Josiah.

King Josiah’s story can be read in 2 Kings 22 and 23 and also in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35.

I will be turning to quite a few verses in the Bible, so I advise you to keep it handy.

I’m sure you have all heard of King Josiah. He was one of the few Godly kings of Judah. After the reign of a few ungodly kings, it was Josiah who ordered that the temple of God be re-established and encouraged the nation to worship God as He should be worshipped. We must always that the Lord if He blesses our nation with Godly rulers.

But it’s not really with Josiah that I want to start my study, it is with his grandfather King Manasseh, where our narrative really begins. Remember the subject of our sermon, it is the family, and we shall see what effect King Manasseh had on his grandson.

If you know your Bible well you will know that king Manasseh was the wickedest king Judah had ever seen. He completely led Israel astray, encouraging them to worship all kinds of false gods. Why could someone be so wicked? Well, Manasseh was probably thinking that adopting all these false gods was doing Israel a favour... you see, he adopts a god from Egypt, and one from Arabia, one from Babylon, and one from the Persians, and in this way he is bringing Judah closer to the other nations, in effect stopping all chances of war occurring. In a way it looked as if Manasseh was a great king, he might even been labelled the Peaceful King. See how that when we are in sin, the greatest sinners can look like saints!

Well time passes and God brings Manasseh into trouble, he is taken captive by the Assyrians and brought into Babylon and put in prison.

Remember what I said about troubles and trials? God only chastens his sons... if you are a child of God and you are walking in sins, God will not leave you like that, He will cause trouble to come on you that you will realise that you are not doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

So it happened that while Manasseh was in prison in Babylon that he saw the error of his ways, and he was given a spirit of true prayer, and prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord heard his prayer, and delivered him out from prison, and he was restored unto his kingdom.

The evidence of Manasseh’s repentance is shown in that he cast out all the idols, and rebuilt the sacred places of God. You see, we can’t repent one day and then live like sinners ever after. If we are living like sinners now, it is quite likely that we never repented in the first place. Paul Washer says that the evidence that we truly repented then was that we are still repenting today.

So in relation to Josiah, how would he have viewed his grandfather? Would he have seen him as the most ungodly king in history?

Well, if we do a bit of mathematics, we can look in the book of 2 Chronicles, and in 34:1 we see that Josiah was 8 when he became king, his father Amon reigned for 2 years (33:21) and the King before him was Manasseh, so we take away 2 from the 8, so Josiah was 6 when Manasseh died, just old enough to understand a lot of what his grandfather taught him. If we look in 33:14-16, we will see all the work that Manasseh did after his conversion, and that must have taken quite a few years, so it’s quite likely that through Josiah’s life he had a Godly grandfather to look after him..

You could imagine the conversations the Godly Manasseh would have with his young grandson. Manasseh would tell Josiah all about how he was the chief of sinners but God had mercy on him, and if God could have mercy on such a wicked sinner why couldn’t He have mercy on his young grandson? I’m sure in those six years, Manasseh had the time to teach his grandson how to pray.

I could talk all day about King Manasseh, but there are a few other family members I need to talk about.

So at the age of 67 King Manasseh dies, and his 20 year old son Amon becomes the new king. In 2 Chronicles 33:22 it tells us that king Amon “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”.

Let’s look at it from Amon’s point of view for a moment. Amon was a prince, that means he could do whatever he wanted; he had a great dad whose philosophy was that life’s short so enjoy it and get the most out of life. Amon just wanted to party all the time, and that’s just what he was able to do, and his dad was fine with that! Then while Amon was still in his early teens his dad is taken off as a captive, but that’s not the worst thing... Dad comes back bonkers! Insane! Dad thinks that there is a God, and that God says we can’t have fun and get drunk every night. Dad’s a real killjoy isn’t he now?

Amon won’t listen to his father’s instructions... he falls in love with a girl when he’s 14, he marries her when he’s 15, even though his father advised that he wait until he is mature enough to lead a household to pray and worship God. Amon’s philosophy is have as much fun as you can so he marries the girl, and she becomes pregnant, and their first Son is born, and they call him Josiah.

At the age of 20 Amon’s father dies, and he is left with the responsibility to lead the nation of Judah! It is no wander that such a foolish young man leads the nation astray.

But I don’t reckon that Amon was so much a popular king, I don’t think his servants really liked his arrogant attitude, and eventually Amon is murdered in his own house by his servants.

And now at the very young age of 8, King Josiah was crowned and placed on the throne of Judah.

Josiah was a great king, he remembered what his grandfather taught him, and encouraged all Judah to worship the one true God.

One thing I would like to mention about Josiah is that he found the book of the law in the temple... that would be the first 5 books of the Bible that Moses wrote under the inspiration of God. And he ordered that the book be read to him, and in reading that book he was convicted of things that he wasn’t doing right and those wrong things he was doing, and he repented. It is important to prayerfully read the Bible and when given a word from God to seek to do what He commands.

There’s so much that I would like to say about Josiah but I seem to have run out of time.

One last thing I would like to point out is Josiah’s son and successor of the crown: Jehoahaz.

In 2 Kings 23:31 it says that Jehoahaz’s mother, and presumably Josiah’s first wife was from Libnah, presumably a foreign woman, a non Jew, who was not brought up to serve to Lord. All I will say is that in choosing a wife we must be aware of what effect it can have on our children. Josiah’s wife was a non believer and so her children were not taught the fear of the Lord, and they did that which was wrong in the sight of the Lord.

All I want to end with today is that I hope you will think prayerfully about the things we have discussed here, and think of the ways in which you affect the people around you, both in your family and close friends, and I hope you will be shown ways in which you can influence them for good.

There is a warning, however, you alone are responsible for your walk with God, and you must never blame your upbringing for the way you act. You are responsible to God, not your parents. The point of this sermon is that you will look to future generations and help them in their walk with God.

The Lord bless his word.


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