Never Too Late | Josiah | PART 4
Join us we look at the story of Josiah in 2 Chronicles, seeing how when they hear the truth about how far they have fallen, the entire nation repents. It's never too late!
Series: Never Too Late,
Speaker: Pastor Don Dodge,
Scripture: Romans 3:23, 2 Chronicles 34:2, 2 Chronicles 34:5, 2 Chronicles 34:14, 2 Chronicles 34:19, 2 Chronicles 34:21, 2 Chronicles 34:22, 2 Chronicles 34:27-28, 2 Chronicles 24:30-31, 2 Chronicles 34:33, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Psalms 51:16, Psalms 51:17,
Sermon page: https://www.avalonchurch.org/sermons/never-too-late-josiah-part-4/,
Sermon Notes: 2020-08-09_never-too-late-part-4_sermon-notes.pdf,
Discussion Questions: 2020-08-09_never-too-late-part-3_discussion-questions.pdf,
Thank you – Sound equipment.
As long as you have breath,
It’s never too late
to find life and purpose and hope in Jesus.
Story – Palace pizza employee who said the walls would cave in.
When he visited, they didn’t.
And he found hope and life.
This is a series looking at stories in the book of Chronicles
Where people’s lives turned around
When they submitted their lives to God.
Before jumping into today’s Scripture,
I’d like to share the story of a man in our church family, Ron Culibao.
Ron Culibao’s story
I was born in the Philippines to a devout Catholic family where my father worked for the Jesuit priests for the 35 years of his working life. He and my mother were very active with our parochial church. Attending and serving in church was a big part of our family life.
I always believed in God, but that didn’t translate to anything in my life. For me, God was just a higher being you prayed to, requesting his blessings. You tried to earn his favor by performing ceremonies and reciting prayers. The concept of a holy or personal God was not something that I understood.
I considered myself a good and moral person. I had my smoking habit and occasional drinking, but I thought I was a good guy. I lived life carefree and the way I wanted.
It was in my first year of college that I felt God’s sovereign hands working.
It was one of the top engineering schools in Manila, but my grades were bad. So, they kicked me out. I remember spending the entire semester break applying to different schools hoping they would accept me. For a long time, none of them did. It was only my first year of college and I was already desperate, feeling worthless and helpless.
The coming semester was about to start when I was finally accepted by a school. I barely made it in. I changed my major from Engineering to Architecture, and looking back now, I truly believe that God was orchestrating those events in my life.
It was in Architecture School where I met Ron, who became my best friend. Ron is a very friendly guy and there was something very different about him.
He invited me to attend a small group gathering called “student fellowship” where I met people who loved studying the Bible and worshipping Jesus. I met people who were full of love and joy, and who were very sincere and bold in their faith. They were different than anyone I had me before.
I liked hanging out with these people. Through them, God slowly started to work in my heart. I started to read the Bible and join in worship services. I had not yet fully committed my life to God, but there were changes happening in me and the way I thought about God.
Then, at a student summer camp in 1986, I put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s also when I met Norma, my wife-to-be.
It was that week at camp where I recognized my sinfulness. I felt so broken. Romans 3:23 says – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The Lord showed how holy he is, and how my sins were an offense to his holiness. I needed His forgiveness and His grace. I needed to humble myself and pray and ask for His forgiveness.
All these years later, I cannot imagine how my life would have been if I didn’t have God in my life. God’s love and forgiveness have given me purpose and direction.
God found me and saved me in His perfect time. He revealed His great love and forgiveness for me even when I wasn’t looking for Him.
He used one person to reach me just by being there as a friend. It wasn’t any deep theological revelations that touched me, it was that sincere and patient love of a friend.
I know that my story is not unique. God can touch a person no matter what stage or situation in life they are in. God immeasurable love can reach any person’s heart.
Now I live my life with my beautiful family under God’s amazing love and grace.
To God be the glory!
God is constantly drawing us to himself.
But we want to be in control.
We want life on our terms.
We want to be God.
And we face the consequences of our brokenness.
We are born sinful and self-centered.
But sometimes, our eyes are opened.
When we realize how selfish we can be,
Or we face the awful consequences of our decisions,
Or we see the emptiness of always getting what we want.
It’s in those moments we are faced with a choice.
...Do we submit to a higher authority?
...Do we accept God’s desire and purpose over own?
...Do we die to self,
trusting that it will truly bring life?
What do we do when we’re shown who we really are?
That’s what today’s story is about.
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. –2Chron 34:1 (NLT)
2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. – 2 Chron. 34:2 (NLT)
Remember, 2 Chronicles was one of the last books
written in the Old Testament.
The writers had perspective.
They were looking hopefully to God’s future rescue.
The days of Abraham and Moses were ancient history for them,
Like a thousand years earlier.
King David was 500 years earlier.
That’s a lot of perspective.
Since King David they had seen,
...Their nation split into 2, North and South.
...The people of God becoming the people of Baal and other gods.
2 weeks ago, we looked Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh,
Who even sacrificed his own children to foreign gods.
The writer of Chronicles saw all this,
...And how it led to the destruction of the Northern Kingdom.
...And then the exile of the Southern Kingdom.
The writer saw how the prophets kept promising
that God would restore
...and the temple,
...and renew his people as a lighthouse to the world.
So when the exiled Jews living in Babylon
were allowed to go home,
...everyone thought that the prophecies
were finally being fulfilled.
But the return was a letdown.
Most of the Jews stayed in Babylon.
And God’s Spirit never returned to the temple.
And Jerusalem was still in ruins.
And the nation was still under the control of foreigners.
And this is why the book of Chronicles is so important.
It was written with perspective
long after all these events happened.
They looked back and recognized that God was NOT done.
...Isaiah’s prophecies of the coming Messiah
Had not been fulfilled.
The Messiah had not come.
...Not yet, anyways.
But this king from the line of David was coming.
And he would be a king like David,
... only better!
He would upright and holy.
He would bring God’s Spirit.
He would free the nation.
He would like a Son of Man,
...leading the people into God’s kingdom.
And that had not happened yet.
So the writers of Chronicles are looking forward
To the coming of the Messiah who would be called Jesus.
So in verse 3,
we see that in his 8th year as King,
At about age 16,
...King Josiah began to seek...
...the God of his great, great, great... grandfather David.
Then, around the age of 20,
He started cleaning up the remnants of the pagan Gods.
...And so he purified Judah and Jerusalem. –2 Chronicles 34:5 (NLT)
And what’s so cool is that
Just like his great grandfather, Hezekiah,
...Who Jim talked about last week,
...Josiah wanted to include the N. Kingdom.
...so that they could all worship as one people of the One God.
Then, after 6 years of cleaning up,
... it was time to restore the Temple of God.
...And this is where the story gets interesting.
14 While they were bringing out the money collected at the Lord’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses. –2 Chron 34:14 (NLT)
They found a scroll.
...They knew it was something special,
...something that might change everything.
So they brought the scroll and read it to the king.
19 When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. –2 Chron 34:19 (NLT)
Can this scroll be right?
Could we have missed it by this much?
Josiah needed help understanding what the scroll said.
So he said,
21 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord. We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.” -2 Chron 34:21
Josiah was saying,
“We need to pray and seek the Lord.”
“And we need to get counsel
...from someone who can teach us
what God is saying through this scroll.”
And ladies, you’re going to love this.
22 So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe. –2 Chron 34:22 (NLT)
Of all the prophets at their disposal,
They chose the female prophet Huldah to interpret the scroll.
So, who were the prophets at this time?
Prophets available to Josiah:
Jeremiah (Bible book)
Zephaniah (Bible book)
Nahum (Bible book)
Habakkuk (Bible book)
Josiah and his priest had these incredible prophets at their disposal,
And they chose Huldah,
...Not because a man wasn’t available,
...But because she was truly exceptional among the prophets.
And Huldah confirmed the scroll was God’s Torah.
And then, unafraid to tell the truth,
She informed Josiah that judgment was coming,
And that the nation would suffer the consequences
of their disobedience.
But then she spoke for God,
27 You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord.
28 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’ ” –2 Chron 34:27-28 (NLT)
And as a result of Huldah’s explanation,
Josiah summoned all of the leaders of the nation
to come to the Temple.
30 ...There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 31 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence.
He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. –2 Chron. 24:30-31 (NLT)
...And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors. –2 Chron 34:33 (NLT)
Many scholars the scroll that was found
Was the book of Deuteronomy,
...the 5th book of our Bible.
And what we see is that the people
had no idea what the book said.
Reading it opened their eyes to how far they had strayed
...from their God,
...from their history,
...from their purpose.
The people had no idea what was in the scriptures.
And instead of being light and hope to the world,
They made no impact at all.
But once they heard,
They responded well.
And that’s the message for us.
You (Application. So What?)
We have no choice about the way we were raised.
...Some listening were raised by godly parents.
...Others are raised to accomplish more and get more.
...Others, you were abused and left to fend for yourselves.
We have no control how we were brought up.
But what we do control is how we respond
when our eyes are opened to the truth about ourselves;
...Our propensity to be selfish;
...the pain we have caused;
...And how little we can do to change.
Sometimes this moment of clarity
Comes from an event we experience.
Sometimes it’s a conversation with a friend.
For some, it’s listening to a teaching,
...or reading the Scriptures,
...or God just speaking to your heart.
But when those moments of clarity come,
What do you do?
...Do you do nothing?
...Knowing the feeling will eventually pass?
...Because it probably will?
Or do you respond?
Do you repent and begin the process of change?
...Just like Josiah did?
He was only in his 20’s.
But he knew it wasn’t all about him.
And he even recognized his limitations with the Scriptures.
So, he sought counsel from wise people he respected.
Hilkiah the priest.
Huldah the prophet.
They affirmed it was the Lord who was speaking.
And in response, Josiah submitted.
He died to self,
...And found life.
In last week’s story we read,
9 ...For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.” – 2 Chron 30:9 (NLT)
King David, who is in the background
of the entire book of Chronicles,
Was caught in the unspeakable sin of adultery and murder.
And when confronted he repented and prayed,
16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. –Psalm 51:16 (NLT)
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. –Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
You see we are all sinners.
None of us measure up to who we were created to be.
I met with someone this past week
to invite them to pray about potentially becoming an elder.
They were hesitant.
They said they picture an elder
...having this perfect relationship with God,
...One who knows scripture inside and out,
...and who doesn't struggle with the same sins
the rest of us struggle with.
And I smiled and asked,
“Do you know who you just described?”
Becoming like him is our desire and goal
But none of us have arrived, yet.
“You know what a real elder looks like?
...The kind who actually exists?”
It’s a person who recognizes their everyday need for Jesus,
It’s a person who spends time with Jesus
and is mature in Jesus.
It’s a person that when Jesus reveals
an area of weakness or sin,
...They humble themselves and repent
and ask for strength to overcome.
It’s a person who continually seeks to submit to the Lord
And NOT their own pride,
God desires humility and brokenness.
He desires a repentant heart.
That when confronted in our sin,
As followers of Jesus, our only response is
I was wrong.
Help me follow you.
Transform me into your image.
I can’t do it without you.
So in the moment of clarity,
How do you respond?
And will you respond?