Friday, January 13, 2012
Standing firm for a long time
And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.
2 Kings 23:3
This was Judah's last renewal. It would last the lifetime of King Josiah. It is clear that his life was dedicated to obeying the covenant and restoring national obedience to the Law of the Lord. This reform would consume all his energies. And it would be massive in scale.
The text of chapter twenty-three shows the vicious extent of idolatry. It began with clearing the idols out of the city of Jerusalem, starting in the temple of the Lord. It then spread to every town and high place in Judah. It is clear that the pervasive paganism of past kings was everywhere. It took all of Josiah's lifetime to eradicate the influence of idolatry. He destroyed altars and temples. He executed pagan priests. He desecrated pagan holy sites and altars. He did everything in his power to wage war on idolatry.
Josiah also did what no other God-fearing king before him had done. He went so far as to expand his idol-smashing efforts to Samaria. He eradicated the first source of idolatry God's people succumbed to after the break-up of the kingdom. And there was a massive amount of idolatry and influence in Samaria that had been historically longstanding by the time Josiah confronted it. Josiah seriously kept his covenant with God.
One main thought strikes me: to fully obey God may require a lifetime of fortitude and faith. It never stops in this life. We don't get much relief from the work. We have to keep going at it. And the reward comes from God.