Devoted to His Cause

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2 Kings 23:25–27 NKJV
25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 26 Nevertheless the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 And the Lord said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”
There are many reasons that young believers choose to sit on the sidelines when it comes to contributing to the kingdom. Some feel inadequate, some feel uncommitted, some feel unsure, and some feel disqualified. And if that’s you today, I want you to know that King Josiah a similar story in 2 Kings 22. In the chapter before this, we find that his grandpa was King Manasseh and his dad was King Amon. To give you a little insight into the lives of these guys, 2 Kings 21:16 says,
2 Kings 21:16 NKJV
16 Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord.
After Manasseh dies, his son, Amon, comes to the throne and 2 Kings 21:20-22 says
2 Kings 21:20–22 NKJV
20 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 So he walked in all the ways that his father had walked; and he served the idols that his father had served, and worshiped them. 22 He forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.
So not only was Josiah’s grandpa an evil and blood thirsty King, but his own father was one as well. The Bible tells us that the servants of King Amon decided to conspire against him, so they made a plan and killed him in his own house and that meant that the next King would be Amon’s son, Josiah. Now, if the examples that you’ve had around you are nothing but wickedness, you’d think that he would follow in the same path, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s not the case with King Josiah’s life. As a matter of fact, 2 Kings 22:2 tells us that Josiah, “Did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”
So, what we learn about Josiah was that he wasn’t a guy that was going to let his home life define him, he was committed to following the way of the Lord regardless of what his background was. But that’s not all. It isn’t as though Josiah was an elderly man at the time of his ascent to power. As a matter of fact, verse one tells us that he was only 8 years old.
This is the story of Josiah. He’s a young boy, he comes from wicked men, and he’s ruling over a wicked nation. But regardless of the odds stacked against him, he wasn’t looking for disqualifiers, he was looking to be devoted to the Lord. So, if you’re here tonight and you’re frozen in your commitment to the cause of Christ because you feel inadequate because of your age, or because of your past, or because of your family, then this is for you.
So tonight, if we are going to be devoted to His cause, we have to move beyond looking for excuses which is our first point:

Don’t Look for Disqualifiers

Guys, what I want us to grab a hold of here tonight is that God isn’t looking for your pedigree. He isn’t concerned with your family history, or your education, or your past, He’s concerned with your devotion to Him. So, if you are sitting here tonight, and you know in your heart you love the Lord but you’ve been pushing off serving Him because of something you think is disqualifying, throw that off and commit to following Christ and living for His glory.
Once you make this decision, it doesn’t mean that life is going to be sunshine and rainbows. That certainly wasn’t the story for Josiah. As a matter of fact, when He ascended the throne, there were pagan idols all throughout Israel. But that didn’t stop him, and although our society is dark today, that shouldn’t stop us. Once we get past this habit of looking for disqualifiers, we have to understand our second point which is that:

Dark Times Call for Deep Roots

Illustration: Nokseng was the first Christian convert in his tribe in India. When the chief discovered his conversion, he brought Nokseng before the village and demanded that he recant or else his children would be killed. To this, Nokseng responded, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” As Nokseng’s lifeless children lay before him, the chief then demanded that if he would not leave Christianity, then they would kill his wife next. To which he responded, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” Finally, the chief gave him one last chance before they would go on to take Nokseng’s own life to which he responded, “The world behind me, the cross before me.” It is said that after this family of believers were put to death, that the chief’s heart was convicted and he too came to follow Christ. This event would go on to inspire the hymn, “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
The reality is that we live in a dark world and if we are going to stand for Christ, we must have deep roots that keep us anchored in His promises even in the face of hardship.
Well, in chapter 22, we read that King Josiah wanted work to be done to the Temple so he had his men hire workers to begin the project. Well, while this was taking place these men found what is called, “The Book of the Law” which are the first five books of the Bible and when this what brought to Josiah, he read them, and 2 Kings 22:11-13
2 Kings 22:11–13 NKJV
11 Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. 12 Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
What we see here is that Josiah was a man with a tender heart towards the word of God, as a matter of fact that’s exactly what verse 19 tells us. Although things were dark, although sin was running rampant, although it may have been more comfortable for Josiah to ignore the word, He was sensitive to what it said and the Lord, as we will see in chapter 23, used this to bring about a mighty change in the nation of Israel through him.
What I want us to decide for ourselves today is that although the world is dark, and although it seems like our country is getting darker by the moment, we have to decide that we are going to stand upon the word of God. That we are going to read it, obey it, and live it in our lives and although the storms of life might blow us around, we have determined that we will have our roots dug into the promises of God. And we will do that because, as our last point says, we must:

Determine That He is Worthwhile

Illustration: In the mid 2000’s Olympic weightlifter Matthias Steiner had determined that he was going to hang up his career but his wife, Susan, encouraged him to keep competing. With her encouragement, he promised her that he would win a gold medal for her and began training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Tragically, in 2007, his wife Susan was killed in a car accident. Although his precious wife was gone, Matthias determined that he would compete to honor the years of encouragement his wife gave him and as he stepped on the stage that day in Beijing, he earned the gold medal. Although the source of his encouragement was gone, he found a reason to keep pressing on.
Well, as we saw in those verses a moment ago, Josiah sends his servants to go seek the Lord concerning the condition of Israel and so God sends them to a prophetess and here is what she says. 2 Kings 22:15-20
2 Kings 22:15–20 NKJV
15 Then she said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to Me, 16 “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants—all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read—17 because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands. Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.’ ” ’ 18 But as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, in this manner you shall speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Concerning the words which you have heard—19 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord. 20 Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.” ’ ” So they brought back word to the king.
So, because Israel forsook the Lord, which violated the covenant that God made with them at Sinai, He is going to judge them. But God says that because of the faithfulness of Josiah, He will not judge them while he is alive. Now, if I told you that you were going to work on something with all of your might, but that as soon as you left it it would be destroyed, would you still devote your whole life to that one thing? This was exactly what Josiah was facing, but we don’t find any hesitation in his life. As a matter of fact, the very next thing we find is in chapter 23 and what we find is that Josiah is committed to that nation honoring the Lord. In verses 1-3, He leads the nation to commit to the covenant they made with God and from verse 4 all the way down to verse 20 we read story after story of Josiah marching through the land and destroying all of the pagan idols in Israel.
Now, what I find remarkable here is that not only do we find him destroying them, but we also find in verse 16 that Josiah was digging up dead men’s bones and throwing them on top of these pagan altars to defile them. What’s crazy about this is that the pagan’s seriously feared the gods and were worried about provoking them to anger. But Josiah could seriously care less, because in His mind there is only one true God and He is worthy to be served.
In verse 21-22, Josiah calls the nation to gather together to enjoy the Passover Meal which was a meal set aside to remember God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from their slavery to Egypt. So, what we see here is a story of the Bible showing them their sinfulness, a repentance of that sin, and a remembrance of the salvation of the Lord.
What is important for us to understand here is that Josiah knew that as soon as he died, God was going to judge these people. But that didn’t stop Josiah from devoting his whole life to seeing that God was glorified through Judah. Why? Because he believed that God is worth glorifying with everything we have. And although the world around us is falling apart and we know that one day Jesus is going to return and He is going to judge the living and the dead, He is worth fighting for, He is worth serving with everything we have right here and right now.

Jesus and Josiah

Unfortunately, in the end of chapter 23, we find that Josiah marches out to fight against Egypt and is killed in battle which means his son would become king. Well, Jehoahaz was captured after reigning for three months and his brother Jehoiakim would become king for the next eleven years and 2 Kings 23:37 says:
2 Kings 23:37 NKJV
37 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
The very next chapter goes on to tell us that Judah would be attacked and over run. So what we find from the life of Josiah is a man who loved the Lord devotedly, but as much as he loved Him, he couldn’t take the judgment that his people deserved. This is meant to point us to Josiah’s greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus loved God perfectly and never failed, but not only that, but He came that He might take all of the judgement of God for us that we might go free.
What I want us to get from this is although we might decide to labor for God, and make changes for God, if we are not truly forgiven through Jesus, God’s wrath is still on us. Not only that, but the only way that this world will truly be changed is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, as you remove the excuses from your life, as you anchor yourself in God’s word, and as you determine in your heart that God is worth serving; make sure that you go forward not in your own power, but in the power of the Lord, resting in His gospel.
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