Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4 - 2 Kings 23

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Kings 23. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • A section of the Bible is found in the temple, Josiah has it read to him, and is grieved that his nation has not been obeying God (chapter 22). Here we see him removing everything that had to do with the worship of other (false) gods. For instance, King Manasseh had put an Asherah pole in God's temple (see 21:7). Asherah was considered a sea goddess and the mistress of the god Baal. Worshipping her glorified sex and included male prostitutes.
  • The Mount of Corruption (verse 13) was actually the Mount of Olives, but was called such because it had become a popular site for pagan shrines. In the New Testament we see Jesus praying and teaching on the Mount of Olives.
  • Several times in verses 16-18 prophecies by a "man of God" are mentioned. You can read these prophecies in 1 Kings 13:21-32.
  • The Passover celebration (verses 21-23) was supposed to be an annual holiday, but the Israelites had rejected God and hadn't observed the Passover in years. Josiah reinstates it, as God had commanded.
  • After all the good he has done, Josiah goes to war and is killed. Doing good does not ensure  bad things won't happen.
  • Despite his godliness, Josiah's son Jehoiakim did evil. We see several good kings in the Bible who have children who do not follow God. We don't know why. Some suspect it was because the kings were so preoccupied with leading the nation they delegated teaching their children about God to someone else. Being a believer does not guarantee that your children will choose your faith for their own and live it out. It does help if the parent consistently practices, explains and teaches what they believe.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Because of the evil leadership in Israel, the Word of God had been completely ignored for generations. When it's found, just one reading leads Josiah to take drastic measures to get his life and his nation in line with God's truth. You have a Bible (perhaps several) in your home, or at least access to one on your computer or phone. Do you do whatever it takes to live your life the way God's Word tells you to live it? Wherever you have leadership, do you lead in a way that keeps with God's instructions?
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Josiah made sweeping changes to get his life and nation living according to God's Word. What is one change you need to make to get your life (and family?) living according to God's Word?
    • What do you think will be challenging about actually making this change?
    • What can you do to ensure that you'll actually make this change and stick to it?
    • Consider:
      • Write down a list of all the reasons you want to start doing the thing you haven't been doing (or stop doing the thing you've been doing). Keep the list in your wallet and read through it periodically to remind yourself why this is important.
      • Get a trusted friend to pray for you and to keep you accountable by asking every week (or maybe even every day) if you're staying true to your commitment?
      • Memorize a Bible verse (or two) specifically about the issue you're struggling with. When you're tempted, recite those Bible verses.
      • Pray for God's help with it every morning.