March 5, 2023, Josiah’s Revival (Lent 2)

Thomas Hawk via Flickr, Andrea di Leone ” Adoration of the Golden Calf”

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/804715573

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c0ehVfVyW15

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Prayer of Confession & Words of Assurance
We confess, O God, that we are attracted to false gods and easy answers in life. We are vulnerable to temptations that could damage us in ways that are not obvious. Forgive us that sin that draws us like moths to a flame. Restore us and fill us with godly resolve. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Hear the good news: Christ died for our sins and rose again that God may free us from the tyranny of judging others to live fully in the power of God’s grace. In the name of Jesus Christ, God forgives your sins and offers you a transformed future. Live fully into God’s grace! Amen.

HYMN 451 Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou My Vision by 4Him -Lyrics (Celtic Version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIMhshpf0Y4

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − The Centering Prayer

Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help. I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life. Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not. Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature. Help me to serve you as I am gifted. Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood. I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 601 Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet
Amy Grant – Thy Word (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6LC8cu03Ig

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Josiah’s Revival (Idols, Idylls, Idles)
Text: 2 Kings 22-23, Exodus 32
Series: The Jesus Revival (Times Of Refreshing)

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

2 Kings 22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD.“ 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes.

2 Kings 23:2 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the LORD. 3 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 23:4 And the king commanded Hilki’ah, the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel … 6 And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD … 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. … and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, he pulled down and broke in pieces …

21 And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant. 22 For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah; 23 but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem. … that he might establish the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD. 25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

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HYMN 395 Take Time To Be Holy!
Take Time to Be Holy by the The Collingsworth Family
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN2-fj8cXUE

BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Earlier this February, something spiritual began to happen at Asbury University in the chapel. They have three required chapel services each week. And on a Wednesday morning, February 8th, the students didn’t want to stop praying. Now I don’t mean all the students. I mean that there was a tiny little group that just stayed behind because they wanted to continue to pray. Word passed through the campus that they were still in there. And a few people came to join them, and then a few more, and soon the building was full.

And the prayer meeting that was going on went on overnight, in fact, with short breaks that went on for 400 straight hours. This was so unusual that people came from all over the United States, an estimated 50,000 people, such that they were standing in line to get into the chapel. Asbury opened other buildings. Other churches in this very tiny town in Kentucky opened up, because people wanted to come and they wanted to pray, and they wanted to get right with God. And The Lord blessed this and gave them a deep sense of being forgiven.

Now I want to suggest if you and I want to understand why this happened, we need to look into the Bible where God did something very similar because understanding revival in the Bible will help us to understand what’s happening in our experience today. And if we take our experience today and research in the Bible, our experience today will help us to understand the Bible better. So today, I’d like to talk to you about King Josiah’s revival. But first, in a great exercise of faith, I want to attempt to tell you a joke. And here’s the joke.

Once upon a time, a church member said to the pastor, “I would like to teach the adult Sunday school class.” And the pastor said, “Well, okay, why don’t you let me come to your home and we’ll talk about it.” So the pastor was sitting in the living room. And the woman was sitting across from him in a chair. And the pastor said, “I’d like to ask you to tell me about your spiritual life.” And to show the pastor how spiritual she was, she called out to her child. She had a little first-grade boy. And she said, “Honey, would you go in the room, the end of the family room and right next to where I sit while I watch TV? I want you to bring mommy the book that you always see me reading.” And of course, she meant the Bible.

And the little boy said, “Yes, mommy. I know exactly what you want.” And he went into the other room, and he came back with the TV Guide. [laughter] Now, I may have last told this joke back in 1982, which is when this issue of TV Guide came out, but if you remember back that far, you remember what it was. It was fear of missing out. “I need to pay very close attention to what’s on TV today or I’ll miss it.” Nowadays, we don’t feel that sort of fear, and as a result, we don’t have the TV Guide. Because there are 492 channels and there are DVR recorders that record everything, whether you want them to or not.

But you see, we don’t always realize what has our attention. Scientists tell us that the average person watches up to four hours of television a day. I want to be truthful with you. I don’t read the Bible for four hours a day. I don’t pray for four hours a day. But I do understand the hold that television has on people. Television is the voice of our culture. (And so is the Internet, Facebook, newspapers & politics, all kinds of media, all kinds of entertainment, athletics and music.)

And you see, that’s something that we need to be aware of. A culture naturally drifts away from what God wants. Because culture has its own desires, culture has its own values. Culture wants to pull you to think as it thinks. It wants to pull you to act as it acts. And what culture naturally does is it causes people to drift from serving God to serving idols.

And on the screen, you’re looking at a picture of an example of this. Moses went up into the mountain, and he was gone for 40 days. And while he was gone for 40 days, God gave him the law, the ten commandments, and the instructions for how the people of Israel were to live.

But down at the foot of the mountain, the people of Israel were idle. They had nothing important to do. And because they were idle, they began to think about idylls, I-D-Y-L-L-S. That is the perfect assumed place that you would most love to be. And they decided what they needed to do was to go back to Egypt. This promised land stuff was garbage. They needed to go back to Egypt because that was the perfect place to be. And they turned on Moses’s brother Aaron, and the implication is that there was a threat of bodily harm and they said to Aaron, who was a priest, “We need you to make us a god to lead us back to Egypt.” And Aaron caved in, took gold, their various jewelry, various other things … and he claimed that he cast the gold into the fire and they melted, and the melted gold took on the form of a bull. (I don’t believe it for a minute!) The bull was a Canaanite god known as Baal.

And so when Moses came down from the mountain after 40 days, he began to hear a noise. And the noise he heard was a wild party going on, as the people of Israel were worshiping their new god. The god that Aaron made out of their old jewelry. And you see, this is the way the culture causes us to drift. First, it gets our attention; then it attracts us with what seems to be a beautiful and a perfect way to live; it grabs a hold of our desires and begins to adjust them to its benefit. And once it has our attraction, then it begins to change our actions. And people do what the people of Israel did. Idols become the goal.

So … Josiah’s revival. King Josiah decided that it was time to renovate the temple and make it beautiful. So inside the temple was a locked storehouse of gold and jewels and wealth, all the treasures of the Israeli people, of the Kingdom of Judah. And they opened up the treasure house and began to take out the gold and give it to the workmen who would do the work of renovation.

And in the treasure house, maybe behind the treasures, maybe buried under the gold, they found one of the greatest treasures of all, a book. Hilkiah, the high priest, took the book and said to Shaphan, the king’s secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” You see, the Bible was so treasured that they locked it up with the golden jewels. And then you know what? After that, the culture influenced them, and they forgot that it was there.

The assumption we have is the book of the law that was found was the book of Deuteronomy. But it could have been any of the five books of Moses, perhaps all of them together. But Hilkiah the high priest gave the book to Shaphan, the king’s secretary, and the secretary read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord.”

Then Shaphan, the secretary, told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan then read it before the king, and when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes. Now, this was their custom in those days. When you repented, when you were upset, when you wanted to ask for forgiveness as a sign of how sincere you were, you would tear your clothing.

And the king went up to the house of the Lord and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people both small and great, and he, the king, read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. This was the first time that any of them had heard any words from the Bible. Verse 3, and the King stood by the pillar and made a covenant, an agreement, a contract before the Lord to walk after the Lord. (Today we would say, “follow Jesus”.) And to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.

And now we’re going to find out how bad it was.

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out of the temple all the vessels made for Baal, for Asher, and for all the host of heaven … he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel …. And he carried their ashes to Bethel. You see, over the years, when they were guided only by their culture, the temple of the Lord had become a place for the worship of false gods and of idols. And that’s the worship that took place in the temple. Verse 6, And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD – these were particular cult worship objects from the house of the lord. And they brought out other things, and because we’re in church. I can’t even tell you all of the disgusting things they took out of the temple of the lord. You’re welcome to read it for yourself.

And Josiah began to go to the other places where people were worshiping the false gods, and he began to destroy those altars. Verse 10, He defiled Topheth which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom… An altar for idol worship … that no one might burn his son or daughter as an offering to Molech. You see, they were sacrificing children to the idol known as Molech. Not only that, there were two altars that Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh had literally made in the two courts of the house of the Lord inside the temple. And Josiah destroyed them. He pulled them down and broke them in pieces.

And then the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.” For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the Judges, who judged Israel or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. Now the Passover, that was the meal they ate of lamb and unleavened bread, the night that the angel of death came and killed the firstborn, and this was the reason that Pharaoh let them go. Let’s take these words literally. Throughout all the days of the kings of Israel – King Saul, King David, King Solomon, all the kings until Josiah – the Passover had not been celebrated. The religion that they had had almost nothing to do with their own history. They had so drifted to be nothing more than another idol-worshiping culture.

But in the 18th year of King Josiah. This Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem that he might establish the words of the law, which were written in the book that Hilkiah, the priest, found in the house of the Lord. You see, there were things that the book said to Josiah, “This needs to stop.” And he began to destroy the idols that had captured and drawn away the people of Israel.

The book said that there are things that they need to start. And so they began to celebrate Passover and the other true genuine aspects of their Jewish religion. Look at verse 25, “Before him, before Josiah, there was no king like him who turned to the lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might according to the law of Moses.” The kings of Israel allowed the people of Israel to drift away from their religion into the religion of the countries that surrounded them. They forgot everything that was important and of value. And how could that happen? Simple; the book of the Lord was locked up in the treasure house. It was too valuable to let anybody’s grubby hands touch it. And pretty soon, it became forgotten. And so Josiah was a different king. But you notice what else it says, “There was no king after him, like him either.”

You see, the culture drifts. And as the culture drifts, it drifts toward idols. It drifts toward the people who are not religious, the people who are not holy. It drifts toward the values of the culture. Human beings drift unless they have guidance. And repentance, which is a desire to change and to do things God’s way, requires the book of the Lord. Because if you don’t have the details that are in the book of the Lord, you’re just going to be drawn to some other aspect of culture. Repentance, true repentance, requires the book of the Lord for correction.

And we’ve been talking about this, interestingly, since the beginning of the year. If you want to repent, that means there are certain things you want to stop or you want to do less of them. John Wesley’s rule for that was to say, “Do no harm.” But you don’t know what harm to stop unless you have the guidance of the book. And so, the minute they found the book, it was very clear to Josiah, we need to stop this idol worship in our midst. It’s offensive to God.

Not only that, if you’re going to follow Jesus, if you’re going to start doing the right thing – as John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can” – you won’t know what good you need to do without the detailed guidance from the book.

And John Wesley’s third rule was to attend upon all the ordinances of God, all the ways that God desires worship. And again, without the book, they had no idea what those were. Passover had not been celebrated for centuries … because they just forgot.

Friends, we need the book of the Lord to guide us. So let me ask this, honestly, because you know we are so distracted, can you and I really pray with God when the television is on? Doesn’t it distract us? Doesn’t pull us away from focusing on God? What are the idols of our culture? If you turn your television on, you’ll very quickly feel pulled in this direction or pulled in that direction. And you’ll know what the culture wants you to do. But unless you open the book of the Lord, the culture will not tell you what God wants.

Now, remember, the temple, the place where God was worshiped, had become a place of idol worship. Believe me, friends; even religious culture can’t tell you what God wants you to do. Because religious people are just as influenced as every other one to develop their own idols. But we religious assume that we know what we’re talking about … but we’re just as influenced by our religious culture as everyone else.

What has your attention? I would like to suggest for even 1 minute a day, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, that you take time to open the book of the Lord. If you take time to open the book of the Lord and read the words that are in there, you will be guided toward doing God’s will, rather than that of our culture.

There are three questions that come from a missionary movement called CPM (Church Planting Movement) that helps people who are illiterate from cultures around the world, who do not know how to read, and who have no knowledge of Christianity. But they read the Bible with the help of three questions: First question is, what does it say? The last question is Who needs to hear this? But the middle question, if you’ll just simply keep this question in your mind, what does this say that I need to obey? And I’ll be honest with you, many verses in the Bible don’t have any instruction or command that you need to obey. But if a verse does, that question will cause it to light up. Please make a note of it. You can use a highlighter to mark it. You can make a little star in the margin.

There’s something I need to ask God here, “How to obey?”
I need to let it be a part of my attention.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, I pray that as your people open the book of the Lord, you will help them to understand clearly, that you will help them to see within the words of the book of the Lord, the detailed instructions you have for your people. Lord, I pray that these instructions would be like seeds growing in our souls. I pray that they would have all our attention and focus … so that we are ready and listening when you tell us how to obey. And we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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One Response to March 5, 2023, Josiah’s Revival (Lent 2)

  1. Russ McCulley says:

    Enjoyed reviewing these notes.

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