REFLECT: When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes….what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us: 2 Kings 22:11, 13
Just as they had been warned, the kings were disastrous for Israel. King after king did evil in the sight of the Lord. They led the people astray and did nothing to clean up the nation, or bring the people to repentance. The people consequently went for long periods of time, steeped in pagan culture and they practiced religions that were offensive to the Lord. Overtime, the collective memory of the Lord’s ways and His requirements of the people faded, to the extent that even the King – not to mention the temple officials – had no idea of what following and worshiping the Lord entailed.
It was not so much that their spiritual filter had become coarse and not very discerning, it was more that they had no filter at all, their consciences were so seared.
Now and again, however, a prince would be born that would depart from the wicked ways of his forefathers. King Josiah was such a king. Even though his father King Amon had been an evil idolater who came to a sticky end (2 Kings 21:23), Josiah his son, mercifully, was a throwback to King David (2 Kings 22:1-2), a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22).
This is the context in which, ten years after ascending to the throne, while repairing the temple, the Book of the Law was found. When the book was read to him by the temple scribe, Josiah was alarmed and grieved. He was alarmed because he was terrified of the repercussions the Lord had warned would fall upon the people; he was grieved, deeply, because he loved the Lord and wanted to lead his people aright.
Tragically, it was too late. The people were so steeped in their ungodly ways – so recalcitrant, unfailingly returning to evil after the respite of the occasional godly king – that their fate was set (2 Kings 22: 15-17). Because King Josiah’s heart was tender towards the Lord however – he had humbled himself before the Lord grieved by how far the people had gone astray – he would not see the day of disaster and would rest in peace (2 Kings 22: 20).
APPLY: Is your filter faulty? Has it become coarse and less discerning as you gradually accommodate what you know is wrong, letting it wash over you, as you absent-mindedly seek to get on with your life? Is much surrounding you in fact evil – now, there’s an ‘old fashioned’ word (2 Timothy 3: 1-7) – causing you to try to filter out the toxins with your mind, your gut, or some compelling philosophy?
Whichever the case, there is a strong likelihood – that that filter screening your choices is faulty. Know that a lot is probably getting through to you that is destructive, and this is one reason why it is sometimes hard to know what to do.
Instinct and your intellect are good, but they are of limited use – as are all philosophies and religions, save one. It is decidedly unpopular these days to make such a claim, but the truth must be told nevertheless: this is the essence of the Christian faith (John 14:6; John 10: 30-33): the sole, sure guide to an effectively godly life, the guaranteed blueprint to a blessed (rather than tormented) existence in Eternity, is faith in Jesus Christ.
If you are looking for the best filter to screen out toxic noise, then the Word of God AKA The Bible (2 Tim 3:16) is what you seek. Use the Holy Bible as your spiritual GPS, and your path will become clear and your steps sure (Psalm 119: 9, 105).
PRAY: Father God, though I sense that much in life can be a trap for the unwary, it is hard to know what to filter out. Nowadays what is good is deemed wrong, and things that are wrong are praised as good. You have instructed me to “redeem the time, because the days are evil….[and] not be unwise, but understand what [Your] will is.” (Ephesians 5: 15-16). Give me a hunger for Your Word, and Your ways, that I may walk a clearer path. Help me to seize the day and redeem the time, that I may fulfill my good destiny. In Jesus Name, Amen.