Posts Tagged ‘II Chronicles’

We tend to forget that our behaviors are being scrutinized. Not so much by casual acquaintances and co-workers (although somewhat), but mostly by the children and teenagers in our lives. They don’t look like they are even paying attention. Don’t be fooled.

II Chronicles 34:3
In the eighth year of his reign, while he [Josiah] was still young [16 years old], he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols.

Josiah was the grandson of Manasseh, one of the most notorious kings to rule Judah. Manasseh ruled for 55 years and up until his last years, played havoc with the country doing everything he could to destroy the foundations of faith through mockery, idol worship, and decadent priests and priestesses who proselytized for other gods. He even sacrificed his own children to these gods. But in his last years, Manasseh was overthrown and taken to Babylon with a ring in his nose. He was humbled. In that place, he sought out his one true God who heard him and restored his to throne. This was an abrupt about face, a transformation.

Who was watching? A little boy named Josiah who was just old enough to understand, just old enough to absorb the impact, just old enough to remember.

There was another who saw the change, Manasseh’s son Amon who became king after him. But Amon did not believe in the change in his father and he pushed Judah back toward the pagan gods for two years before he was assassinated. Apparently, there were others who had watched Manasseh’s metamorphosis and believed.

When young kings come to power (Josiah was only eight when he was crowned), there is usually a regent who handles the daily affairs and instruction of the boy-king. This person is not named but we can extrapolate his presence. Whoever he was, he set a standard that set Josiah on a different path, that gave him a thirst for knowing the God of his forefathers.

My children never knew me before I walked with God. They never saw those years of transition from living a degenerate life to living in God through the Holy Spirit. But I know many people whose children and grandchildren have seen the adults in their lives take a shift for good.

It is never too late to change. The children are watching.

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Art by Joseph Liner

Thirty two years ago, I responded to a nation-wide call to Christians around the country to fast and pray in Washington, D.C. II Chronicles 7:14 was the keystone verse to that call and that day became known as Washington for Jesus. I arrived with national hope for healing but left with disappointment.

II Chronicles 7:14
“. . . if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I had taken the call seriously. I traveled a long way, prepared myself to fast, and meditated on the scriptures. In my imagination, the Mall would be filled with prayer like in the days of David and Solomon and the Shekinah glory would fall. Instead, there was amplified praise music and prayer from the stage area, political rhetoric, picnics, vendors selling “Jesus Junk,” street proselytizing, and tracts, tracts, tracts. Hope was being directed to a political agenda and not to the instruction and promises God had given to Solomon.

Granted, it is much more difficult to turn a country’s focus. Change begins at the grass roots level, it begins with the individual.

So, here are the steps to healing that I have gleaned from this scripture. This is where I must begin:

  1. Know who you are. God is speaking to the “people called by my name.” Am I a child of God? I am. I have accepted God’s authority over my life.
  2. Humble yourself. As long as I believe my way is the best way, I can interfere with the divine plan. Humility with others is tough; with God, moreso.
  3. Pray. There are thousands of ways to pray, from casual chat to ritualized liturgy. They are all useful as long as the heart is bent toward God.
  4. Seek God’s face. A little different from prayer, but certainly an aspect of prayer, this seeking implies expectation. If I am told to seek then I am expected to find. The key is understanding that God’s face is reflected in a myriad of ways including the faces of human beings.
  5. Turn aside from the old ways and habits. This is probably the most difficult step if it’s done out of order. It’s not just a quarter turn, it’s a 180. It’s a decision. I don’t even have to walk in that new direction, just turn, and God will show up.

These are steps that will bring healing to any situation. And physical healing? I don’t know, perhaps that too. Perhaps, as the heart and soul are healed, the body follows. But I can’t speak with any authority about that, I have not yet grappled with serious illness.

The promises are threefold if we follow the five steps: God will hear, God will forgive, and God will heal.

I am reminded of the four friends who broke through a ceiling to lower their paralyzed friend down to Jesus [Mark 2:3-5] and it’s revealing to me that Jesus forgave his sins first.

I don’t know how to bring a nation around, but I believe we could start with our own lives. The “land” is basic, it’s the foundation of our Earth. What is foundational in our daily lives?

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