Thursday, January 12, 2012
It's OK to feel bad.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.
2 Kings 22:11
The repentant heart is moved by godly sorrow, as evidenced by Josiah's actions here. Josiah was the boy king of Judah. He came to the throne at the tender age of eight years old. His heart is strong for the worship of the Lord. He orders repairs to the temple in Jerusalem, and it is during the search through the dusty temple treasuries that the book of the Law (possibly the book of Deuteronomy scroll) is found. God has been so neglected that His Law has been lost, squirreled away in some recess of the temple. And when the Law comes to the light of day and is read to king Josiah, his response is a broken heart over the nation's sins. He immediately recognizes that Judah's failure to keep the covenant placed the nation in jeopardy of God's judgment.
Josiah's response is the proper leadership response to the spiritual state of the nation. Because the king was repentant and sincere in his worship, God spared Judah yet again and promised Josiah he would live long enough to see blessings and not cursings. God would withhold judgment on Josiah's generation. Repentance brought a return to worship which in turn brought merciful restoration to God's people from the hand of the Lord.
The big idea that grabs my attention from this account is the call to repentance. Many times it is OK to feel bad. Godly sorrow is after all, first and foremost, GODLY. The Lord hears and sees us when we are broken over sin. And sometimes that broken state is exactly the right place for us. The Lord is always ready to receive the repentant heart. He never turns such a one away. It is always right to turn from sin, no matter how deeply entrenched we are in the sin, and to turn to God.
The 21st century church is short on repentance. We tend toward smug self satisfaction or emotive narcissism. We don't teach or model being broken over our sin. We rail on the sins of our age instead. And this is one reason why our impact in this generation is fading. May we gain some Josiahs for this generation! And repentance, godly sorrow, brokenness, and mourning over sin starts with my heart. It's OK to feel bad when the result is repentance.