Monday, July 8, 2019

Experiencing God’s Revival 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, 2 Kings 23:1-24

Experiencing God’s Revival

Text: 2 Chronicles 34:1-7, 2 Kings 23:1-24

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Introduction: Joke, Farmer and his wore out mule.
A farmer called the vet to care for his broken-down mule. "He just ain't got any pep, Doc."  The doctor came and gave the mule a shot. The farmer watched as the mule's ears stood up, then the mule reared up on its back legs and then took off like a booster rocket.  Watching the disappearing cloud of dust left by the mule the farmer asked the veterinarian, "Just how much of that stuff did you give to 'em, Doc?"

"Oh, about a dollars’ worth,"

"Well, then you better give me about 3 dollars’ worth."

"Now why in the world would you want to take horse medicine?"

"Well, Doc, somebody's got to catch that crazy mule."

How often in my own life could I have used a shot in the arm?  Something to get me up and going again.  In our spiritual life we call it revival.

Preaching about revival is not something I am good at.  I don’t like feel confident doing it because I don’t really understand revivals, at least not in the way they I read about them in the Bible and in the history of our nation. I’ve not experienced revivals like that. I once attended a seminar taught by Bro. Hugh Atkinson, the pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Fort Worth. A man I really admired. He preached on revival and what he told us from his 50 plus years in the ministry was that revival was God’s business and not ours. We must get ourselves ready for revival, but it only comes in the time and to the place that God chooses.

The Last Good King  II Chronicles 34:1-7, 14-21

1-7 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust [of them], and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

14-21 And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.  And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it. And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.

Last King of Judah God Would Bless

Josiah was the last "good" king of Judah.

Review the list of Good and bad Kings
The Kings of Judah, (good kings in red, mixed in orange)
Rehoboam       928-911
Abijah/Abijam             911-908
Asa 908-867
Jehoshaphat     867-851
Jehoram/Joram 851-843
Ahaziah/Jehoahz 843-842
Athaliah 842-836
Joash/Jehoash  836-799
Amaziah 799-786
Uzziah 786-758
Jotham 758-742
Ahaz 742-726
Hezekiah 726-697
Manasseh 697-642
Amon  642-640
Josiah  640-609
Jehoahaz 609-608
Jehoiakim/Eliakim 608-597
Jehoiachin 597
Zedekiah 597-587

Josiah was Judah's last good king, it was his reformation of 621 B.C. that did more than all else to restore Israel's commitment to God's Book of the Law; and it was loyalty to that written revelation that provided the hope for Judaism during the Exile. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

2 Chronicles, relates that in his 8th year when he was 16 years old, he "began to seek after the God of David his father," and that in the 12th year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the idolatry that had become common and accepted to the people of his kingdom.

As King he led a revival in the nation of Israel which was spurred by the discovery of God's Book of Law, which had been hidden away in the temple.

In the 18th year of his reign, Josiah sent Shaphan the scribe to the temple to arrange with Hilkiah the high priest for the repairs to be made in the temple. On giving a report back to the King, Hilkiah also gave to Shaphan a book which he had found in the "house of Yahweh." Shaphan read from the book to the king Josiah and what he heard caused him rend his robe in distress and fear. The king then sent a deputation to Huldah the prophetess for her opinion of the on the book; and she told him that the curses were valid, and worse, all the consequences of disobeying and disregarding God for all these many years was now coming due.

The Bible says, he sought God and walked in the ways of David. He removed the symbols of idolatry. He purged Judah of wickedness, he reinstituted the Passover and other religious feasts and observances and that he turned himself and his people to God's Word.

A Leader that God will bless

Based on the example of Josiah, we can draw applications and marks of distinction that point out a leader that God can bless.

First, and foremost, they are people who turn to God's Word.
The Bible is central in their lives, their actions, their decisions and their plans.
They understand that the Bible is the very word of God, it is the revelation of who God is and what God has proclaimed for our guidance and walk with Him.

Secondly, they will seek God.
The Bible is important to one of God’s leaders not because it is a beautiful, ancient and majestic collection of poems, history and philosophy, but because it is a book that and points the way to those who would seek Him.

Thirdly, Leaders blessed by God, remove the symbols of idolatry.
In our day that is not a carved statue in a grove of trees set upon a mountain but other more abstract symbols of idolatry. Things like materialism (worship of almighty buck)
Sexual Impurity (indulgence of sexual images and actions)
Human pride (the upholding of man and his accomplishments over his need and dependence of God)
Amorality (the lack of definite right and wrong choices)    
Anything that would take our devotion and worship from God and direct it to anything or anyone else would be a symbol of idolatry that God blessed leaders would strive to remove.          

Who then could be a leader, that God can bless.
We think of Josiah and relate our leaders to Presidents, politicians and those in our government. Yes they are leaders but I don’t think they will have much of an impact on any revivals that touch our lives.

The leaders that will affect revival in our lives and in our family’s lives are pastors, church leaders, and brothers and sisters in the Lord. Leaders that impact us are especially, fathers and mothers. Sometimes God can use friends and co-workers to lead us to spiritual revival. And we should never be so foolish as to think that God cannot use us, as insignificant as we might be, to lead others and be a channel for God’s blessing in their life.

Whoever the leader might be they, in some or many ways, will follow the pattern of works established by Josiah, emphasizing the Word of God and removing the idols that distract and rob us of finding God in our life.

The Last Hope  2 Kings 23:7-24

Israel's need of Revival

Josiah came at a time when Israel truly needed a revival, a great awakening of their need for God. As we read about the reforms of Josiah, we can see what had happened in the many years of so many bad and indifferent Kings of Judah.

II Kings 23:7 Prostitution and Homosexuality, And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

II Kings 23:10 Murder of children, And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. (The valley of Topheth, after this time was turned into a garbage dump and during the time of Christ was know as the valley of Hinnom or Gahenna, with Jesus likened to the never ending burning of Hell.)

II Kings 23:21-23 The worship of God had been forsaken, 21  And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;  But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem. (Josiah led a great national Passover, such as had not been seen since the times of Moses, and King David and Solomon)

II Kings 23:24 Occultism was being practiced, “Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.” (Josiah rid the land of necromancers, mediums, fortune tellers, those who sought to speak with the dead or raise and communicate with demons.)

Our Need for Revival

When you read what Josiah did in Israel you can’t help but see a parallel in our own nation today.
Sexual sin. Today, prostitution, homosexuality and the LGBTQ lifestyle is regarded as just another kind of normal, instead of the deadly form of perversion and moral cesspit that it actually is.

Murder of the Innocent. You read in the Old Testament about the the murder of children in the worship of Moloch and think surely no people, no one who can be called a human being would do such a thing to their own child and yet in America or own worship of Moloch sees the sacrifice of thousands of babies each day. 

Abortion is the number one killer in the US, around 5000 die each year from cigarettes, 25,000 from drunk drivers, but in the 1st 10 years after abortion was legalized over 15 million lives have been lost by the so called “choice” of a parent.  All the wars in the 200 year history of or country have taken less than 1 1/2 million, yet in the years between 1980 and 2012, our nation legally has allowed that many babies to be terminated by abortion every single year. Right now between 600, 000 and 900,000 babies are being sacrificed every year for the convenience and pleasure of their parents.

The Occult. Is there a belief in the occult in our nation as their was in Israel?
From horoscopes (Melinda's Horoscope), to crystal therapy, to reincarnation, to Satanic worship, and witchcraft. This year witches have got held coven with the express purpose of cursing the President of the United States and statues worshipping Satan have been erected at several prominent cities in our nation.

Families at Risk. How are our families doing in America today?

The majority of families in our country today are not traditional families with a Mom, Dad and children from the marriage.
30% of all children under 21 are being raised in single parent homes, with no Dad or no Mom, most times it is the father that is gone. In 2012 only about 46% of children grow up with their family intact and their parents not divorced or absent. In 1950 that number was 85%

Also as of 2012 40% of all births were to unmarried mothers. 2/3 or all young people live with a partner and 3/4 of all first marriages lived together before they got married.
In many cities, youth Gangs have filled the void left by absent or uncaring Moms and Dads. Drug use has become a replacement for the lack of love from parents. Children become rebel against parents who obviously don't care or love them. Today the family is no longer defined as parents and children but as any group of people from friends to coworkers to drug addicts.

Unfaithful Churches. What about the state of our churches? Is it any better, is there a bastion of hope a foundation from which we can rebuild our lives, our families and our nation?

Not just in the churches at large across our land. In too many fundamentalist churches, legalism is regarded as godliness. In more affluent churches and denominations, materialism is worshipped as a sign of God's love and promises. While love is used as an excuse not to call out sin and even encourage those who are caught in its trap to hold it up as a blessing from God. After all God made me this way and He doesn’t make any mistakes, they blindly and fatally repeat.

Too often disunity with a local body is viewed as standing for the truth, while pride is understood as duty to God. In so many so-called churches, slick, professional entertainment of the members is now believed somehow to be the working of the Holy Spirit.

Illustration: The Laodicea Complex

In a sharp parallel our families, our churches and our nation is a model of the church that Jesus warned in Revelation 3:14. We suffer from the Laodicean Complex, a belief that we are doing alright, when in truth we are a total wreck.

Rev 3:14-17 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

To every church in the letters to the Seven Churches Jesus said, “He that hath an ear let him hear.” It was an invitation not to the corporate body but to the individual to hear and respond, and that invitation brings us to our last point.

The Last Revival  II Chronicles 34:26-28

And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.  Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.

A Godly Man Hold Back God's Wrath

Josiah consults with Huldah the prophetess and she tells him that what is written in the book of the Law cannot but undone and the consequences of their sin and the judgment of God was on its way, but Josiah as an individual had made a difference.
She said because of the tenderness of his heart and his humility, God would show mercy in his lifetime.

Josiah, began a revival in Judah, but first he had a revival in his own heart.

The Bible records that he did what was right 2 Chr 34:2, he repented before God 2 Chr 34:19 and he gave true worship, the right worship to God 2 Chr 34:30-33.

Because of these things, while Josiah was King, Huldah told him, God would keep his wrath, his judgment from Judah.

Holding Back The Judment of God

Do you ever wonder, what it keeping God’s judgment from our nation, from our family or from us as individuals?

Do you remember the story of Abraham when the Lord came and told him that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you remember what Abraham did?

Genesis 18:20-33 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?  That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:  Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.  And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.  And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.  And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.  And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.  And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Is there a principle here?  Does God hold back his judgment on a nation, a family or on an individual person because there is a remnant of godly people praying and working for good. God’s people who are interceding for all those around them who do not know God. And they are praying for mercy and for the forbearance and patience of God before judgment falls.

I think this is true. I think we see it in other places in scripture where we are told to prayer for sins of others and in the passage that talks about the Holy Spirit leaving this world when the rapture takes place and God’s full judgment is poured down as recorded in the book of Revelation.
Do you realize then if this is the principle we see at work in Josiah, and in Sodom and Gomorrah, how important you are right now? You and others like you may be the remnant of God that God is using to turn people toward him and to hold back his wrath.

God in talking to the prophet Ezekiel says this in Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Sometimes what is needed more than a great national revival, or a great national leader is just a personal revival and a determination that in my own God given sphere of influence I will be the leader God wants me to be.

I will commit myself to be the one who stands against sin and stands with God. I will in my own life and home removes the symbols of idolatry, in whatever form that takes in my life. I will purge wickedness from my life and most importantly, I will turns to God's Word and seek God in its supernatural messages of forgiveness and hope.
Perhaps today I will let the revival begin with me.

R. G. Lee said this about Revival
If all the sleeping folk will wake up,
If all the lukewarm folk will fire up,
If all the dishonest folk will confess up,
If all the disgruntled folk will cheer up,
If all the depressed folk will cheer up,
If all the estranged folk will make up,
If all the gossipers will shut up,
If all true soldiers will stand up,
If all the dry bones will shake up,
If all the church members will pray up...
Then we can have a revival!

Isaiah 57:15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Illustration: Gypsy Smith, How to start a revival?

Rodney “Gypsy” Smith was an evangelist that preached around WWII, he awa a Roma gypsy born in wagon outside London. He was friends with Fanny Crosby, G. Campbell Morgan and H. A. Ironsides. His campaigns saw tens of thousands of conversion with crowds as large as 1 to 2 thousand people. Once Gypsy Smith was asked how do you start a revival?  He thought for a moment and then replied, "Go home, lock yourself in your room, kneel down in the middle of your floor, draw a chalk mark all around yourself and ask God to start a revival inside that chalk mark.  When He has answered your prayer, the revival will be on."

Conclusion: Have We Seen The Last Revival

I wonder if the people of Josiah time knew that they were experiencing the last revival before their nation ceased to exist?

I seriously doubt that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah understood that if there had only been 10 righteous people in their midst that God would have withheld His wrath for a while longer.

I also wonder sometime when God will look down on our nation and say, “Time’s up, there number of righteous people is so low and no one is willing to stand in the gap, my judgment will now begin.”
We cannot know where we stand in God’s plan of the ages and his plan for our nation or world. That is not our responsibility. But let me tell you what is.

For God’s faithful children here today our responsibility is to be ready, by realizing that we can have an impact on eternity and the world around you. That God may be counting you as one of the righteous standing in the gap. So draw your circle, pray for your own revival, pray as one standing in the gap for others and then try and pull those around into that revival circle as well.

Oh, we need a revival, right here in our church, right here in our homes, right here in our nation, but we won't have revival there until we have it right here in our heart and much more than just our own lives and eternity may be at stake.

That last thing I want you to consider this morning is if you are here and you’re not saved. Do you ever think that the only thing standing between you and the final judgment of God may be the prayers of those Christians around you? Do you ever stop and think of what may happen one day when they are gone? When it is just you standing before a holy and righteous God who then asks you, “why did you reject my son, who died for you? Why did you reject my love? Why did you reject my Word of warning?”

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