It’s the end of January and I’m finally going to write about something that has been on my heart and mind for a few months now. I shared some of this at our New Year’s Eve service, but will expound a little bit more, right here. Anyway, as 2012 was coming to a close and the time to cross over into 2013 was quickly approaching, I was sensing a real urgency about the season at hand and there was one phrase that I kept hearing very strong within my spirit. “It is a time to choose.”
I’m still hearing it, as strong as ever. “It is a time to choose.”
NOW is the time to choose. The time is now. People of God, it is time to rise up. It is time to be vigilant about our faith and start walking out what we have been preaching. No more compromise. There is no place for gray. It’s time to choose. Black or white? Light or dark? There is no room for anything in between. A line of demarcation has been drawn that can not be straddled. You have to pick a side. You have to make a choice.
What has God called you to do? Are you doing it? Refusal to choose, is still a choice. It’s time to step it up. If God has called you to be part of a community, then it’s time to invest in the people because there is no community without relationship. If God has called you to a ministry, then it’s time to commit to the work that He is doing there and submit to the leadership that He has appointed. What has God told you to do with your time, your job, your money, your health, your body, your personal relationships? Are you allowing Him to lead you in every single area of your life?
Delayed obedience is the same as disobedience. It’s time to go all in. No more excuses. I’ve been studying the different kings in the Bible, and recently read a passage that had such an impact on me that I’ve been thinking about it ever since. “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might according to all the law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.” If I had read that outside of the context of the surrounding scriptures, I might have thought it was written about David. He was a man after God’s own heart, after all (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22). However, that verse isn’t about David, it’s about Josiah. (2 Kings 23:25 NKJV)
Josiah was eight years old when he became king over Judah after his father, Amon, was killed. Amon had been an evil king. Manasseh, Josiah’s grandfather, was the most evil king to ever reign over Judah. He seduced the people of Judah into all kinds of evil idol worship. Scripture also tells us that he shed much innocent blood. In fact, it was Manasseh who provoked God to such anger that His wrath came upon Judah and they were eventually delivered as captives into the hands of their enemies. You see, Josiah was born into an evil idolatrous system. Then at the very young age of eight, he was made ruler over it. It was the only lifestyle he knew, and he didn’t know there was anything wrong with it.
Eighteen years into Josiah’s reign, the high priest finds the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord. A scribe takes the book and reads it to Josiah. Upon hearing the words of the Lord, Josiah tears his clothes and weeps, because he knows that God’s wrath must be upon Judah due to the disobedience of their fathers. He sends the high priest and four others to inquire of the Lord on behalf the people of Judah concerning all that was written in the book. The prophetess, Huldah, prophesies that God’s wrath will not be quenched and disaster will come to Judah. She also prophesies that it will not happen during Josiah’s lifetime because his heart was tender, he humbled himself before God, and God heard his cry.
Josiah then gathers all of Judah and reads the book to them. He makes a covenant before God and the people that he will follow the Lord and His commands with all of his heart and soul. Then all the people take a stand for the covenant with him. Josiah restores true worship to Judah. He completely gets rid of and destroys everything associated with idolatry, and executes all the idolatrous priests. Passover had not been observed in Jerusalem, since the days of judges, not even under any of the kings of Israel or Judah. Now, under Josiah, in the eighteen year of his reign, the people celebrate Passover. This is why it is written that “neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25 NIV)
Josiah knew it was a time to choose when he heard the words of the book. Instead of choosing to follow in the evil footsteps of his fathers, he chose to follow God. He chose to turn away from everything that he had ever known in order to wholeheartedly follow after the Lord. Josiah reigned over Judah for 31 years, but it was this choice in the eighteenth year of his rule that characterized his entire reign. The way that Josiah completely turned his life around to pursue God was more radical than any king that came before or after him, including David. That’s amazing! How would you like to be remembered that way?
Now is a time to choose.
What will you choose?
Recommended reading: 2 Kings 21:1 – 23:30