Read: 2 Chronicles 34:14-28, Phillipians 2:8, Matthew 23:12
Reflect: We see in 2 Chronicles 34 that King Josiah didn’t use his position as a way to put himself above the law. He tore his clothes when the Book of the Law was discovered and he realized that they were not following what God had asked. We hear the words “humility” and “humble” used a lot but what does that really mean? How can we show humility at home, school, work, and in our relationship with God? Most of us think first to how we handle success, whether it’s getting first chair trumpet in the school band, scoring the game winning goal for your soccer team, or getting the lead role in a play. Do we react in a way that puts ourselves on a pedestal, or do we not let that success change who we are and act in humility? For most of us that’s what we think of when we hear the word “Humble.” Matthew 23:12 says, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” So, lets look at different ways that you can show humility on a daily basis.
– Confess your sins to God: Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We can show humility by confessing our sins to God and looking to Him for help to overcome our sin knowing that we can’t beat sin on our own.
– Acknowledge your sins to others: (James 5:16) As well as confessing our sins to God, we must also share with others the weaknesses that we confess to God. This allows us to have someone there to keep us accountable and to keep us from denying our need for God’s forgiveness.
– Show restraint when somone wrongs you: (1 Peter 3:8-9) It can be easy to talk bad about and degrade someone who has done or said something that has been hurtful to you. Being humble in this situation will prevent you from placing yourself above others, while also displaying a strong Godly character.
– Watch your words: (Ephesians 4:31-32) When you put someone down with what you say, chances are you are doing it to lift yourself up as a boost to your pride. Instead we should use our words to lift others up and not ourselves.
– Be quick to forgive: (Matthew 18:21-35) Forgiveness is a denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice, but once again putting others ahead of yourself.
Respond: We must humble ourselves because that’s what Jesus did when he was crucified on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Phillipians 2:8 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on the cross!” Take a look at different areas of your life this week (home, school, work) and come up with 1 or 2 areas where you could improve on your humility. Where do you need to lift others up and where do you need to remove yourself from a pedistal you have put yourself on? Use some of the examples from above or come up with your own. Then share your answer with a friend, family member, or leader whom you trust so they can help you on your journey to becoming more humble.
Read: 2 Kings 23:1-20, 2 Chronicles 34:3-13, Proverbs 28:1
Reflect: I love this story of Josiah. Think about this for a second, He was eight years old when he became king of a nation! Some of us cannot even handle school, a job and family time. But Josiah was put in charge of a nation! In these passages we see Josiah do something bold. He decided he was going to do some “spring cleaning.”
“Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—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. 3 The king stood by the 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, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 6 He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people.” 2 Kings 23:1-6
So what is King Josiah doing here?
We see that King Josiah has found the Book of the Covenant or the Bible and he starts reading it. He reminds the people of Israel about the truths and the laws that were set for them. Now look down at verse 4-6.
He tells all the high priest to remove Baal, and Asherah idols. See King Josiah realized something about his country.
They were all worshipping false idols!
They were not worshiping God anymore. They were sacrificing offerings and burning incense to other gods. So what did he do? He told his high priest to tear them down! He made a covenant with God to follow him and to keep His commandments. King Josiah was being bold with his faith. He didn’t ask people about what he should do. He didn’t decide to worship those other gods. As soon as he found the book of the covenant and saw how good God was, he decided change! Not only did he change or want to be changed but he wanted all of Israel to be changed and to know how good God is!
Look back at this last week. Is there an idol in your life that needs to come down?
How can you be bold in your faith this week?
Josiah: The Ideal King
Read: Deuteronomy 17:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:2;
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God lays out the qualities of the future king of Israel. He explains the type of king that the Israelite people should follow after. God makes it clear that this king will be chosen by Him and will be from among the Israelite people. He goes on to explain that the king must not be distracted by power, wealth or relationships. This king will prioritize the word, fear the Lord and will continually lead the people out of slavery.God is warning the people of the many temptations that the future king will face. He makes it clear that even the King will be under His rule and authority. Then, at the end (verse 20), God says this:
“…(He will not) turn from the law to the right or to the left” – Deuteronomy 17:20
God paints the picture of a king who would follow His ways, not turning away from it to either side. This is the ideal king! Now, as we jump forward many years to the time of Josiah, we see this written about him in 2 Chronicles 34:2,
“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left” – 2 Chronicles 34:2
Josiah was the type of king God was looking for, and God honored him for it. Josiah reigned for 31 years as king and God did some amazing things through him. It’s no surprise that God would use and bless a king who chose to follow His ways. We want to see you experience God’s best for your life and to be used by God to do some amazing things too – but there’s definitely a correlation between seeing that happen and following God’s way. So here’s how you can respond today:
- Where in your life are you turning away from God’s ways to the right or to the left? Write those things down on a piece of paper and write “WASTED” next to them. Following God’s ways is worth it, turning away from them is wasted
Let No One Despise You For Your Youth
Read: 2 Chronicles 34:1, 1 Timothy 4:12
Louis Braille invented the Braille language for people who are blind at age 15. In 1955 during the Civil Rights Movement Claudette Colvin age 15 refused to give up her seat on a bus and was arrested 9 months before Rosa Parks. Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived and won the Nobel Prize in 2014 at age 17.
Pretty impressive right? There are many other young adults who have influenced their culture and even the world through their actions and accomplishments. They saw a need, a tough situation, an injustice, a broken system and instead of saying “If only I was older I could make a difference” or “If only I had more influence I could change the way things are” or “I’m just a kid from Wayne County Ohio”…… ok maybe they’re not from Wayne county but nevertheless they didn’t let their age stop them from making a difference. They didn’t shy away from their given challenges because of their age, gender, religion, or background.
1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Paul is writing to his protégé Timothy who was leading the church at Ephesus and instead of asking Timothy to take a back seat to another leader who was older or had more influence, knew more scripture, had a better résumé, was better looking, made the varsity team, or sat at the “cool kids” lunch table (or whatever the equivalent was back in biblical times). He says Tim you step up to the plate! Don’t worry about the haters and teach people with how you do life!
That’s a good word and an encouragement that I’m sure lit a fire under Timothy and I hope lights a fire in you as well. Truth is that God isn’t too worried about your age, he used a boy to kill a giant (David), an 8 year old king to turn a nation back to God (Josiah), a young virgin to bring Jesus into the world (Mary), and one little boy’s lunch to feed over 5,000 people. God is much more concerned with your heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
So with that being said are you the influencer or the one being influenced in your school?
What’s holding you back from living an exemplary life like the one Paul laid out for Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12?
Ask God to show you what lies you have believed about your ability as a young adult leader and to give you the boldness to live an extemporary life not phased by the qualifications that this world gives us.
Solomon Turns From God
Read: 1 Kings 11
Many of you know about David and how he was a great king. Yes he did sin against God a few times, but what human hasn’t? He was great because he trusted in God time after time, admitted his mistakes when he made them, and chased after God’s heart all while leading Israel the way God had commanded him too. That is a little information about David’s life, but what about Solomon, his son?
Solomon was already going to have a major role in something important, even before he was born. David wanted to build God’s temple, but God had other plans. God told David that he was going to use Solomon to build his temple. Now this wasn’t just an ordinary temple… this was where God’s presence was going to be! And sure enough, four years into Solomon’s reign as King, he started building the temple just as God had planned. He was a great King just as his father was, but had his downfall, just like his father did. Just like the old saying goes, like father like son.
You learned a few days before that Solomon was granted “one wish” for anything he wanted. He asked for wisdom and a discerning heart, something not everyone would have answered with. God was pleased with his response and granted him his request and much more. As we read through the first part of 1 Kings 11, we discover Solomon didn’t use that wisdom as he went against God’s command. God told the people they were to NOT intermarry with women of other nations because they would turn the Israelites away from God. So what did Solomon do? He married a whopping 700 of them. Honestly, not sure how Solomon was even able to remember the names of all his wives.
In verse 4 we read, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” God warned his people that the women would change their hearts and what it was set on. Solomon fell into their trap and began worshipping their gods, and in doing this, losing his devotion to the one and only true God.
The temptations of this world can be really strong. Solomon is a prime example because he was so devoted to God and even had an immense amount of wisdom, yet he still lost the fight against temptation. And sin not only dishonors God, it has consequences. Every time we sin, we hinder our progress of getting closer to God. If you want to pursue God more and more each day, but continue to go back to ”that” sin, check this verse out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
When we are tempted in any way, God explains that it’s not too much for us to handle. In theory, we should be able to have victory over temptation every single time because not one of them is too much for us to handle. Sadly, we are weak and fail many times. The second part of that verse explains there is hope. It says God provides a way out! So when tempted, look for the way out and take it right away, no hesitation! Then you might not end up with 700 wives.