Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship, by the Word, to the world.
Well, good evening, Calvary. How are you tonight?
Yeah. My name is Jason Mills. I'm on pastoral staff here, and have the privilege of serving as the campus pastor at Nob Hill. And I know what you're thinking. Why aren't you Pastor Skip? Well, the reason I'm not pastor-- well one of the reasons I'm not pastor Skip-- is late last week, he received an invitation from the White House.
And he was asked to meet with staff of the White House and with some other church leaders to talk about social and spiritual issues. So he accepted that invitation. He was bummed that he had to miss Wednesday night, because he really wanted to do part two of the Holy Spirit series. So they'll have to wait until next week.
But I thought it would be nice if we started by praying for him-- his meeting's in the morning-- and praying for our study tonight. So let's do that. God, we thank you for your Word. Lord, we thank you that we get to gather together to study it, to learn from it, to learn about you and what you want for us in it.
God, we pray for Pastor Skip. He's had this amazing opportunity and invitation, Lord, because of his dedication to doctrine, his dedication to your Word. God, we pray that you give him wisdom and prudence, patience, grace, and insight as he's allowed to speak to those who are assembled.
God, I pray for our time tonight, God, that you would speak to us. That you would help us to hear from you, God. Not just being hearers, but doers as well. That we put into action those things you teach us. And we thank you. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Now, I want to ask you an awkward question. Especially, considering it's July. How are your New Year's resolutions going? If you're like me, you have forgotten-- or you're trying to forget-- that you ever made any. Because you probably, statistically speaking, did not keep them. Anybody else in that same boat? You're like, yeah, um, they were OK. I didn't really make any this year. You try to play it off.
Unfortunately, we always do that, right? We make these declarations of change and then they don't always seem to work out. And we know that change is good. We know that the changes we want to make will be good for us, but it's hard. And we don't always follow through.
I actually read a story about a guy named Dashrath Manjhi, who made a change. He lived a quiet life in the northeastern hill country of India. He was a goat farmer. One day, his wife fell down a hillside and seriously injured herself. The problem is that there was no hospital in the small village where he lived. He didn't own a car, and the nearest hospital was 45 miles away, around a mountain. That's like if Pres was on Sandia Crest for us, right? It's just like, I can take the tram, maybe? I don't know.
So he decided that what he was going to do is not let anyone else have to go through what he went through. He sold his goats and he bought a hammer and a chisel, and got to work and single handedly carved a road into the side of the mountain. For the next 22 years, he hammered away at the rock and the dirt to make a 30 foot high, 25 foot wide, and 360 foot long passage that connected the mountain of his village and the next closest village, reducing the previous drive time of 45 miles to 4 miles.
And he did it all by himself-- with a simple hammer and chisel-- because he saw something that needed to change. And he wanted to benefit the rest of his village because it was what they needed.
Well, we're going to look, tonight, at another man who made a great drastic change. Not to benefit just a small village, but the entire nation of Israel. We're going to look at King Josiah. 2 Kings, Chapter 22-- we're going to look a little bit of 23, as well.
King Josiah is a guy who has lifted his head, he's looked around. He's taken a moment of reflection and reassessment, and realizes that a change needs to happen. And I know we talked before that New Years is when we typically do that, but I think it's always a good time for us to take a moment to reflect.
And you may discover that when you're here tonight, that maybe you're not where you want to be. Maybe you-- I don't mean here, at Calvary-- What I mean is, is that I'm glad you're here. What I mean is, is that maybe you're not where you want to be in your life, in your spiritual walk, in your devotion life. And maybe tonight will act as a catalyst for you to reassess and decide, you know what? I need to make a change. And we're going to look at Josiah because he does such a great job of systematically making that change happen. And I think if we follow in his footsteps, we can do just that.
2 Kings 22:1. Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah, and the father of Adaiah, of Bozkath. Is that like Bozkath Goldthwait? OK.
All right. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father, David. But he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
Now, Josiah was one of the rare good kings of Israel. In fact, the seven preceding kings ranged everywhere from mediocre to downright evil. And the worst of all was the one who came just before him, dear old granddad Manasseh. He was one of the worst kings ever. Invited idolatry, and worship of other gods, and all this crazy stuff into the nation. He reigned 50 years.
So Israel is in a bad situation. And Josiah, he starts at just age eight, being king. Which is crazy, if you've ever met an 8-year-old. But he began to follow the Lord at age 16. By age 20, he started a kingdom-wide reform that would revolutionize the country.
In fact, it's interesting. Josiah is the answer to a 300-year-old prophecy. In 1 Kings Chapter 13, it says, behold a child-- Josiah by name-- shall be born to the house of David. And on you, he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you.
So not only does it say his name, specifically, that he is from the house of David, but he also says that he'll come into a time when there is idolatry going on, incense being burnt to foreign gods, and he will be a reformer who cleans all of that out and restores proper worship in Israel. So he's got the pedigree, for sure.
Now, Josiah, he looks pretty good. He's a good, upstanding guy, a righteous man, follows the Lord. Compared to the other kings, he is amazing. But what I love about him, he doesn't want to stop there.
In a parallel passage in 2 Chronicles Chapter 34, it says this about him. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In the 12th year, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, and the wooden images, and the carved images, and the molded images. And they broke down the altars of the Baal in his presence, and the incense altars, which were above them, he cut down. And he cut down the wooden images, and the carved images, and the molded images. He broke them into pieces, made the dust of them, and scattered them on the graves of those who sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
So he is hard core. He looks great compared to the other Kings, especially dear old granddad. I mean, he's like the Luke Skywalker to Manasseh's like Darth Vader, right? He is doing great, but he doesn't want to just start well. That won't cut it for him. He doesn't want to get complacent. He wants to do more. He desires to be and to do something different.
So we read in verse 3. Now it came to pass in the 18th year of King Josiah. The king sent Shaphan the scribe, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the house of the Lord. Saying, go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. And let them deliver it to the hand of those doing the work, who are the overseers of the house of the Lord. Let them give it to those who are in the house of the Lord doing the work to repair the damages of the house. To the carpenters, the builders, and the masons, to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. However, there's ne-- no be-- es-- hower-- sorry-- however, there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand because they deal faithfully.
Josiah wants to do more. He wants to rebuild the temple. Specifically, he wants to restore worship of God in Israel because the temple is in a terrible state of disrepair. It had been abused and fallen into, really, just disuse and misuse over the last several kings, especially during dear old granddad Manasseh's reign for the last 50 years. It got so bad, actually, that they had installed idols and altars to foreign gods in the temple, literally moving the Ark of the Covenant over so they can install an altar to Baal and Ashtaroth.
They worshiped a lot of gods at this time in Israel, but the two big ones, as I mentioned, are Baal and Ashtaroth. Baal, he was a "deity" that represented agriculture and rainfall. He's like the God of storms and rain. Now in Israel, they are reliant as an agricultural society on the early rains, the spring rains, and the latter rains in the fall. Because there is not a lot of rivers and streams and springs that come up, so they have to have the rainfall. So if they want to be successful, if they want to be prosperous, then they need that water. So they started worshipping the Baal so that they would be wealthy and have what they needed.
Then, they had Ashtaroth. Ashtaroth is a fertility God. If they wanted to have lots of children-- which was seen as a blessing-- and they wanted to have their livestock to reproduce, they would worship her. Now, not to get too PG-13, but she's a fertility goddess. Can you connect the dots how they worshipped her? Yes, exactly that. Got it, good. All right. I'm not going to go further than that.
So basically, in their generation, they worshipped wealth and sex. I'm glad we don't do that anymore.
Oh, wait. Right.
And people had been returning to the temple, but more of a societal thing, a kind of a holdover from before. But real, true worship hadn't taken place yet. And the money had been collected, but no work had been done as King Josiah orders it done because he wants the people to worship the true God who protected, blessed them, and brought them to this land.
So the first step for him was to desire something different. Desire something different. He took stock, he looked back at the past, the mistakes that were made. He made a decision, and he started to change. It's as simple as that. And that's what we have to do if we look at our spiritual life, especially, or really, any area of life. The first step is to desire something different because we have to be intentional about change. Productive change never happens by accident. I don't know anybody who suddenly lost weight by accident. I don't know anybody who had a successful business by accident. It doesn't work that way. Constructive change never happens by accident.
And he's very specific about what he wants. He's like, I want to rebuild the temple. I want the worship to come back to God. I want to get all this junk out of here and I want the temple rebuilt. And we have to do the same thing. We have to be specific about what we're going for.
Let me give you an example. My wife calls me up on the way home from work and says, hey, babe. Can you pick up some good food from the store? Sure, no problem. Some of you are already laughing, you know how this is going to go. And I roll in to Smith's and I'm like, all right, there's beef jerky, chips and salsa. They have cake frosting in a tin? I can just buy this? That's going in the cart. Is my wife going to be happy when I get home? She's in here, somewhere. I can feel her nodding no.
But, if she calls me and says, hey, babe. You pick up some quinoa, some kale, and some of that antibiotic free pork we always get for dinner? No problem. I'll pick that up, I know where it is in the store. I'll go home, I'll be a champ, we'll have a great dinner. Maybe not the kale.
And the reason for that is vague goals beget vague successes. If you want specific change, you have to have specific goals to get there. If you desire something different in your walk with God, you've got to start here.
Let's go to verse 8. Then Hilkiah the high priest came to Shaphan the scribe and said, 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. So Shaphan the scribe went to the King, bringing the King word saying, your servants have gathered the money that was found in the house. They have delivered it into the hand of those who do the work, who oversee the house of the Lord. Then Shaphan the scribe showed the King saying, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the King.
So what they found here is the Book of the Law. We should be familiar with this. Pastor Skip's taught through most of these books very recently here. It's basically the first five books of our Bible. It's the books of Moses. And it contains the story of how God chose Abraham, blessed him with a family that turned into a nation. How God rescued that nation from slavery in Egypt, brought them into the land that they were currently living in. And it lays out his promise, or his covenant, with them.
And it was supposed to be sitting next to the Ark of the Covenant, but had gotten lost. Like as they were moving everything around to make room for the worship of Baal, it got pushed behind the couch or something. And no one noticed. In fact, the rulers of Israel were supposed to have their own personal copy that they could look at, and that got lost.
When I was a kid, I had this bright green Bible-- well, that's not really right. It is more like puke green Bible. OK?
Yeah, now you have the image, right? It was a Living Translation, which is kind of like a Bible. And I would lose it all the time. I would lose it all the time. I would leave it under the pew, I'd leave it in the bathroom, I'd leave it in the foyer. Just everywhere. Everyone was always like, oh, that's Jason's Bible. They'd grab it, here you go, kid. Thanks. And then, I'd leave it someplace else. But I knew I'd always find it, it's bright green.
That's what happened to the Book of the Law. It just got lost and no one noticed. And Shaphan brings him the book, and I love how he's just so nonchalant about it. Kind of like, yeah, I found a book. Here it is. It's like giving a millennial an 8-track cassette. Like, how do you turn this on? What is this thing?
And the thing is, is that the Book of the Law should have been read publicly every seven years. And it hasn't been read in seven times as long as that in 50 years, at least. So he reads it to him, and he's probably reading Deuteronomy because it's a nice summary. I'll summarize it for you, if you don't remember it.
Basically, it says, if you obey me, I'll bless and protect you. If you disobey me, then I'm going to let you have what you think you want. That really is basically what it says, because that sounds like a weird, kind of, downside. Like a weird punishment. But the reality is, is that he's saying, hey, if you want false gods, that's fine. You can have the false hope that goes with it. If you want false worship, you can have the foreign people that go with that, and they are going to come and take you captive. If you want gods who trade in pain and suffering, then you can get the pain and suffering that goes along with it.
My kids, when they were a little bit younger, they were getting into this cake my wife had made. That doesn't happen very often in our house. It was a special occasion. They kept sneaking into the kitchen and getting into the frosting and all that. And finally, we're like, you know what? Fine. Just have as much as you want. That was their punishment, because a little bit later on, uh uh uh uh uh. Why does it hurt? The sugar crash, and there's weeping, and gnashing of teeth. It's terrible.
But that's the thing. A lot of times, the punishment we get from God when we stray away is we get what we think we want. And unfortunately, that is sometimes way worse than what we might get, otherwise.
So Josiah, he's seeing God's standard for the very first time and he realizes the bar is set high. He realizes how far away from God's standard he is and his people are. And that's the second step. You have to see the standard. It's not enough to desire something different. You have to see the standard and understand how far it is from where you are to where you want to go.
In our spiritual lives, this is the case because our standard isn't our neighbor's. Our standard isn't the people we work with. It's not even our family. Like, have you seen those guys? I am way more holy than them. That's not the standard. Our standard is Jesus Christ. And he sets the standard high. He says there's none who are righteous, no, not one.
But he helps us. He wants us to change. He gives us the power to change, but he asks us to count the cost. To know what we're getting ourselves into. In fact, in Luke 14 he says, but don't begin until you count the costs. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there's enough money to finish it.
And unfortunately, statistically speaking, this is true of humans. We do this all the time. We don't count the cost, we don't see the standard. In January, memberships to gyms and fitness centers increase by 50%. And by February, 80% of them never step foot in there again. I've done it. You've probably done it too, just speaking from mathematics.
They don't count the costs and, when we see something like that, how are we going to respond? If we look, we kind of take assessment of ourselves and we desire something different. Yeah, I want to be closer the Lord. I'm not living the way I used to. I'm doing things I don't want to do. I want to change that. Then, we see what it's going to take to get there and, like those people at the gyms, we go, uh, you know what? Actually, I'm fine where I am. I'm good. I'm just going to stay here. This is still better than everybody else. I'm good. And we just give up.
But that's not what Josiah does. Look how he responds in verse 11 and 13. Now it happened when the King heard the words of the Book of the Law that he tore his clothes. Verse 13. Go inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all of Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do all according that is written concerning us.
So he tears his clothes-- you guys remember Hulk Hogan? If you grew up in the '80s watching wrestling, wrastling. Right? That's what he does, but it's not because he's showing out. It's because he's grieving. He's in mourning. He's showing utter sadness and grief because he realizes he and his people are way far away from God's standard. They are breaking God's law on a daily, monthly, moment basis.
He understands the seriousness of it all. As fact, in that parallel passage we mentioned in 2 Chronicles 23, it tells us that he calls out to God in just grief and desperation. God, what do we do? This is terrible. He understood the massive, moral, and spiritual failure that he was faced with.
So what does he do? Well, there's really only two ways, really, that he could respond, and ways that we, as people, can respond. And unfortunately, the first one is to blameshift. When we realize that we've done something wrong, we can blameshift. We see it all the time. You know, you look at your kids, you're like, why aren't you cleaning your room? Well, my sister, she came in here-- Uh-huh. Why aren't you cleaning your room? Well, my brother, he when the-- you guys want to blame the dog, next? What's going on?
I mean, Adam and Eve, right? Adam, why did you eat from the tree? Well, the woman you gave me-- I'm going to stop you right there. Eve, why did you eat from the tree? Well, the snake-- I'm going to stop you right there. Right? They just keep blaming somebody else. It's not my fault, I'm the victim here.
Unfortunately, I see this a lot in this kind of context. Where people will say things like, well, yeah. I mean, I drink a lot, but it's because I'm Irish.
I'm glad you think it's funny, too. Because I'm just like, really? That's your conclusion? Or stuff like, well, yeah. I mean I yell all the time, but I came from a family of yellers. That's just what we do. Well, I'm glad you've identified the problem and, potentially, a source of the problem. Now what? When were you planning on surrendering that to Christ? When were you planning on making a change? You have all the tools at your disposal, now what? That's not where you stop.
But fortunately for us, the example that Josiah gives us is he admits his failure. And it's the gutsy thing to do, because here's the truth, guys. Is that admitting fault is a sign of strength. It really is. It takes guts to go, you know what? I was wrong. I failed. I dropped the ball.
Men, let me talk to you for a second. Husbands, fathers. One of the most manly, masculine, gutsy things you can do is say, I'm sorry. Is to ask for forgiveness from your wife. To ask forgiveness for your kids. What's it going to be like if you go to your little girl, little boy and say, daddy's sorry he used his outside voice, inside. I'm sorry. Forgive me. I just want you to have the very best and grow up to be responsible. That little kid's going to grow up and say, that man who I idolize. He is a strong man who wants to be godly and asks for forgiveness when he messes up. I want to be like that. It could radically change a family. It's the manly, gutsy thing to do. Let's do it.
Josiah doesn't take the easy path of avoidance. What he does is the next step, which we have to follow. If we want to see spiritual change, spiritual renewal, starting over in our life, we have to fess up to your failure. You have to trust God to forgive, to be humble. Because humility brings about forgiveness. God is drawn to weakness, he's drawn to humility. James 4:6. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
He's also admitting guilt. Because to say, hey, I messed up, is to admit guilt. But it means that he understands something fundamental about God's character is that, yes. God is a God of justice, but he is also a God of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. God is a forgiving God to those who trust in him.
And let me tell you guys a secret. The repetition of this step is one of the secret keys to success. The repetition of this step is one of the secret keys to success. Because so many people, they'll make a mistake. And whatever they're trying to do, whether it's trying to eat healthier, or they're trying to go to the gym, or they're trying to get closer to God and they're trying to have a white hot devotion time, and they make a mistake. They'll go, well, oh well. You know, you want to go to the gym and you hit your snooze alarm like 37 times and you're like, well, I guess I'm not going the gym anymore. No. The next day you go, OK. The alarm clock's going in the kitchen. I sleep in here and I'm getting up and I'm going to do it. I messed up yesterday, but I'm going to change that.
When you want to have God change your life, when you want God to say, hey, you know-- when you want God working in your life, and you have this issue you're working through. Maybe it's anger, maybe whatever it is. That you will go to the person that you've hurt and say, hey, I'm sorry that I said that. Please forgive me. I'm trying to be different. I'm trying to have God change me. Just have patience with me.
And a week down the line, you do it again. You don't stop, you just repeat. Hey, I'm sorry. I'm trying to be different. I'm trying to change. And a month down the road, hey, I'm sorry. I'm getting better at this. God's still changing me, please have patience with me. Please forgive me. You have to repeat that step of fessing up to your failure.
So let me skip ahead a little bit in the story, but I'll give you the summary. Josiah has his people go to a prophetess, there in the area, to ask, hey, what does God want us to do? How can we change? I know that you're not happy with us. And she gives them the straight answer and says, hey, Josiah, because you've walked blameless and that you've repented and you've changed and you want to do all this stuff in Israel, God's going to forgive you. Eventually, the people are going to be punished with the captivity later on, but here's what you need to do. They come up with a game plan and they execute it starting in Chapter 23. We'll start in Verse 4.
And the King commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the articles that were made for Baal, and Ashtaroth, and for all of the host of heaven and burn them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel.
Then, he removed the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem. And those who burn incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, the constellations, and all the host of heaven.
And he brought out the wooden images from the house of the Lord to the brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it at the brook Kidron and ground it into ashes, and threw his ashes on the graves of the common people.
So he goes in and he has everyone remove the things that were blocking the worship of God. And the thing is, these things were literally, and symbolically, blocking the people from worshipping the Lord God of Israel. He was systematic about it. In these next couple of verses, he goes on this action movie montage tear through all of the country.
He goes into the temple courts and find the booths of prostitution and removes those. He goes to the gate, removes the places of worship there. He goes to the valley where the people who worship Moloch worshipped, which is where you sacrifice a baby in a burning cauldron, which is just chilling.
He found the chariots that were supposed to be worshipping the fire of the sun, and burned them with fire. He went to the sky top altars, the palace, that the other kings had instituted and got rid of those. He went to the east and to the south and destroyed those altars. He found the bones of the people who used to be priests, ground them up into powder, and got rid of them. He even went into Samaria and killed all the priests there. And he got rid of the fortune tellers and the psychics, and they never saw it coming. He is--
Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. Sometimes, a joke's just for me. If you guys get it too, I'm just happy. But now I know you're paying attention.
What's so interesting is he does-- a lot of times, he's taking these corpses and he's putting them on the altars because anything that was set apart for worship or were holy, the second something dead touched it, like a cadaver, it's made unclean and can't be used anymore. And so he would do that, and then he would cut those things down, grind them up, throw them into the trash heap, or put them onto the graves of the people who used to worship those things. And basically, he's saying, hey, this stuff was junk and it leads to death. So it goes with the junk and it goes with the dead. So it becomes a visual reminder.
It was kind of like the time of the judges, right? Where everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. It hasn't been this bad in a long, long time, and he's trying to change that. He's trying to be a godly King in Israel. And so what he's doing is he's removing roadblocks. That's the fourth step. You have to remove the roadblocks. You have to look back and say, well, what's held me back before? Or what's holding me back now? Like Hebrews 12:1. Encourage us. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
I mean, sometimes, these roadblocks are very, very simple. I love having my phone, having my Bible app on there. So if I'm in a coffee shop or waiting to get my oil changed or something, I can read. But I've discovered that if I keep the Sudoku app next to my Bible app, not a lot of Bible study gets done. So now, they're in separate folders, on different screens, far away from each other because it's a roadblock, and I had to remove it.
But there's other more serious roadblocks, of course. But the thing is, is you identify those roadblocks. You go, oh, well, this is what's kept me from having the devotion life I wanted. This is what's kept me from drawing closer to God. This is what's kept me from changing and not being a slave to this repetitive sin in my life.
As you identify those things, you have to remember it's not just remove, it's replace. You have to figure out what you're going to replace it with because our lives, like nature, abhors a vacuum. You can't just leave it empty because something else is going to fill that spot. And sometimes, it's something even worse. It's like giving up meth to take up heroin. Right? Not recommended.
But the Bible talks about this idea. This idea of taking off and putting on. Paul talks in Colossians, Chapter 3. But now you, yourselves, are to put off all these things. Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. These things lead to the dark side, right? OK. And then a few verses later he says, therefore, as the elect of God holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering.
I love this because it creates, in my mind, this image of when you're a kid and it snows outside and your mom wraps you up in like 12 layers and you can barely walk. And you go outside in the snow and you're throwing snowballs and making forts and snowmen, and you come inside and you've got that weariness. That weariness that only comes from like swimming all day or playing in the snow. And you are soaked through to the bone and cold.
And you start just to strip off those layers-- one by one-- and fling them in the corner, because your mom is going to get it. And then she brings you a biscochito and a hot cup of cocoa and a warm towel and jammies from the dryer. And you go by the fire like, ah. You take off the old things, the things that held you back. And you put on the things that are going to help you get to where you know God wants you to go.
Renewal is not so much about what we give up, but what we want to gain. There's a useful sentence that I've used, or a way of expressing this, that I've used over the years. I heard it from somewhere else, it's not mine. I've used it for myself, my wife and I have used it, I've used it when I counsel other people. It goes like this. When I blank, I will blank, instead of blank. There it is on the screen. It's a little weird, let me explain. What you do is you realize, OK, well, what's holding me back? What should I do instead? And then, where do I want to go?
So if it's when I feel angry, I will walk and pray instead of exploding on the people who love me. When I have free time, I will spend time with the Lord, instead of entertaining myself to death. You know what God wants to work on you about. You know what the issue is, what the roadblock is that's caused you to have this distance from where God wants you to be and what you want to change. Use that. Write it on a three by five card. Put it in the mirror. Put it on your pillow at night. Put it in the visor of your car. I encourage you to use this, think about it. It's been really helpful for me over the years. It's not about what we give up, but what we want to gain. We have to remove the roadblocks.
Verse 21. Then the king commanded all the people saying, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of the covenant. Verse 22. Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. But in the 18th year of the King Josiah, this Passover was held before the Lord in Jerusalem.
And so he reads the Book of the Law to the people so they can change and they can start this process that he has gone on. And he has the Passover, and that's significant because the Passover goes all the way back to the beginning of God dealing with Israel as a nation. This I'm for you and you for me. I'll rescue you and I'll provide for you. It's a meal of these mnemonic devices, these memory hooks. The salt water to remember the tears they cried as they were in their bondage. The applesauce to remind them of the mortar of the bricks they had to build.
And so what he's done here is he's pulled the trigger. He has simply started. He simply started over. He's like, all right. We've identified all the things we need to do. Now, go. He actually starts to put it into place. He takes the first step.
We have to do the same thing. We can go, well, I want something different. I see how far I have to go. I'm willing to pay that price. I've confessed my sin to God. I've gotten rid of the roadblocks trying to keep me from accomplishing what God has for me. One of these days.
You just have to go for it. Don't talk in terms of I will, but I am. Not, I will go to the gym and get in shape. I am going to the gym now and getting in shape. I will start having more time with God in my quiet times. No. I am having more time with God in my quiet times. This is a process that I'm doing, that I am a part of.
And when you fall, start over. That's the other secret key to successful spiritual renewal of change. If you mess up, you just start again. You recognize, oh, I'm not where I want to be. And you start the process all over again.
So often, I think our struggle is not that we don't know what to do, but the struggle is finding the courage to do what we know we should do. We've got the knowledge, we've got the community, we've got the encouragement, we've got the Word. One of these days I'm going to do it. Just go for it. Don't make a battle plan, make an action plan. You need to be in the battle, absolutely. But put it into place.
It's not just about what you need to do, but how you need to go about doing it. These steps are very simple, and Josiah, he executes them very, very well. And I think all of us are able to follow this example. We've talked about what was going on in his life, we've identified these steps, we've seen him illustrate it. Let's put it into application.
Let me give you what I'm doing, currently, right now, to do these five steps. But I need to preface it a little bit, and this may shock you. Pastors are not perfect. I need you to know this. Because if you don't know this, I'm really going to let you down. We're just people too, and sometimes, life gets busy. The family needs attention, and the car breaks down, and there's things going on at work, and then there's summer fest, and then there's Christmas.
There's all these things going on, and we don't always get-- let me speak for myself. I don't always get the chance I really want to spend one on one with Jesus and my morning devotions. Sometimes someone's sick, or you're sick, or your wife needs you for something, or whatever it is. And you realize, oh, yeah, I'm kind of batting like 300, maybe. I don't think that's very good.
And so this is what I'm doing. I desire something different. OK, let's be specific. I want one on one time with Jesus, and I'm going to do that by spending at least 15 minutes every morning in prayer, in the Word, and in meditation on that Word. See the standard. What's this going to cost me? Well, I may have less time for music, the internet, and sleep, but I'm OK with that.
Then, I need to fess up to my failure. God, I'm sorry that I neglected my time with you. Please forgive me. This is where real change begins to start, by the way. It always starts with humility and forgiveness. Then, I need to remove the roadblocks. I need to remove the selfishness and the idolatry. Jason, idolatry? What do you mean? Do you have a little tiki god up on your mantle, at home? No, what I mean is, is idolatry is anything that I place above God in my attempt to find satisfaction.
If I think this video game, this technology, this job, this enterprise, this person, this relationship is going to bring me more satisfaction than God and therefore, I put it as a top priority in my life, that's idolatry. God forgive me and my idolatry. Don't let me put anything above you. Don't let me put myself above you in my selfishness. Instead, I'm going to put on, right? Because it's not about removing. It's about removing and putting on, replacing. I'm going to put on humility and accountability. How do I do accountability? Well, I just told like 1,500 people that's what I'm doing. So you can ask me about it later, OK? I'm cool with it.
And that's the thing. You've got to find accountability. You've got to find people who can help you do this. Because like with everything in the Christian life, it's not about trying harder. It really isn't. I have to stress that so much. It's not about trying harder, because we have the faith. When you give up is when you succeed. When our God died, that's when we had victory. When we surrendered our life, we found it. It's not about trying harder, it's about surrendering. It's about having the Holy Spirit empower you and guide you in this process. And God, help me because I can't do it on my own. I was trying, before, to do it on my own. I need your help. I need your people. I need your word.
So find somebody who can be that accountability, that encouragement. That person to go with you. Even Josiah didn't do it by himself. He had a whole team of people, like Hilkiah and Shaphan working with him.
The fifth step, simply start, or simply start over. I am spending more one on one time with Jesus. And I'm doing that by spending 15 minutes in prayer, in the Word, and in meditation.
Verse 25, as we close. Now 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 after him did any arise like him.
Man, what if someone would say that about us? Man, there is no one like him, like her. They love the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind and strength. Man, that person is going to turn the world upside down.
D.L. Moody expressed it this way. "The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in and by the man-- or woman-- who is fully and wholly consecrated to him. I will try my utmost to be that man." I echo those sentiments.
And here's the thing, guys. Today can be that day for you. If you realize that, hey, maybe I'm not where I want to be. Recently, God's been speaking to me and I realize I'm not in my relationship where I would need to be. I'm not living the way I should. I'm not changing the way that I once changed, the rate I once changed. I'm not dealing with the issues that I want to deal with.
Well, the today can be that day where you can desire something different and start that process. Fess up to your failure, remove those roadblocks. Decide, today, that you want something different. Because today is the day that we have. The Bible encourages to take action while it's still called today, not save it for tomorrow. We don't know if we have tomorrow.
And let me encourage you with this. Don't let the uncertainty of the future scare you. Don't let the failures of your past discourage you. Be encouraged by God who is powerful and who is with you. He wants you to start over. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to change.
I found an interesting quote by the man who built that road, Dashrath, right? He said-- at the completion of his work after 22 years-- he said, when God is with you, nothing can stop you. Now, he's probably not a believer. But if he can say that, and can see the change he was trying to enact for his village as a worship unto the Lord, knowing that God was with him and nothing can stop him, how about us? If God is for us, who can be against us? What can man do to me? I shall not fear. We can change, we can start over. The Holy Spirit can empower and help us to do that, and we can make that change, today.
Let's pray. God, I thank you for this time. I thank you that you've laid out these steps, Lord, these breadcrumbs for us through the life of Josiah and what he took to action. God, we want to honor you in everything we do. We want to be people who don't just know a lot, but are growing a lot. People who are active, people who are living out the love and the grace and the forgiveness that we've experienced. God, we sometimes find ourselves in places we don't want to be. Our relationship isn't as close, our devotion isn't as hot. Lord, help us to change. Help us to take these steps, God. We know that as soon as we cry out to you, you are there. You are there to help us because you want the same things. You're the one who helped us see it in the first place. Lord, we thank you. Help us to start over. In Jesus' name, we pray, Amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our heavenly Father, dedication to studying His Word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.