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Unwasted Scripture (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 7, 2023 6:00 am

Unwasted Scripture (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 7, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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These men thought that God was worthy, that their suffering was worth it, because their faith in God.

How about emotional suffering? Do we think God is worth that? Are we able to say, look, this world is cursed, but God is something greater, and I got to swim through this junk here with everybody else, and I'm going to do it in a way that's worth it. In a way that glorifies the Lord, and not scrape my knuckles all the way through.

That is an art. The history of Israel proves that scripture can be wasted on people. I mean, they had the word of God, the oracles of the Lord, and look at their history.

Is anything wasted on me, Lord? That's the question that I would ask when I think about how Israel as a nation struggled. In this chapter, here are a few good men who acted on God's word. The word of God was found, and it was not wasted on them. At this time in history, the prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah are ministering in Israel. In the beginning of when he comes to the throne, about five years later, Jeremiah enters the scene. Habakkuk may be also working at this time, but for sure Jeremiah and Zephaniah. So we look at verse one, Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adiah of Boscath.

It would be nice to say I'm from Boscath. Well, he's eight years old, and he's running the place. Well, of course not. I mean, just go back with the children and pick out an eight-year-old and say, hey, from now on you're running the church. You know, that would mean skittles for everyone, but of course there are handlers, there are statesmen that are in place to move him along until he's ready. He must have been born when his father was 16 years old, because Amnon, his dad, who's a wicked king, died at 24 years of age, and we get that last chapter, chapter 21. He's king for 31 years, though, and that means he died at about 39, 40 years of age. He is Judah's last great king of the Lord.

Of course, Christ overall, but as far as mere men go, and so at eight years old, he becomes king. At 16 years old, the Bible tells us that he seeks the Lord, and it's a passionate endeavor on his part. At 20 years old, he launches a crusade as far as the tribe of Naphtali, which is almost to the end, all of Israel, to the northern part.

The northern kingdom had been taken away by this time, by the Assyrians, but there were still some Jews, pockets of Jews here and there, and he goes on this crusade at 20 years old. His passion for Yahweh, the lamb was infested with idols, Jerusalem was infested with idols, and he went as far as desecrating the bones of the idolatrous priests. He'd dig them up and burn the bones. Here, again, at 20 years old, it was a thorough purging, or at least it was a radical purging.

A thorough might be a bit too strong. Not because he didn't want to, but because the infestation was so great, and it would be a second wave. So we pick this up in 2 Chronicles 34, the parallel passage to this one in Kings 22, for in the eighth year of his reign, he was still young. He began to seek God, the God of his father, David. So there he is, at 16 years old, passionately seeking the Lord, taking away excuses from our teens, right? Because he's a teen.

In the 12th year, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, wooden images, carved images, and molded images. He's 21 years old when he starts that. And when he turns 26, they find, well at 26, he's rebuilding the temple, or renovating the temple that had just been damaged by decades of wickedness from the throne.

And they find the book of the law at that time. And again, it is unwasted on this man. He is already moving forward, he gets the scripture, and he ramps it up even more.

He doubles down on his commitment, sort of in your face, Satan. Verse 2, he did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, and walked in all the ways of his father David, and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Maybe as a boy, he heard the story of David and Goliath, and said, I want to be that. I want to be that kind of man. Imagine if David was one of your direct ancestors.

Imagine if you could say, you know what? David was my great, great, great, great, I mean it was just impressive. Well, this man, that wasn't wasted on him as it was on others, on his own father, and much of the time his grandfather Manasseh was king. It says here in verse 2, he walked in the ways of his father David. At 8 years old, becoming king, and just continuing forward, again I believe the life of David influenced him. David's fingerprints are on the man's life.

Who else would you point to? Who else would be the candidate to have the greatest impact on this man Josiah? These must have been devout men of Yahweh around him as he's growing up, as they're handling him.

Men of noble character. That will really come out when the scripture that they had lost is then found. It says in verse 2, he did not turn aside to the right hand and to the left.

He did not veer. As Jo-ram, remember Jo-ram had this wonderful beginning, his life was saved from wicked Athaliah, his grandmother purging her own grandchildren, killing them, so that she could have power and uncontested power. But Jehoiada, the priest and his wife, they just came to his rescue and brought him to the throne, and we read in Kings that Jehoiada did wonderfully so long as Jehoiada was alive. But after Jehoiada died, he became evil, even executing Jehoiada's son. But here, though there are parallels between Jo-ram renovating the house of God in the days of Jehoiada and Josiah renovating it, they're not the same men.

This man does not turn to the right or the left. Now that goes back to Deuteronomy, but probably, they probably had some of the books such as Joshua and Judges. It seems that it was Moses' book or books that was missing.

We'll come to that in a moment. But Joshua, when he becomes the leader of the people of Israel, God has a little one-to-one with him, and it's a wonderful exchange. Well, really a monologue, God doing all the speaking. He says, Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. Don't deviate.

We watch people claim to be Christians, and they go to the right and they go to the left without shame, and they turn on you for pointing it out. Say, you do know that's a sin, don't you? That's all right.

There's no problem. Well, anyway, the story just gets better as it goes on. Verse 3, Now it came to pass in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan, the scribe, son of Azaliah, the son of Mishulam, to the house of Yahweh, saying, Now before we get to what the king's message was, why do we need to know these guys? Isn't that a little comical? But for them, for the Jewish people at the time, this was, you know, this was their culture.

They wanted these things. Well, he's 26 years old now at verse 3. I gave you an overview earlier.

Well, here we're coming to some of the details. I think 2 Chronicles 34 gives us more details, but King does a good job nonetheless. This is his eighteenth year as king. According to Jeremiah 1, Jeremiah is called to the office of prophet in the thirteenth year. So Jeremiah is five years now a prophet in Israel.

I think he's a veteran. Well, anyway, Josiah's eighteenth year, in this eighteenth year, they're going to find the book of Moses. And here's Jeremiah's reaction to when they find that book. I have to spread it out a little bit or else we'll stay on one verse too long. Jeremiah 15, 16, Your words were found, and I ate them. And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.

For I am called by Your name, O Yahweh, God of hosts. I mean, you just, you gotta love Jeremiah. You know, you look at Jeremiah and Paul and say, God has a plan for your life.

Paul, you're going to get stoned, beat up, caned, but you are going to be a dynamo. Jeremiah, you're going to be put to near death several times, and you'll never really be accepted by your people. And so these men thought that God was worthy, that their suffering was worth it because their faith in God.

How about emotional suffering? Do we think God is worth that? Are we able to say, look, this world is cursed, but God is something greater. And I've got to swim through this junk here with everybody else, and I'm going to do it in a way that glorifies the Lord and not scrape my knuckles all the way through.

That is an art, and it is available to us. Well, Jeremiah, Your words were found, and I ate them. Scripture was un-wasted on this man. But it is wasted unless it gets deep inside of us.

Well, we know that. Study to show yourself approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly opening up the word of God. That's what Paul told Timothy.

It wasn't wasted on Timothy. It says in verse 3 that the king sent Shaphan, the scribe. This is a remarkable character in Scripture, and there are a few of them here and there in Scripture that they just get a mention, and there's a few dots you connect, and you say, boy, these guys are really something else.

With the exception of one of his four sons, he had remarkable influence on his boys. They showed up often enough through Jeremiah's life to save Jeremiah. This man, Shaphan, his noble father, and the first one is Ahicham. We'll pick that up in Jeremiah, cross-referencing Jeremiah again because he's one of the prophets at the time of Josiah's king. Certainly the most prolific writing prophet, and they brought Urijah.

Now, okay, let me set that up. So, Urijah was a prophet, and he pronounced judgment on Josiah's sons for the evil they were doing. They killed him. He fled to Egypt. They sent people after him, and they killed him for standing up for doing just what Jeremiah was doing.

And they brought Urijah from Egypt and brought him to Jehoiakim, the king, who killed him with the sword and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. Nevertheless, the hand of Ahicham, the son of Shaphan, was with Jeremiah so that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death. So this man, Shaphan, who is the king's scribe, a confidant of King Josiah, his son saves the life of Jeremiah.

And I'm sure there's much more that's not written about these men and their contribution to righteousness. Then he has another son, Elisa, and again, by him, Jeremiah sent the letter to the Jews captive in Babylon. That's that letter that everybody likes to quote, Jeremiah 29 and 11. I know, you know, the thoughts that I think towards you, thoughts of peace.

And, you know, when you listen to that letter, you have to say, wait a minute now. The people God is speaking to are those who have been taken captive to a foreign land amongst idols, and Jeremiah is telling them, God telling them through Jeremiah, stay in that land and work righteousness. You're not coming back to Jerusalem.

You're going to stay there, and I want you to make houses. I want you to be righteous. I want you to glorify me before the Gentiles. And then God says, I know the thoughts I think towards you, thoughts of peace to give you a future and a hope. And I think it helps to keep that context when we quote that scripture, not that it cannot apply to us, but there's a little bit more to the story. There are a few verses in the Old Testament that really are Old Testament verses, as there are some in the New that are really New Testament, and you've got to be careful how we understand them.

I think they're beneficial too. Well, anyway, a third son, Jemariah, he tried to prevent Jehoiakim from burning Jeremiah's prophetic scroll. He didn't succeed, but the fact that he stood up and said, don't do this is impressive. Again, Shaphan is their father. But the fourth son, Jazaniah, he was an idolater.

This separated him from his spiritual brothers. And of course, that's the story we have from the scripture. So here's this short mention of Shaphan, and you say, well, he's just a king's scribe.

Well, no, there's a little bit more to the story. His influence on his son, his influence on Josiah, and his influence here, what happens in this story. So anyway, continuing in verse 3, that the king sent Shaphan to the house of Yahweh.

Now, Josiah the king is moving to restore the house of God. The temple restoration, as I mentioned, parallels those of Joram's in chapter 12. 2 Chronicles 24, Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord, all the days of his life, all the days, pardon me, not all the days of his life, let me reread this. Joash did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, all the days of Jehoiada the priest, as I mentioned earlier. Well, there's the scripture verse that makes that clear.

2 Chronicles 24, 2. For both projects, the people funded the repairs of the temple, and the priest collected the funds. Those who kept the threshold was that element of the priest that guarded the temple doors to make sure nothing unclean came in. I'll quote that, an event in the book of Acts that there's one source of verification for it. But they handed the funds over to the workmen, both in the days of Josiah and Jehoash. There was this element of integrity and trust between the priest and the tradesman.

And so it was remarkable. And yet it was all wasted on Jehoash, but not wasted on Josiah. Verse 4, he says, the king, now this is what the king wanted them to do. He says, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of Yahweh, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people, and let them deliver it into the hand, verse 25, of those doing the work who are overseers in the house of Yahweh. Let them give it to those who are in the house of Yahweh doing the work to repair the damages of the house. Verse 6, to carpenters, the builders and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. And so this is the command to the high priest to oversee this renovation of God's house.

And the integrity is just quite amazing. In the days when Jerusalem is infested with idolatry and corruption, there are a few good men still there, still trustworthy. And this Hilkiah, he assisted Josiah in reforming the backslidden people. This Hilkiah, the high priest, is another good man. He will be executed when the Babylonians finally show up to take people away. It says here in verse 6 that they may count the money which has been brought into the house of Yahweh.

Well, I've already commented on that. He says, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. So again, the priests stationed themselves at the temple gates, they collected the funds, the people would give the funds, they'd put it in the box. Maybe this is where churches get the practice of passing the offering plate, and it's not a sarcastic remark, it is just a plain remark. We don't have to do it that way, but that is one way to do it. When we started this church, we bought the little pouches for the collection and never took them out of the box. God just said, I don't want you to do it that way. I want you to do it this way. And so we have the boxes available for the people because tithing is a personal thing. If you forget the tithe, you will remember the tithe if your heart is right with the Lord. I ran a check this month, you go back to the screen, then you realize I missed it, you scramble to make it up.

This is a personal thing. So anyhow, just because we do it this way does not mean we're criticizing other people. We have other things to criticize them for. Anyway, I mentioned that they would close the doors if necessary. Acts chapter 21 is the story of Paul's arrest, another arrest at the temple. When the brujah began, we pick it up in Acts 21 verse 30, and all the city was disturbed and the people ran together, seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple and immediately the doors were shut. Well, these priests, the gatekeepers that were closing the door and saying, well you ain't bringing it in here.

So that's who these men are. A high tradition. Imagine if you were a priest in Judah and you were a gatekeeper, you belong to a high tradition and hopefully not wasted. Anyway, verse 5 says to repair the damages of the house.

Well, one of his first acts of the reformation was to purge the land and then restore the temple. All that follows grows out of this. When we get to discovering the word of the Lord, it's growing out of the men and their integrity, even if they didn't have all of their scripture. And then once they get the scripture, again it is not wasted.

They do something with it. And so in connection with this heart for God comes the discovery of the book of the law. And you know God is the one that orchestrated that. God could have kept that law hidden. But they found it during the renovation of the temple. And thank God none of the pagan Jews found it.

They probably would have destroyed it. Verse 7, however, there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into the hand because they deal faithfully. So as I mentioned, the integrity is just, they had this trust.

They were operating off of the other man's word, which is, you know, try that. Go to the bank and say, look, I promise I'll pay you back. That's not going to happen. Although a few years back I had a loan. We first got here and pretty much broke. And the bank agent said, you know, I'm just going to approve this. I'm just going to do it. And I went, no, I didn't. And I just remembered that that was old-fashioned banking. Well, I don't know if you can, you know, bank's a bad reputation.

Anyway, I need to move on away from that. So these workers evidently, the evidence, when I say evidently, according to the evidence from the record, they embraced the sacred work of the temple. This is very important, I think, especially for men somewhere in their 30s and 40s. There are some men in that age category that lack a sense of the sacred. They think it's not cool to say that, you know, some things you just don't mess with.

And they become sloppy. And one way to illustrate that is when I first became an usher back in 1740-something, Ted Usher had that attitude where he wanted to be a cool Christian. See, we don't, you know, we don't have an organ, we have guitars, and we don't have to wear coat and ties at Calvary Chapel. And when we were, one morning we were preparing the communion articles, and he started munching on the bread. And I was, you know, right away all the alarms were going, I said, this is just not right. And it wasn't my place at the time to say anything. God just, you know, marked it, I've never forgotten it. And it was just this immaturity and this lack of reverence. Yeah, it doesn't mean that, oh, this is holy bread, you can't eat it.

It's not the idea. To understand the things that are sacred, it is by consent, not demand. The communion cup, the articles for the cup, the grape juice, I will never drink it in the house, oh Lord, unless I'm having communion.

I'm going to have lunch and say, hey, there's some left over from last week, I'm going to grab some. Not that it would be a sin. Well, it would be for me, because it's my conscience. And so when you come across some young men, they can just be a little silly. And they want to show you how cool they are, and they don't have to be reverent. That is a trap.

And it is immaturity. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 2 Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to crossreferenceradio.com. Once more, that's crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the book of 2 Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-07 06:24:21 / 2023-09-07 06:33:55 / 10

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