2 Kings 22:1-20 (Part 1) – The Generational Impact of One Young Man’s Call

Posted: October 2, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 22:1-20 (Part 1 of 2)

Josiah Discovers God’s Law

In 20 days, my dad will have passed on to the glory of heaven one year ago. It does not seem like it. It seems like just yesterday on a Monday, I was sitting in a staff meeting at Calvary Church of the Quad Cities in Moline, IL. I got a text message from my stepmother that my dad had just passed away and that we needed to come back to South Carolina as soon as possible. I remember it well. I remember being frustrated about having to worry about little details at work before Elena and I could run home, pack our bags ever so quickly, and make the long drive from Rock Island, IL to Anderson, SC. Today’s passage reminded me of my dad and there’s a reason why.

My dad according to the stories I remember from my paternal grandparents, affectionately labeled by us as Pop and Granny, was certain of what he wanted to do with his life from an early age. Pop would tell me that my dad as early as age 12 would tell anyone that he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. Although my dad, according to stories I had heard from people who grew up with him, was no choir boy running around the farm preaching to the tractors and animals like you might think, he was certain of what he wanted to be, early. He was otherwise a typical teenage boy. Into girls and cars. Driving fast was his thing growing up. Back in those days with fewer cars on the road in the South, you could have racing duels with your buddies on back roads and not worry about cars coming your way in your lane. He was a popular kid at his high school, as exemplified by his being among the senior superlatives (most likely to succeed was his superlative). His nickname though was “Preacher”. Apparently, he was not shy, as he was progressing through school, about what he wanted to be in adulthood.

By age 18, he was training to be a pastor in the local Methodist church there in Honea Path, SC that his family attended. By age 21 in 1960, he had his first appointment as a pastor in the South Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Church (it was not the United Methodist Church yet – not until 1968). He was serving a charge of three churches (Zion, Elim, and Newman Swamp Methodist Churches) right here in the same town where I am now serving my first appointment in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC). Although I am not serving at the same churches as my dad in his first appointment, I am serving in the same town. The full circle-ness of that fact is not lost on me.

But that’s not the thing that made me think of dad this morning. It is about legacy. It is my dad’s legacy of wanting to be a preacher from childhood that has profoundly affected our family. Although I took a long and winding road to full-time ministry (with many bumps, bruises and heartaches along the way), the legacy of my dad and his impact on our family is complete. Both my brother and I are ministers in the South Carolina Conference of the UMC. My brother has been doing this since graduating college back in 1982 so he was not too dissimilar to my dad in knowing what he wanted to do from an early age. Add to that my uncle Doug was a Methodist minister here in South Carolina until his death a couple of years ago. This is my dad’s legacy. He knew what he wanted from an early age. He was called to ministry by God at an early age. His legacy is sweeping in its effect on our family. His legacy is generational.

That is what I thought of this morning when I thought of the impact of Josiah. I thought of my dad and his generational impact on our family. What would have happened if he had gotten discouraged at an early age from wanting to follow the call? What if he had not been encouraged to seek out the call by my grandparents, his parents? What if his call had not been nurtured by godly men? What if his call had not been respected by his high school buddies? What if he had not married a woman who was willing to follow him anywhere? I might have been a third-generation farmer in Honea Path, SC had not his call been encouraged. With that in mind, let’s read 2 Kings 22:1-20 now for the first of two devotionals:

22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.

3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, 4 “Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. 5 Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. 6 They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. 7 But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.

9 Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10 Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.

11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter[a] of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.

15 She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city[b] and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17 For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’

18 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”

So they took her message back to the king.

In this passage’s beginning verses, we see that it is rare to find a Judean king who obeyed God completely. Josiah was such a king and he was only 8 years old when he began to reign. For 18 years, Josiah reigned obediently. Then, when we was 26, he began reforms based on God’s laws. Children are the future leaders of our churches and our world. A person’s major work for may have to wait until adulthood, but no one is ever too young to take God seriously and obey Him. Josiah’s early years set the stage for his later task of reforming Judah. God can use you, regardless of your age. In Josiah’s day, boys were considered men at age 12. By 16, Josiah understood the responsibility of his office. Even at this young age, he showed greater wisdom than many of the older kings who came before him because he had decided to seek the Lord and His wisdom. Don’t let your age hinder you from serving God.

Who knows what the legacy of your family will be? If you are young right now and feeling called by God, please follow it. I fought against it for almost a lifetime. I feel that I was called to full-time ministry probably as early as after college graduation, but I struggled against it. I fought it hard. I was Jonah running in the opposite direction for most of my life. I surrounded myself with people that would not encourage or do the things necessary to encourage my call. I wanted to live like I wanted to live and pursue worldly things. But I wonder now what could have been if I had been like my dad – pursuing the call from the time the first call from God came into his heart. What would my ministry look like now if I had been in it all these 36 years since college graduation. I cannot cry over that though. What matters is what I have done since I followed the call from 2011 forward through all the plans and training and learning that led to my first full-time ministry job in Illinois almost two years ago now. It matters what I do now in my first appointment as THE pastor, no longer an associate pastor. It matters what I will do with God’s call from this point forward.

That’s the thing that’s important to pass on. If you are young and God’s call comes to your heart, follow it. Remember that God will provide a way for you if you follow His call. Even if it seems improbable or impossible now, follow it. Just think of the legacy that could begin with you for your family. My dad is smiling in heaven today knowing that he did well. He ran the race set before him. He followed the call. He impacted the generations of our family by following his call at an early age. That’s his legacy. Maybe, you can start a legacy in your family of generations of preachers. You are young right now but you can impact generations of people by following God’s call on your life.

Amen and Amen.

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