LOST AND FOUND
Last week as I was looking for a lost book in this building I looked through the lost and found section of this church. Most of the items in our Lost and Found are books. And most of those books are Bibles. That makes sense. We bring one of our many Bibles, we leave it in the pew, it is picked up and placed in the Lost and Found, and then we always remember that we need to check the Lost and Found when we are halfway home, right?
2 Kings records the story of lost Scripture. In the case, the loss happened for very different reasons and it was found for different reasons. However, at the beginning of our resolution to read and listen to Gods Word in the next 90 days (or less), I think it is good for us to notice the impact of the loss and rediscovery of Gods Word in the life of his people.
We will pick up the story in 2 Kings 22. But before we read, some background: Josiah became king of Judah when he was eight. His father, King Amon, had been assassinated by some of his own officials. Josiahs grandfather, King Manasseh, left of legacy that of sin and corruption that eventually led to the nations downfall. Josiah assumes the throne of his forefathers with the sense that things must be changed. One of his works to reverse his nations future involves destroying shrines to false gods and restoring the Temple of God to purity. In doing so, he learns just how much things need to change ... read 2 Kings 22:1-13
What Was Lost?
What Was Found?
- They found their Calling - Josiah hears the Word of God and is convicted that his generation and the generations of his forefathers have not done what they were supposed to. They did not do what God wanted them to do because they had not become what God wanted them to be. Too often we go to the Word of God to learn what we shouldnt do. Is there anything against that? we ask. Is it prohibited or forbidden? I dont know that this is the best way to read and hear the Word of God. The Word of God is fundamentally positive, not negative. It is trying to restore our identity and personality not limit it. Our calling is not to avoid mistakes. Our calling in Christ Jesus is to live a new life the life modeled by Christ and given to us through baptism and supported in the spiritual community called church. Like the nation of Israel under Josiah, our calling comes from our covenant with God ...
- They found the Covenant - The discovery of the book of the covenant started with a project to restore the Temple. But Gods spirit does not dwell in a building it dwells in us. What started as a contracted project with carpenters, masons, and builders to restore the Temple became a restoration of the people ... (2 Kings 23:1-3) Then the king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the LORD with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and the priests, and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the LORD's Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD's presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, regulations, and laws with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. As we read the New Covenant over the next few months, lets pledge ourselves to keep the covenant. Like Israel, we will be blessed to do so. They were blessed because ...
- They found Ceremony and Celebration Now that they had Gods instruction, they celebrated the Passover again. They are not merely keeping new rules that they had lost. They have found a heritage and a ceremony that enables them to experience joy and renewal. King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: "You must celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in the Book of the Covenant." There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. (2 Kings 23) This experience of joy and celebration is shared with young and old. It is to be shared and kept by each generation.
- They found their Children - After Josiah found the law he set about removing the symbols of his nations decline the ungodly shrines to other powers. Among those was the altar to Molech: Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. Israel had invited this power that destroyed the life of their children into their country. But after hearing the Word of God, that power is sent away. Molech is still worshipped today (not literally of course) but many parents offer their children up to powers such as success, beauty, popularity, and family violence. When we influence our children to conform to a power other than Gods spirit, we are sacrificing them at the altar of a false god.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Passing on the word of God from one generation to the next. What could be more important? What else is worthy of shaping their Identity? Of shaping our identity?
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 15 January 2006
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