Day 15

We Remember Your Instruction

from the reading plan

2 Kings 22:8-13, 2 Kings 23:1-3, Psalm 119:55, John 14:23-26

It’s safe to say that King Josiah of Judah grew up in a dysfunctional family. Manasseh, Josiah’s grandfather, had reversed the good efforts of his father and predecessor, righteous King Hezekiah. Manasseh plunged Judah into a depth of wickedness and idolatry that not even the surrounding Canaanites had reached. He desecrated God’s temple with idols, performed child sacrifice, and committed many other abominations. The nation never truly recovered from Manasseh’s sins as God pronounced the coming Babylonian judgment.

Manasseh’s son, Amon, was no better, following in his father’s evil ways. After only two years, his servants assassinated him. Then the people killed Amon’s murderers and placed Amon’s son, Josiah, on the throne even though he was only eight years old. Welcome to the deep end, kid! Hope you can swim!

Josiah, in fact, became a great king and reformed the nation. Years later, when his servants were restoring the temple after decades of neglect, the high priest found the book of the law. When it was read to Josiah, he tore his clothes in sorrow and repentance. Judah had fallen so far during Manasseh and Amon’s reigns that much of the Torah was completely unknown to the young king. Scripture had not been part of Josiah’s daily upbringing. The nation had forgotten God’s instructions.

That changed immediately. Josiah assembled all the people at the temple, read aloud the book of the law, and called them to faithfully follow the Lord. It worked for a time. But fewer than twenty years later, Josiah was dead, the people had reverted to their old ways, and King Nebuchadnezzar’s fearsome Babylonian army was at Jerusalem’s gates. The fulfillment of God’s judgment on apostate Judah had begun.

As we consider ancient Judah’s plight, we must not turn up a snide nose. We too are prone to stray from Scripture and forget God’s instructions.

On our own, we cannot generate the affection we need for God and His Word. Praise the Lord that He has given us everything we need! He has graciously provided the full revelation of divinely inspired Scripture. What’s more, He Himself indwells the heart of everyone who trusts in His Son for salvation. Shortly before His arrest, Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). Amazing!

God’s indwelling Spirit reminds us of who God is, what He has done for us through Christ, and how we should live as a result. He convicts us of sin and guides our consciences. As Jesus told His disciples that evening, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26).

Certainly, we must do our part. We should prayerfully meditate on God’s Word every day. But the indwelling Spirit is the key. In His grace, God has equipped us with everything we need to remember His instructions and live as His beloved children.

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