2 Chronicles 34: 29-33
The king called a meeting (29-30): We live in a day, as I’ve commented previously, where commitment to church gatherings is on the wane. But whenever all the people come together to meet with God significant things can happen. It seems patently obvious that Josiah was not calling a meeting with himself, but with God. The telling phrase is: He went up to the temple of the LORD with… He was not calling the people to him, but to come with him to meet God. Authentic spiritual leadership points to God; it does not get in His way.
Note full well that the meeting could have been held under a banner reading: ‘Back to the Bible’ (30b). Josiah called all the people to a gathering that was God-centred and Bible-based. Somebody commented, sadly, that the Welsh revival ‘sang itself out of existence.’ It became focused on its own ‘bless-ups’, is how one great preacher put it. There is a clear and present danger facing the contemporary church. It is the tendency to idolise music and song/musicians and singers. We can put too great a focus here. As you read through the Bible you will find that there were significant meetings with God in which there was no music or song at all. In fact the contemporary emphasis on music is not reflected in the New Testament, where there is very little mention of it. You may like to think through why that is. How many people would turn up for a service where all that happens is that Scripture is read (lots of it) and people make commitments to obey? There’s no bouncy, up-beat number to warm things up. Well you can have a meeting of the church without melody, but you can’t have one without a Bible.
The king made a commitment (31): In so doing he set an example: The king stood by his pillar and before GOD solemnly committed himself to the covenant: to follow GOD believingly and obediently; to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to confirm with his life the entire covenant, all that was written in the book. The Message. God had made it clear to Josiah that he loved his ‘heart’ and that he would die in peace, not seeing any of the terrible judgment fall. But it did not make him complacent. He wanted to be God’s man, heart and soul, and to declare this publicly, and encourage others to make a similar commitment. There was no ‘I’m all right Jack’ mentality with him.
The people made a commitment (32): We are not really surprised to read this after hearing about the king’s example. He established a pattern that the people copied. Twice we read that he made (32, 33) the people follow God. He exerted a strong influence over their hearts and minds. As long as he lived. He kept them on the straight and narrow. The Message.
This personal commitment had national significance (33): Josiah did a thorough job of cleaning up the pollution that had spread throughout Israelite territory and got everyone started fresh again, serving and worshiping their GOD. The Message.
Finally for today, here is a wonderful quote from F.B. Meyer that sums up this thirty fourth chapter: We should read the Bible with a particular application to the days in which we live. It is well enough to accept its statements as being generally true and credible; but it is better to realize their pertinence to ourselves and our circumstances…Josiah turned the lantern on the evils of his time, and saw how God was feeling with respect to them. The Bible is a book for all time. What it said, it says. What it was, it is. You tell me it was written so many centuries ago; but I reply the ink is still wet on its immortal pages…Sin is the same, man the same, God the same, in all ages. And the Bible’s claim to be God’s Word is substantiated by the fact that it is possessed of living power, and of the same perennial freshness as the sun, or the spring, or the ocean, or the faces of the little children. Would that we might daily read it as we read the newspaper, damp from the press, realizing that it is our Father’s great message for the life of every day! Great verses through the Bible, p.162.
Prayer: Lord, I want your priorities to be mine.