In the chapters of 2 Chronicles 34-35 we read the thrilling story of the revival of God’s people under the leadership of the boy king, Josiah. Hearing a word from the Lord, he tore down the infrastructure of idol worship and raised up the banner of God. As exciting as that account is, the bitter truth is that it was short lived.
I think we’ve all had times in our personal lives of revival and energy for God. They are times of great enthusiasm and grace. We’ve also experienced a fall from those times and fallen back into rote religious practices that could be characterized as good habits, but they lack heart.
Josiah had some obstacles in front of him that loomed large, but he was resilient in his faith. His age was certainly a cause for some to doubt him. His family background was steeped in idolatry and evil behavior. Even his nation was an obstacle, fickle in their faith and willing to disobey God with little resistance.
In your life you’ve likely run into some revival obstacles. The Enemy is at work looking to destroy (not merely maim or frighten) unobservant believers (1 Peter 5:8). The world, dressed in all it’s finery, calls out to the hearts of men and women with a siren song … tempting even the strongest of us (1 John 2:15-16). Even when we think we are strong, a wandering heart can betray our convictions and hopes (Jeremiah 17:9). No, revival isn’t just a matter of hoping for a renewed interest and focus … it is going to take effort on our part to seek God’s favor and strength. Notice some characteristics of Josiah that fueled his revival…
He Sought the Lord! (read 2 Chronicles 34:1-3). Seeking the Lord is a theme found throughout the prophets. What are you really seeking in life? Comfort? Riches? Power? Fulfillment? Even when we are seeking the basics of life we are falling short of Jesus’ admonition to seek the Kingdom first (Matthew 5:31-34). What has your attention? Your heart? What is holding your thoughts captive? Revival comes when we seek the Lord with our whole heart.
He Sought God’s Will Through Prayer! (read 2 Chronicles 34:21). Inquiring of the Lord through prayer is a part of the revival picture. How can we experience revival without seeking God’s wisdom, knowledge, and will. We must ask God to help us see it, but we also must open that book up and read it! Allow God’s word to expose our areas of weakness so that His healing can begin. (Colossians 1:9)
He Humbled Himself Before God! (2 Chronicles 34:26-28). I cannot tell you what that means in your life. In what way do you need to humble yourself before God? Attitudes? Words? Haughty feelings toward others? To humble yourself before God means that you will accept His rule and will. In Josiah’s case that meant his death … God took him from this earth so that he would not have to experience the painful destruction of Judah. If we are willing to withhold anything from God, that is the area we need to humble ourselves. 1 Peter 5:5-7 says, “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Humility was one of the qualities God admired in another young man in the Bible, Daniel (Daniel 10:11-12).
He Kept His Covenant Promises! (2 Chronicles 34:31-32) A covenant is different than a contract. Our covenant with God is not a matter of negotiation, but a matter of accepting His terms. When you were baptized into Christ you undertook a covenant of faith that called you into service. How are we doing at keeping the enthusiasm and hopeful faith that we expressed on the day we said ‘yes’ to Jesus?
I think a lot of things are done in the name of trying to bring on revival … but it seems to me that when we turn our full attention to God … seek Him, pray to Him, humble yourself before Him, and keep your promises to Him. These basics were recognized by God in Josiah’s life, and I think He would recognize them in your life as well. We overcome the obstacles to revival when we follow in the footsteps of Josiah!
Thanks for reading,