Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eight year old kings and thirty year old children

The Second Book of the Chronicles, King James Bible
     Chapter 34
     Verse 1: 
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years
     2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
     3. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.

Josiah was all of eight years old when he ascended the throne, becoming king of all Judah and Jerusalem. He didn't have the assistance of David, his biological father, at that most crucial point in his life. 
     I have heard it said that the maturity level and level of intelligence was higher in those days, and I am inclined to agree with that musing. However, even at an advanced level, what EIGHT YEAR OLD would be ready to lead an entire nation??? 
It's nuts. 
Crazy talk.
     But that's kinda my point. At eight years old, Josiah ascends the throne. He is following King Amon. A disgusting, wicked, ungodly ruler. The worst example a young child could have for a leadership role. King Amon was so bad that it was actually his own servants that eventually assassinated him because of his ever growing list of trespasses! 
     So that's it. Amon is dead. Eight year old Josiah is heir to the throne and is rewarded with the crown. The leadership of a country torn by idol worship, pagan practices, and a virtual civil war when the people assassinate those who assassinated the previous king!
     Yeah. I would have failed. I don't think I can honestly say I know of any people who would have been able to take that and run with it. Well, not without running themselves and the country into the ground. But Josiah did. He ran with it. Verse three says that he ACTIVELY sought after God and His ways! He had NO ONE to show him how to behave, how to conduct himself, how to run AN ENTIRE NATION. And yet he did it. Not bemoaning his father's earthly absence, but instead turning to the One who always is available to show us the way we should go. And he didn't just casually ask, he did "seek" God's will and then purged out that in the nation which was contrary to God's purpose and will! Josiah is truly an amazing instance of reliance on God's direction alone no matter what the challenge may be.
     This is the point I wish to make today.
I taught myself to shave.
I crafted the inspirational messages that drove me to excel in sports and physical fitness.
I drove myself to be a competent writer.
I taught myself how to conduct myself as a guy.
I had no one person who showed me how to develop into the man I should be.

     And yet I am expected to be a man.

     But with no one to show me, I have an excuse to mess up, right?

     I can spout all I want about the challenges I face, about the inequality of other people having an instructor on how to stay strong for those around them, to make life decisions, to stand tall as a self assured individual, but when it comes down to it, all that is required is for me to follow God. Josiah was eight. EIGHT. I will be twenty four years old this year. I can moan and complain all I want about the leadership I lacked, but that does not excuse me from the responsibilities I still have. Josiah was tasked with leading a nation with no older, wiser source of guidance, and he responded the only way he should have, he turned to the Lord. Psalms 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." I have access to the ultimate guide, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ultimate guidebook, the Holy Bible. I have no excuse. I'm not even tasked with running a single city, much less a whole nation, just my own life. And still I look for excuses, blaming those in my life who were not there instead of taking responsibility, forgiving those who were absent, and taking control of my choices and life decisions to live my life honorably and in spiritual victory.
     I'm not discounting the pain. I'm not saying the struggle doesn't matter. I'm saying there is healing in God's grace for the hurt we go through, and there is help in His Holy Word to tell us how not to be crushed under our worldly weights. 
     Don't believe the lie. Don't perpetuate the cycle. Our world is full of men who continue to say they don't know how to lead because they've never been led. Give your life to the Lord, let Him lead you. And I promise, He will turn you into a leader. Whether it's of your house, your family, your church, your city, or countless numbers in a government position or mighty church revival, God will let you lead once you learn how to follow.
     So stand up guys. Not even just the older ones. Come on twenty-somethings. Your youth is not to be wasted. Give the youngers something to follow. Break the cycle. I for one don't want to raise a bunch of "I dunnos" who are incapable of making an eternal difference in this world. Be the change you wanted to see in the generation before you. Their time is coming to an end, it's our turn now. Be the man you always wanted to have as an example, and be the example for the one's coming up next.