Josiah, Revival and the Word of God

In this piece, Bill Muehlenberg of Culture Watch describes what it would look like if the Church were to experience a true revival.  What must the Body of Christ do to get there? First and foremost  “The Word of God is crucial,” says Muehlenberg, “and we will not see God moving in glorious revival if we do not put the highest priority on Scripture, its proclamation, its reading, and its obedience.”

Amen!

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DefibrillatorThe need of the hour is revival. All believers should be praying for heaven-sent, life-changing revival. Without it the West looks to be all but finished. While whole libraries have been filled with books on revival, let me look at one case of biblical revival, and the basis of it.

I refer to the remarkable reforms undertaken by king Josiah of Judah following the discovery of the Book of the Law. We read about this remarkable king in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. And specifically we read of the rediscovery of the Word of God in 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chr. 34:14-33.

You would be familiar with the story. Josiah came to the throne at eight years of age and ruled for 31 years. During the eighteenth year of his reign (622 BC) the Book of the Law (most likely Deuteronomy) was found while temple repairs are being carried out.

While he had been involved in various reforms before this, real revival breaks out after the Word of God is found. The enormity of the predicament Judah is in and the need for change becomes clear to Josiah as he reads the book. We read about his response in 2 Chr. 34: 29-33.

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites – all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord – to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book. Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

This was a real turning around for the people of Judah. Sadly, it was not to last (as is often the case with revival), and after Josiah died, he was followed by Jehoahaz who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done” (2 Kings 23:32).

But a period of grace, renewal and reform took place which was to be among the great highlights of Judah’s history. And it was all solidly based on a clear commitment to the Word of God. Biblical revelation is always the basis for powerful renewal and revival.

In this discussion about characteristics of revival in the Old Testament, Walter Kaiser says this: “Every revival in the Old Testament rested solidly on a new and powerful proclamation of the Word of God.” August Konkel comments on the vital importance of written revelation in the reign of Josiah:

The story of Josiah illustrates the critical role of written revelation to establish practice of faith. Josiah began the work of purification in Jerusalem some ten years before the discovery of the book of the Law in the temple (2 Chron. 34:3). It was the written Word that was the impetus to renewing the vow and centralizing worship at the temple. Though tradition and symbol are critical to faith, the written Word provides a foundation to endurance and faithfulness.   Continue reading

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One Response to Josiah, Revival and the Word of God

  1. Darrel January 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    The idea of church wide, world wide “revival” goes way, way back. Is it something that we are commanded to pray for and seek? If it is, this is one command that has eluded me. Fifty something years ago it was 2 Chronicles 7:14 that was the ‘go-to’ verse for the ‘revivalists’. It was overrun with demands of witnessing and ‘soul winning’ with huge amounts of guilt being laid at the feet of those who did not perform up to the expectations of their leaders. Easy believeism and the ‘sinner’s prayer’ were the main-stays and converts was the end game. But real repentance and regeneration were never mentioned, let alone evidenced in any of the “converts”. The call for “revival” goes through cycles, ebb and flow, hot and cold. The definition has morphed into the dominionist’s view of things and it has become the thing necessary for the Lord to return to earth. Yet all of these ‘requirements, definitions and goals’ have no basis in Scripture. Now we are lead to believe that the missing ingredient to the longed for “revival” is the Word of God. Sounds great! Even plausible and an easy fix to get the desired result. Why, all we have to do is pick up our dusty Bible and read it and walla, revival! All this time it was so simple, how did we miss it? The guilt we allow others to lay on us for not even praying for this elusive “revival” can be overwhelming. But again I ask where is the Scripture that so mandates such a prayer? Churches, evangelists, etc. have bragged for years at the numbers of ‘baptisms’ and ‘people coming to Jesus’ due to their efforts with today seeing an increase in this activity to the shame of those who do it. It has gotten to the point that it has become one of the main bragging points for “preachers”, a resume enhancement for their next ‘senior pastor position’ and an excuse to demand more money. All of this garbage glorifies God HOW?

    Now it is suggested that we read the Word of God to find “revival”. NO! You read the Word of God to learn DOCTRINE, to be REPROVED in all matters of your life by the Holy Spirit, and be CORRECTED by Him, to be INSTRUCTED in righteousness that you may be COMPLETE and thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2Tim 3:16 & 17. Yet somehow the instruction given by Mr. Muehlenberg does not tell us how the reading of the Word of God on a constant, continual basis is to be accomplished. Perhaps he did not intend for such to be a life-long endeavor, but just enough to accomplish the goal of “revival”. Ever wonder why with all the prayers that have gone up that we do not see our desire of “revival?” James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures (lusts).” Heb. 4:12 tells us of another “function” of the Word of God—that of dissecting us into the smallest possible pieces due to our sins. Simply reading to Word is not enough. Looking at words on a page is meaningless without the Spirit doing a work in the heart. In a word, reading the Word void of a broken and contrite heart is useless. And even this is a gift of the Holy Spirit. BM misses the point of the Scripture he cited, it’s not the mere reading of the Word, but what that reading does to the heart of the reader. You will never have a genuine, lasting love for the Word of God until your heart is broken over your own sins. If repentance is nothing more than a one time event that happened when you prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ then you know nothing of godly repentance and a broken heart. Such thinking leads one to believe that he has reached a state of ‘sinless perfection’, has no need for his heart and life to be inspected, and makes the Savior out to be a liar 1 John 1:6-10

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