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Calling, Crying, and Cleaving

I was reading through 2 Kings and something interesting struck me at 2 Kings 22:8.  The verse says, Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.’ He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. This finding was during the reign of king Josiah, who began his reign at 8 years old.  He then repented for all the sins of his fathers because the way that they lived was so opposite of what the Word of YHWH said.

Although Josiah was not the one that had begun the moral, ethical, and spiritual decline of the Israelites, he tore his robes (2 Kings 22:11), humbled [himself], inquired of the Lord (verse 13), and wept in [YHWH’s] presence (verse 19).  He recognized that God had been displeased.  The resurfacing of the Scriptures made it clear that the actions of the Israelites were disdainful and angering to God.  The very people God chose to worship Him and show the rest of the world who their marvelous and powerful God was were the people that were actively putting up temples and high places dedicated to new, more trendy, more physiologically pleasing gods.  The anger of YHWH and His actions of destruction is merely God being faithful to His side of the covenant – which is to bless obedience and punish disobedience, that Israel might not be ruined forever by her sin, but might repent and again live in the love of her Creator.  Josiah saw the promises of God in Scripture.  He heard and understood the covenantal relationship God chose to begin with the sons and daughters of Abraham.  It seems that it was clear to Josiah that the only natural response  of this good, just, loving, wonderful God to the sin of his sons was to remove his hand of blessing from Judah and allow destruction to come upon them.

Josiah’s response is telling of what he believes about reality and YHWH.  It shows us that he believes the Lord to be holy to the utmost degree, demonstrated by his unbridled humility and mourning.  He believes that God is keeping His covenant even when the Israelites.  He believes sin is damaging to both the generation of those that sinned and  to subsequent generations.  Most importantly, Josiah believed in a God that was forgiving and in a dynamic relationship with us.  Josiah believed that God might choose to stay his forthcoming wrath if Josiah made it clear that he was sorry for the sins of his forefathers and was repentant in both heart and action for his own continuing propagation of the sins of his father.  I think this belief in YHWH’s variability in responses toward us is key for any act of genuine repentance, pleading with sincerity, acts of humility.  I’ll probably have to write another blog post about that in the near future.

I think our hearts should break over the sins our fathers perpetrated and perpetuated through us.  I think our hearts should be broken over our own ignorance as we discover a new what living in obedience to God should look like and how our predecessors have handed down patterns of living that are oppositional to the way of Christ.   My soul aches over the ways the ancestors of our church have handed down theologies and ways of living that result in the formation of exclusivist groups that are about keeping people out instead of inviting people in.  I cry over the judgmentalism, hypocrisy, pride, consumeris, exclusivism, politicism, and selfishness that has been deeply rooted in the American church.  My familial predecessors have left a legacy of alcoholism, gossip, abuse, emotional ineptitude, arrogance, and soul concealment.  These sins that those before us have committed are worth weeping over because of the way they have dishonored our communal covenant with God.  The sin is worth repenting over because of the way it now manifests itself in us – in me.  As we come into more truth about who God is and how we are to respond, our ignorance of those that went before us begins to evaporate and we see their actions more clearly.  As we see our forefathers and mothers in a more clear light, our own souls are elucidated and we see that those things we might once have called personality traits or just the way we do things are actually sinful behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets passed onto us.

Let us repentantly correct the sinful legacy of those that went before us, careful to pass on to those that come after us a legacy of holy love.

Coming Up Next:
A Review of Max Lucado’s Cast of Characters

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