2 Kings 23:21-30
Disappointment is a hard pill to swallow and everyone has been through a bout of disappointment in their lives. Disappointment happens but how you process it will determine the outcome of it. I have seen disappointment be so bitter when people follow God that their devotion stopped dead in their tracks while others seem to only grow in their devotion when faced with disappointment. Both have experienced the bitterness of disappointment but why is there such a difference outcome?
I think one of the key differences is that devotion that is not based on outcomes are the ones that take in the bitterness of disappointment but take it like a champ so that they come out of it just as determined to stay the course. When we base our devotion on outcomes than we are only half committed because we are only willing to invest so much until we actually see the results. But those who are driven by the presence of God rather than results, are the ones that are all in on the journey of knowing the heart of God.
Josiah was a man who was passionate about the things of God to the point where he did everything right in trying to lead Judah to be people who love the LORD. He destroyed everything that was hindering their walk with the LORD but even after all the changes, it states in verse twenty-six that, “The LORD did not turn from the burning of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him.”
Josiah at this point could have said, “What’s the point then?” But he did not because he wasn’t devoted because certain results were promised. If we look at 22:20 it states, “Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.” Josiah knew the outcome and the outcome was going to be that God will judge the tremendous sin that was done during the time of Manasseh. So when we read how passionate that Josiah was in restoration despite knowing the outcome, we see that his devotion was based upon the fact that his heart and whole being was dedicated to God himself rather than outcomes!
To combat the bitterness of disappointment is to realize that devotion must not primarily be about outcomes but being with God. We are to expect results and fruits but we are not to be driven by them. So what are some things that we can take away from today’s passage?
Josiah shows us that ff repentance is the emptying of sins in our lives, the establishment of the word of God is filling the void that was once filled with sin. This is important because when we repent, we can get that emotional high of the experience of the conviction of the Holy Spirit against our sin but we come to realize that there is no change afterwards. Does that mean the experience was useless? No! Any move of God is a blessing of God but what we failed to do was not complete that process. When we empty ourselves we must quickly fill ourselves or find out that we will go back to sins that we just renounced. We go back because we haven’t established the new lifestyle guided by His word to keep the momentum going. In all the reforms that Josiah was doing, his goal was to replace the idol worship and sinful lifestyle of the people with the a life guided by the word.
God is devoted to judging sin. God forgives but because He is just, He needs to deal with sin. If God doesn’t deal with sin, then he will not be just, and if he is not just then He is not ultimately good. We can look at this passage and blame God for not being merciful enough but the reality is that because He is merciful He deals with sin for it would not be merciful to allow sin that kills to remain. That is why the beauty of the Gospel is that God’s grace saves us from the punishment of sin because Jesus pays it on our behalf and at the same time gives us the ability to live a life that is continuously separating from the sin that attracts death.
Today, ask yourself the reason for your devotion to Christ. If you realize that it is based off of whether God does things for you then realign your heart so that your devotion is based off of being with God. Don’t have to make it complicate it but may require a daily reminder that you do devos, pray, and live like Jesus because of Jesus and nothing else.