Not Again! Pay Attention!

August 5th, 2004 Comments

Scripture:

2 Chronicles 35:20-24 (NLT)

20After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. 21But King Neco sent ambassadors to Josiah with this message:

“What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I only want to fight the nation with which I am at war. And God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”

22But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo.

2 Kings 23:29-32 (NLT)

29While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out with his army to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people anointed his son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months… 32He did what was evil in the LORD’S sight, just as his ancestors had done.

John 7:16-17 (NLT)

16So Jesus told them, “I’m not teaching my own ideas, but those of God who sent me. 17Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.

John 7:37-38 (NLT)

37On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “If you are thirsty, come to me! 38If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within.”

John 7:45-46 (NLT)

45The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. “Why didn’t you bring him in?” they demanded.

46“We have never heard anyone talk like this!” the guards responded.

Observations:

Very interesting. It is interesting to read the two different versions in Kings and then in Chronicles. Kings tells us how Josiah restored the temple and the law of God — and then gets killed by Pharaoh Neco. After reading that, I’m wondering what in the world happened? How could God allow that? What is the point of being obedient?

But then I read the version in Chrionicles and the story becomes more clear. God was using the Egyptians against the Assyrians. But Josiah, in his stubbornness couldn’t see that. I wonder what God’s original plan was? I wonder why Josiah could do all the great things he did, and then lose track at this critical juncture. After his death, Jerusalem falls back into its evil ways.

So, once again, I am reminded that my failures don’t just affect me — they affect everyone around me. My pride, my sins, my failure to connect with God, my wandering, my mediocrity — all of this — can bring great pain on others. This is especially true in my leadership roles, but it also applies to my family and friendships.

God used Josiah to bring Israel back from their misguided ways. But then, due to his failure to see God working through the Pharaoh, he is killed and his nation is once again lost.

Man! This is scary. Did Josiah just forget to have quiet time with God that morning? Had he been drifting from God for awhile? Was he just so stubborn that he didn’t care what God was doing or saying? Do I ever get that stubborn?

This is especially poignant because I see these kinds of things happening in the Springs. I see people who have been used by God, but now due to their own stubbornness, many people are being hurt. That saddens me — even makes me a bit angry.

The contrast with Jesus’ teachings are striking. Jesus says, “I’m not teaching my own ideas.” He says that people will see this — just as we see where Josiah did well, and then where he failed. He promises living water that will flow from within. The temple guards, sent to arrest Him, are so moved by Jesus’ teachings, that they don’t arrest Him. They see what the Pharisees and priests can’t see.

Application:

I want to be so in touch, that I am always teaching God’s ways — not my own. I don’t mind getting heat from those whose motives are suspect and selfish — but I want to be so pure that those who are truly seeking God can discern properly whose principles I am teaching.

I also never want to have a great lapse like Josiah. I don’t want to miss God’s plan and work contrary to His purposes.

I never want to lead people to destruction — just to the kind of life where living water flows.

Prayer:

Oh. God. Wow, once again I am humbled by your words. I am awed by the awesome responsibility that you’ve placed on my shoulders. I realize now, more than ever, how I need to stay right at your side. Now matter what good things have been done in the past, it is today, and the future that I must concentrate on. It is only by staying close to you that I will be able to be the man you’ve called me to be. It is only by being this man, that I can be the leader you are teaching me to be. And, it is only by being this kind of leader that we can move forward and do the things you want us to do.

Please God, forgive me for my moral lapses. Forgive me for my mediocrity. Forgive me for not seeing your purposes. Forgive me for being an idiot.

Draw me close to you Lord, never let me go. I lay it all down…again. Just to say, that I’m your friend. Never, let me go God. Teach me to be a man after your own heart. Teach me to be a God follower — always.

Teach me how to avoid the failures of Josiah. Teach me how to achieve the successes of Jesus. Teach me how to have living water in me and how to share that with others.

Thanks God! gw

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