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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

When change comes to the heart, hope is born

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Rev. Lance Clay
He was eight years old and king of a nation. The kings preceding him are not recognized as being kings who properly led the nation but now it is left to him. As he grew and developed the nation followed suit. Josiah built the nation and is recognized for a number of inventions to help achieve that. But he is best remembered for bringing a spiritual renewal to the land. He removed the worship of other gods and renewed worship of Israel's God, Yahweh alone. Re-establishing worship in the Temple meant cleaning out the trash of false worship and neglect and, but this proved a bit more than was bargained. We read in 2 Kings 22, that Hilkiah the priest notified Shaphan who was a Scribe with what is reported to be the Book of the Law. The Scribe read it and took it to the King. After Josiah heard it read The Scripture reads that he tore his clothes, a symbol of grief centered in horror and astonishment. The words of the law was likely from the works of Moses found in Deuteronomy that clearly spelled out blessings for obeying God and curses for disobedience. One would assume that Josiah recognized that the nation was in great trouble with God because of the failure of the nation to walk in God's ways in the years past.

We read that there was a woman named Huldah who was a prophetess living in Jerusalem and she was sought out for the purpose of discerning the words and the will of God. Sure enough the reply came back- "We're in trouble! She declared that God would punish the nation and withhold nothing in doing so. However, because Josiah responded as he did, it would not happen in his lifetime.

Joshiah's reform was noteworthy, however, he was later killed in a battle and the leadership that followed him had not learned. Josiah's efforts called people to return to God. He replaced the structure of worship and laid the groundwork for the people to follow after the law. However, as is repeated many times Josiah was not able to do the one necessary thing to make the changed stick. All his work and reforms changed the practice but not the hearts of the people.

This scenario is played out many times and in many ways. It is so important to recognize that only the Holy Spirit can bring change. Revivals are nice but short lived. It takes a major awakening within the person for changes to happen that will last. At a moment when our own nation is trying more rules and regulations to bring safety and protection, the past how many thousands of years have proved that laws don't work. Taking toys away or increasing penalties cannot reach into the heart of an individual. I think WWI was the war to end all wars if I remember correctly. Wow, didn't that work!

If one was to look deeper perhaps a key might be found that has probably held the most merit. When the change comes within the heart the possibility of hope begins to be seen. The best formula that arises out of that would be found in the promise God has given to us found in 2 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 way, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land." Only the Holy Spirit can bring change. Laws and idealistic thinking have failed over and over. What we need is a help that is greater than ourselves and that help has been offered to us, we just need to look past ourselves to find it.

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