Sunday, April 21, 2013

We’re Sorry Children


 
“I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.” – 2 Kings 22:8

His Grandfather was Manasseh, one of the most evil of all Kings of Jerusalem, full of  idolatry, completely rejecting God. Manasseh was an astrologer – one who worships the sun, moon, and stars. He practiced witchcraft. He got his answers for life’s decisions from mediums and spiritualist instead of God. He worshipped the carved images of the gods of those God had removed from the land of Israel before giving it to the Israelites. But he really can’t be blamed completely, for he was one of a long line of kings who had turned their backs on God.

God is patient, but He is also just. He will always punish sin. The problem is sin is never personal – it always affects others – and so does it’s punishment.

Manasseh’s sin the straw that broke the camel’s back.  It was so great that it caused God to declare in 2 Kings 21 that he would bring such calamity on the children if Israel that the ears of whoever heard it would “tingle”. He said he would “wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” He would turn from the few of Israel that remained and deliver them into the hands of their enemies. They had provoked God to anger with their continual sin.

But Manasseh died, and still no calamity had come.

His son Amon reigns, and still no calamity had come.

Then Amon’s son Josiah reigns. He became king at just eight years old. It’s often said that the heart of a child is pure, and Josiah’s was. He ordered that the money being taken at the temple be used to restore it, which was a decree given years ago by another King that followed God’s commands. In the clean-up of God’s house, something happened: the priest found a book!

It wasn’t just any book. It was “The Book of the Law”, which is most commonly known as the Pentateuch, the first four books of our Holy Bible. Though it was found in the House of the Lord, the Priests did not know it was there.  They had not missed it and sought to find it on their own.  They’d turned their backs on “The Book the Law”, laid it down to never return to it like yesterday’s newspaper.
The priest sent it to King Josiah and it was read to him. As Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were read, Josiah gained knowledge of his people’s history and relationship with God.  He learned of God’s deliverance of them from Egypt, His providing them with manna in the wilderness for forty years.  He learned how God had given them the promised land, and driven out other idolatrous nations before them to turn it over to the children of Israel. He read how God establishing the laws for them, and the feasts, offerings and sacrifices for worship so they could have an intimate relationship with God.

As the books were read, Josiah realized how many of the laws of God the people had broken.  His tender heart broke. He saw the evil of his forefathers. He saw their neglect for the very God that had brought them out of slavery and given them the land they now trashed. He saw God’s love for them, and he felt ashamed of the years of idolatry his people had lived. He tore his clothes in anguish and cried because he knew they had broken the heart of their loving God.

Immediately, he wanted reconciliation with God. He wanted God to speak, and at this time that was only happening through prophets. He sent a messenger to the prophetess Huldah, who had heard from God.  God in fact had decided to bring destruction on the children of Israel, and all because of their idolatry. He had told Huldah to deliver to Josiah the message that “My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched”, which was God saying, “Enough is enough! This time you’re going down!”

But that isn’t all God had to say. God still is the God of love, the God of forgiveness to those who seek to repent. He spoke to the prophetess concerning Josiah. He said in verse 19, that because Josiah’s heart was tender, humbled, and broken when he learned of their sin, that he would let him live out his days before the destruction would come. Josiah would be spared the punishment God would deliver.

Imagine being Josiah after receiving that message.  How would you look your children in the face knowing they would live on after you, and suffer God’s wrath. How would you look at the face of a newborn baby and feel anything but anguish and pain?

Today we live in a world much like Josiah’s. We read our horoscopes to see what the day will bring, worshipping the stars, and ignoring their creator (Deuteronomy 4:19). We call up fortune telling phone services to see what mysteries of our life they can show us, and ignore God who knows all mysteries (Deuteronomy 29:29). We use tarot cards, have our own “spiritual journeys”, and meditate to find our inner energies, and ignore God and the inner presence of the Holy Spirit He desires to give us.  We seek answers where they cannot be found, ignoring the one with all the answers. Sure, we may escape the wrath of God in our generation, but what about our children?

Parents, seek Him while He can be found. It’s not enough to send your children to church with someone else, or put them on the church bus.  They need to see it as something YOU value.  Everything your children learn they learn from watching you.  That’s how they learned to talk, walk, feed themselves, interact with others, smile, you name it – they learn it from watching YOU.  Have the relationship with God that you want your children to have. 
Our children need Christ in their lives. We live in a time when our children, even the youngest of them, do not value their own life or the life of others. They starve themselves to feel better about who they are, or eat themselves into an early grave to combat who they feel they are. They attempt to combat the pain in their hearts by cutting themselves. They seek out a drug or alcohol to give them a high that only God can give, and find addiction.  They seek it in sex only to become parents who don’t have true love themselves and don’t know how to love a child.  They seek to find peace within themselves in perversions, trying to find out who they are, when God wants to show them that they are His beloved children. 

As parents, we’ve denied them the truth, the answers to their problems, because we have stopped teaching them the Bible ourselves, and taking them to church.  Moms and Dads, as tenderly as I know how to say this, if your life is too busy to take your children to church, to teach them about God and His love for them, you are far busier than God wants you to be.

Is this really what we want for our children?

Are we so selfish that we won’t take time to help them find the God they need?

God have mercy on us all, and our children! We have become the people that were once destroyed…again.  We have not yet found the book, and found in it a repentant heart.

 

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