SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The Passover (verse 1 and following) was a celebration remembering when God "passed over" the first born sons of the Israelites when all the first born sons of the Egyptians died.
- Back in Moses' time, the Levites (like priests) had the responsibility of carrying the Ark of the Covenant (a wooden chest that held the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments) whenever it travelled. Here in verse 3, Josiah has the Ark permanently placed in the Temple. This removed one responsibility of the Levites, freeing them to better serve God and the people.
- The Festival of Unleavened Bread (verse 17) was a seven day celebration remembering when God led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.
- Josiah dies because he refused to listen to a message from King Neco (verses 20-26), because Neco was not a godly man. We certainly need to exercise a lot of discernment when we receive messages from anyone, especially from someone who does not believe in or follow God. However, we shouldn't assume that just because someone is not a believer they cannot possibly speak truth...
- Josiah takes a responsibility away from the "staff" of the temple to free them up so they can devote more time serving God and people. In a similar way, the Bible makes it repeatedly and abundantly clear that every Christian in a church is to have a volunteer role. For instance, we read in 1 Peter 4:10, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." One of the (many) benefits is that it frees the staff of the church up to do things they can do that perhaps volunteers can't.
- The Israelites of the Old Testament had a variety of celebrations that helped them to remember what God had done for them. We have some of those - Christmas, Good Friday, Easter - today, but you may find it beneficial to establish some celebrations of your own to remember special events from your relationship with God.
- Do you have a volunteer position in your church?
- Do you use holidays such as Christmas and Easter to remember and celebrate what God has done for you, or are they so consumed with other things (gifts, meals, time with family) that they don't serve their intended purpose of helping you to remember and thank God for His activity in your life? Do you have any special events with God that you celebrate annually? For instance, you might make the anniversary of your baptism a special day each year where you take some time (a couple of hours? a whole day?) to spend with God.