"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pursuing GOD: Accurate Hearts, Quick Response

Image from United Bible Societies.
There was no king like King Josiah---either before him or after him. One of Israel's greatest revivals happened in his reign.

From the time of Judges, the Passover rites had been terribly neglected. Even great men like Gideon, David, and Samuel the prophet failed to restore the Passover. Idolatry aggravated and accumulated in various forms and fashions until God sent Josiah. It was time for judgment. See that? Josiah was God's blessing to His people, and it was also the time for judging them.

God's judgment is God's blessing

The Law was discovered in King Josiah's time (after being lost for generations). When it was read before him by Shaphan the royal secretary, Josiah's heart broke. At once, he took the Law seriously, losing no time. He commanded his royal officials: "Find out what we must do in response" (2 Kings 22).

Be accurate in spirit in the last days. Click here.

In Response

God always looks for accurate hearts. Having the bible always with you is useless if your attitude is not like Josiah's---always desiring to know what God requires in response to his Word. God was ready to punish all Israel, but spared Josiah. Why?

"Because you took me seriously and the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people. Also, you responded with humble repentance. You even tore your robe in disgust and wept before me, (so) I'm taking you quite seriously." God was delighted by King Josiah's accurate heart. That's a vital principle in being God's flesh.

In short, it was because Josiah took God seriously.

Few churches today take God seriously. They have God's Word (or, they use the bible to grow their empires) but never take God seriously. They go on and on with their own human ways.

A Radical Attention for God

When we take God seriously, it means we respond with our whole lives. It should be a radical response---turning worlds upside down. Here, Josiah turned Jerusalem upside down, not leaving any stone unturned. He broke everything made in human ways. He "desacralized" what religious "bible-centered" men built and treated as sacred (chapter 23). 

Everything, and I mean everything, was demolished to dusts, flat on the ground! This gave way for the Passover celebration. You cannot celebrate it---or communion---without accurate hearts involved in the process. The Passover (or communion for Christians) is useless when there's still a bit of human effort and human ways involved. Everything must be demolished!

King Josiah even demolished what his ancestor King Solomon had "accomplished" (23.12-15) in his time. That was an extremely radical step for King Josiah. All throughout, he "desecrated" and "defiled" what his forefathers had achieved. Why the terms "desecrated" and "defiled"? It was because King Josiah was destroying what had become an institution, traditionally a well accepted and sacred practice, something their forefathers had managed to introduce as "bible-based." 

He went against popular tradition. Can anything be more radical and revolutionary? That's what it means to have accurate hearts.

It was similar to how the disciples in Acts blamed everything on the Jews, declaring that they "killed" or "murdered" the Anointed One. Stephen defiantly declared that they were "as stiff-necked as your forefathers were!" Imagine calling their forefathers---in effect, their bible-based religion founders---stiff-necked!

No Not One!

And to top it all, Josiah declared that their forefathers "have not obeyed a thing written in this book (the Law), followed none of the commands given them (22.11-13). Not even one! Do you see this? It was a terrible sweeping indictment. Was he being judgmental, too condemning? Was he a fault finder? No, he was just having an accurate heart---being God's flesh.

Judgmental, yes. A mere fault finder, no. "Judgmental" means being excessively critical, and that was exactly what Josiah was. The occasion called for it. When God is angry because of disobedience in his own people, you cannot afford to be sparingly critical or pretend like everything's okay just to avoid being labeled judgmental. And he counted himself culpable of the sins of his forefathers (22.19), so he repented. He didn't have a holier-than-thou attitude.

You see, we must know how to judge when we have received the spoken, active Word of God! We should have the accurate judgment to see what is wrong and what is right---and declare wrong wrong, regardless of who gets affected---even our great faith forefathers---or church founders and leaders. God must be obeyed!

I see how the church fathers after Acts erred when they started toying with the idea of putting up church denominations. It goes against Jesus' prayer in John 17.23 for a complete unity among believers. And I played along with it, being involved in denominational ministries that served to grow only a sector of Jesus' church, not his whole body.

The will of God in the End Times. Click here.

Many denominations dare not see their church fathers like how Josiah did his and continue in their fathers' sins. To God, obedience should be total. Everything should be done in God's ways and Word alone. Anything done in human ways or using man's ideas, no matter how effective they seem, is idolatry. And we have to repent, because God is "on my way to utterly destroy, in judgment, this place and its people...because they've left me and went with other gods, making me very, very angry..." (22.14-17).

Thoroughly Angry?

But it didn't seem that way---God being thoroughly angry. All along they thought God was pleased with their beautiful worship programs! They couldn't see in the spirit, so as long as their flesh was satisfied and comfortable (no physical punishment from God) they concluded that God was pleased with the way things were.

Blind people are flesh or materially oriented. As long as they "see" that nothing worse is happening to them, they feel okay. Only when God harms them in the flesh will they realize that something is wrong. Never be flesh-oriented. Be led by the Spirit! Have accurate hearts. Don't wait till you get punished or hurt physically to get enlightened.

If you cannot be moved in spirit but only recognize spiritual error when your flesh is in pain (sickness, you lost your job, you lost money, you lost a loved one, dwindling church membership, reduced church income, etc.), then you are, of all people, blind in spirit.

Israel's condition was okay in the time time of King Josiah as far as material things were concerned, yet he saw in the spirit and realized the depth of Jerusalem's spiritual rottenness. He saw it before something bad in the flesh happened to him. God wants to be taken seriously---he deserves it. 

And taking him seriously means we become radical believers, extremely obedient and with accurate hearts. We should be willing to demolish anything not from God, even things built by our church forefathers which are not according to the Word and ways of God.