Maze Texture by Patrick Hoesly from Flickr
I’m less and less interested in running circles around ideas and movements. I want to know Jesus & be known by Him. – Lore Ferguson
Our summer series at church is called ‘Uncommon’ and each week we examine a different part of Scripture to see how God calls us to be uncommon in our walk with Him. Its only week two of the series, but so far I”m really love it (as I usually do at our church.)
There are some weeks that I feel are particularly directed at my heart, and this was one of them. I am a thinker, and as such sometimes mull over things for quite some time. And when I can’t come to a conclusion or develop an answer it starts to get to me. I feel that I must have a stance on a particular topic, or I must know what the Bible says about every time that particular word is mentioned in the Bible. And while there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with these things, when they come to be all you think about, there is a problem.
I had been reading the Bible in a Year, and brought it to work last week in the midst of all the turmoil in my mind. As I was reading through the different passages on my lunch break, this verse jumped out at me Loud and Clear:
The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living. Psalm 19:8 (NLT)
And the last part of that verse hit me, his commands are CLEAR and they give insight on how we are to live. All the questions I’d been having, all the things I thought I had to figure out…I was making them into something more important that seeking God’s face and what He has said about those things. And all of this confusion, it wasn’t of Him…it was a result of me trying to once again figure things out for myself.
On Sunday we were looking at 2 Chronicles 33-34 regarding the story of King Josiah. We started off looking at the family situation he came from. Josiah could have made all the excuses in the world about the spiritual depravity of his nation. His grandfather, who had been raised in a God fearing home under Hezekiah, had gone out and brought every god possible into the nation to be worshiped. Not only had be become more depraved that the pagan nations around Israel, he had taken these idols into the temple in Jerusalem. Manassah (Josiah’s grandfather) “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2Ch 33:2).The Lord brought judgement against Manassah and he humbled himself before the Lord and “he knew the the Lord was God.” (2Ch 33:13) While Chronicles states that he got rid of all the idols he had in the country, by the time his son Ammon is ruling, it seems they have been returned to the high placed and this debauchery continued until Josiah became king at a very young age.
Though it was not part of Josiah’s upbringing, He “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…and began to seek the God of his father David” (2Ch 34:2-3). Josiah realized that spiritual corrosion had gripped his people and he knew that they needed to return to the Lord. His knowledge at that time was limited, but he did was he could to restore the sacred places. Later in 2 Ch 34: 14, 18 the ‘Book of the Lord ‘ is revealed in the ruins and when it is brought to King Josiah and read to Him, he wept and mourned the way in which he knew his people had been dishonoring the one true God. Our pastor said it was interesting to see that while they knew it was the Book of the Law, the truth had been so far removed from them that they did not know any of what was contained within it.
One of the first things our pastor challenged us with in looking at this particular passage is: what is corroding spiritually in your own life? What are you making excuses about, that instead you should be dealing with? Explaining things away is usually a sign that we don’t want to deal with something we know is heading us down the wrong path. He mentioned a list of things that could be the beginning or root of corrosion in our lives and for me I resonated with bitterness and putting intellectual pursuits above the pursuit of my relationship with God. Drifting away from truth usually starts with justification. The heart begins to harden and resent intrusion, most often seen through saying or thinking ‘back off’.
And then the question that resonated most with the struggles of the past several weeks was ‘What are the idols you have created in your own life?’ and he read a list of possibilities and I began to see that I had begun to ponder all these things I saw as ‘big questions’ and had replaced them with seeking after the Lord and his desires for what I think on, as well as having peace that He has the answer and that He will share with my heart if that is what i’m to have an understanding of. I was deeply convicted that so many times I think I’ll just figure out things on my own, not ‘bother’ him with that particular issue because I have lots of resources, and then really despair when I become so overwhelmed. This was definitely a wake up call to get back to spending time daily and moment by moment with the Lord, coming to know HIM and his Word so deeply that I have peace in this ‘big things’ and know whether they are things I should engaged with or not.
and I am thankful for his grace. Because His grace is what changes our hearts, molds them and shapes them…into humble vessels to be used of him.
James 4:6 “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Praise Him, who gives more grace…