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The Boy Wonder

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 2, 2023 12:00 am

The Boy Wonder

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 2, 2023 12:00 am

Have you ever had a 16 year-old for a child? They're tough to manage aren't they?! You don't want them wrecking the house but you also don't want them wrecking your car! It's a hard life. In 2 Chronicles 34 we come to an incredible story that is really very hard fo us to believe -- especially those of us with teenagers. A 16 year-old boy is on the throne in Jerusalem, and He is proving to be one of the godliest leaders Israel has ever seen. Let's join Stephen as he introduces us to this boy-wonder. Listen to the full-length version of this message, or access Stephen's manuscript here:


Josiah had unshakable spiritual conviction. Look at verse 8.

Now in the 18th year of his reign, he's 26 years old. Now you could write in the margin. When he had purged the land and the house, he sent to repair the house of the Lord his God. We have put away idolatry. We have broken down the altars, but now we need to replace it with God's system. We need to rebuild this temple that's been desecrated over time.

It's been ignored. I can just see the shrubs and the small trees working their way through the foundation. Josiah says, let's rebuild it. Have you had the opportunity to be a parent of a teenager? What were you like when you were 16? We occasionally hear from teenagers who listen, so you might be around that age right now. Here's the question.

Do 16 year olds have life figured out, or do they still have a lot of questions and some more growing up to do? On this vintage wisdom broadcast of Wisdom for the Heart, Steven Davey takes us to the Old Testament to examine the life of a 16 year old who became the king of Israel. Here's Steven with today's lesson called The Boy Wonder. A few weeks ago, a member of our church emailed me two pages of things that kids had to say about Bible stories and about Bible geography that you might enjoy some of these. One kid writes, ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all rode in hydraulics. One boy wrote, the pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. Another wrote, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma.

Later, Jacob, the son of Isaac, stole his brother's birthmark. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice, so they killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. Isn't that great? Kids are terrific.

They're funny and they're a handful. They say that an adolescent needs to answer three very critical questions for them to find that healthy fulfillment that they need. Question number one is the question of identity. That is the question, who am I? Who really am I?

Where do I fit in the world? The second question is the question of authority. That is, who do I listen to? Who do I obey? Who calls the shots in my life?

They start asking that early. And the third question is the question of conformity, especially through the teen years, and that is, who will I be like? What am I becoming?

Who am I trying to pattern my life after? Now, the Bible, without ever referencing those questions, gives answers to them. I know as a teenager what delight it was for me to be able, and perhaps you at some point in your life, to be able to say, my identity is in Jesus Christ. I am a Christian.

And a lot of times as adults, we forget that, and it may sound like a semantic game to you, but it really isn't. If I were to ask you, who are you? And if you were to say, well, I'm an engineer, you've missed the point. Or I'm a salesman, you've missed the point. You are a Christian, a child of God who happens to sell things.

Or I'm a Christian who happens to preach. That is the question of identity. The question of authority is answered by Peter and that adolescent church as they're just beginning to erupt in Jerusalem under the wonderful power of the Holy Spirit as he stands before those magistrates and he says, we will obey God rather than man. Question of conformity, Paul challenges us to not be conformed to the image of the world, the world system. Literally, don't be squeezed into its mold, but instead run counter to your culture and be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

And Romans chapter 8 verse 29, one of the most overlooked verses because we always focus on Romans 8 28. He says that you are predestined to being conformed to the image of his son, Jesus Christ. What is your answer to those three questions? What is your identity? Who are you? What is the authority in your life? That is, who do you listen to?

What do you want to become most like? But when you turn to the Bible for an example of somebody who is answering these questions in a godly fashion, the last place you'd ever expect to find it is in the life of an adolescent. Yet one of Scripture's surprises is a king named Josiah found in 2 Chronicles where I want you to turn to chapters 33 and 34 who became the king of Judah when most other kids, at least in our day, are about to go into the third grade. His story appears in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. I want to go back and pick our story up with 2 Chronicles where he left off.

And you don't have to look very long to know that this boy had a horrible history. We've just completed the study of his grandfather, Manasseh. In chapter 33, he was a man compared in Scripture to Ahab and Jezebel, a wicked man, until he finally in later life repented. But he couldn't overturn the wrong that had already been done in the kingdom. His father, Ammon, was also an idolater, a wicked individual. There had been 50 years of spiritual famine in the land.

The country was given over totally to idolatry. Now according to chapter 33, the swirling events that eventually placed this young boy on the throne were incredibly traumatic. I want to look at the gruesome words of verse 22.

We'll sort of pick up the context there. He's talking about Josiah's father here. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh, his father, had done. And Ammon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father, Manasseh, had made, and he served them.

Verse 24. Finally, his servants conspired against him. Servants, they're probably referring to the officials that were in his cabinet. They conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. You can only imagine that Josiah could hear the screams of the terrified servants as the palace house is now in an uproar, perhaps hearing the wailing of his bereaved mother. Certainly he was awakened if it took place at night by the cry of revenge.

Notice the next verse, verse 25. But the people of the land killed all the conspirators against King Ammon. And the people of the land made Josiah his son, king in his place.

That's an interesting insight into probably the fact that the conspirators had someone else in mind. They were trying to perhaps rip the throne away from the dynasty established by the forefathers of Josiah. Maybe he was hustled into safety while this bloodbath occurred, and eventually the people of the land won.

Maybe he even witnessed his father's assassination. Now this eight-year-old boy, third-grader, is a king with a wicked man for a grandfather and a wicked idolater for a father, with 50 years of spiritual famine in the land, with the beginning of his reign marked by assassination and revenge. What kind of hope would you give a third-grade king?

Not much. Look with me at the startling words of chapter 34, verse 1. Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem, and he did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father, Ammon. No? Vanessa?

No. He walked in the ways of his father, David, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. Can you imagine, in spite of this horrible history, he's a godly king. Now, the Bible really doesn't make the connection for us, as I immediately asked how, but I did find it interesting to note that at the same time Josiah began to reign, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Nahum all began their prophetic ministry in Judah. It seems easy to imagine that he was impacted by these godly men. Now, you need to understand that verse 2 is a categorical statement. It's sort of a heading at the top of Josiah's biography.

Look at it again. And he did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father, David, and did not turn aside to the right nor to the left. This verse refers to his entire reign, not just what he was like as an eight-year-old. Now, in the next few verses, Ezra, who is writing this under inspiration, will articulate for us exactly what it was that made him able to say he was a godly king who turned neither to the left nor to the right.

He's going to make points repeatedly through this next paragraph. It's as if Ezra wants to make sure, the Spirit of God through him, that we understand this is what an adolescent can do for God. This is what a teenager can do for God if they've answered the question, who am I?

Who's my authority? Who am I becoming? There are three characteristics illustrated in the life of this young man. Illustration number one, Josiah had an insatiable hunger, an insatiable spiritual hunger for God. Verse 3, for in the eighth year of his reign. Now, I suggest you circle the words, the eighth year. God isn't including that fact just because he wants to provide material for a Bible trivia game.

He wants us to know something. So circle the eighth year. While he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father, David. Now, you could write in the margin of your Bibles, write by that verse the words, 16 years old. When he was 16 years old, he began to seek the God of his father, David. That means he'd just have gotten his chariot license. Now, there's turmoil in the palace. There's a mother biting her nails, probably, but just thinks you won't have to take him anymore to sword fighting lessons or all that stuff.

He can drive himself. When a young person turns 16, most people immediately kind of think, oh, what are we going to do? It's as if people think, well, let's just hold your breath and maybe they'll get through it and we'll pray for the least amount of damage. Why do people think that way?

Maybe it's because of what's happening in our society. Let me read to you from the Children's Defense Fund, 1990. Every day in the United States, 2,795 teenage girls get pregnant. That's one million plus a year. Every day, 1,106 teenage girls have abortions. Every day in America, 1,629 teenagers are placed in adult jails.

Every day, 623 teenagers contract syphilis. Every day in America, 211 teenagers are arrested for drug possession. Every day, 437 teenagers are arrested for drunken driving. By the way, drunken driving is the number one cause of death in America among teenagers. Murder is number two. Suicide number three. Every day, 1,512 teenagers drop out of school. Every day, 2,989 teenagers watch their parents get a divorce. Maybe that's why we hold our breath.

You say in our society teenagers don't have a chance. They're surrounded by wickedness. Pleasure is a grasp away. They now have the means to go where they want. They're developing their wings. They can't be put in a corner or in a playpen. They can't be watched.

They're on their own. Here's a 16-year-old who at that juncture in his life, the Bible reads in verse 2, he began to seek the Lord, the God of his father David. The Hebrew verb for seek means to diligently, carefully pursue. And how old was he?

He was 16. Let me have you do a little, just a little exercise here. I want you to look around the auditorium and look for the color blue.

Go ahead. Don't look at me. I'm not wearing anything. Look around. Everybody's trying to be discreet here.

I'll make it easy. Everybody in here who's wearing blue, stand. We are surrounded with blue. You handsome people can be seated. Now if I were to ask you in the lobby after church not having done this little assignment, did you see all the blue in the auditorium?

You'd say, what? I didn't see any. Because you weren't looking for it. Once you started looking for it, you now see it everywhere. In fact, now even as I look across the auditorium confronted with blue, in every situation of life, the problem with Christians, somebody might come along and say, boy, did you see God in that?

What? See God? I didn't notice him.

You know why? We weren't looking for him. The Bible tells us that this 16-year-old decided to look for God in every pressure of his new reign, in every circumstance of his life, he began this insatiable appetite for the recognition of his almighty God in everything that confronted his life. And I guarantee you, he saw him in those circumstances of life. Well, illustration number two, Josiah had an uncompromising spiritual courage. Look at the next verse, verse three, the middle part. And in the 12th year of his reign, you need to circle that now, there's another one, and write in the margin of your Bible 20 years of age. In the 12th year of his reign, that is when he's 20 years of age, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the ashram, the carved images and the molten images, and they tore down the altars of the bales in his presence and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down also the ashram, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground the powder and scattered it on the grave of those who sacrificed to them. Then he burned the bones of the priests on their altars and purge Judah and Jerusalem.

You need to understand this is headline news. Josiah is now a junior in college, and he's turning the world on its ear. He destroys the idol industry of his kingdom, which means he destroyed the livelihood of thousands of people and the system as they knew it. Do you think he was well liked? No, they hated him.

That's why I think the conspirators had someone else in mind. Look at verse three, he began to purge. Verse four, they tore down the altars in his presence. I got to be there, he said.

I want to see it. The incense altars, he chopped them down. The molten images he broke in pieces and ground the powder and scattered it on the graves of those who sacrificed to them. Then he burned the bones of the priests. He said, let's dig up those priests. I want their bones. We're going to desecrate their graves. Why? Because they desecrated the glory of God.

This is about the time when most figure out where they're going to, you know, what major they're going to have in college. And he's bringing about an incredible reformation in the land. How do you get this kind of courage to run counter to your culture? How do you take the heat of criticism and ridicule?

I'll tell you how. You answer the question, who am I? You answer the question, what is my authority?

You answer the question, who am I trying to please and be like? Every time you say no to evil and yes to Jesus Christ, we become more like the one whose life we are to mirror, whose attitudes we are to inculcate in our own being. One more illustration, Josiah had unshakable spiritual conviction. Look at verse eight. Now in the 18th year of his reign, you need to circle that.

In the 18th year of his reign, he's 26 years old. Now you could write in the margin. When he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah and Messiah and official of the city, and Jo, the son of Joaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. This is great. I do want to tell you, it wasn't enough for him to tear down. It isn't enough in the New Testament era to put off the old man.

You need to put on the new man. If you come to Christ and you say, I'm going to stop doing this and this and this and this and do not replace it with this and this and this and this, you'll shiver in the cold. We have put away idolatry, we have broken down the altars, but now we need to replace it with God's system. We need to rebuild this temple that's been desecrated over time.

It's been ignored. I can just see the shrubs and the small trees working their way through the foundation. It's an old house. Josiah says, let's rebuild it. And we'll take a closer look at what happens. But before we finish, let me give you two thoughts of application that we can pull from the life of this young king who began at eight years of age to reign. Number one, the potential for a young person to impact his generation is possible.

Don't underestimate them. From the time Josiah was eight years of age to the time he was 26 years old, Josiah stood for God. This is a message to every teenager here, every young person here, every college student. You're not too young to live for God. Maybe you've sort of hidden behind the excuse, well, you know, my dad didn't live for the Lord, so why should I? Or I'm just doing like, you know, like my dad and mom did. You know, that's not so bad. I didn't have the heritage others might have had.

I didn't have the training. I was reared in a loving environment. We'll take a hard look at Josiah, who came from this horrible heritage, who was thrust into an incredible position of responsibility by political intrigue and assassination and execution.

And he said, I know who I am, and I know who I'm going to listen to, and I know what I want to become. This is a message, by the way, to every parent. Don't set your sights too low for your kid. You might have a Josiah in your house who will bring about reformation to this land.

They're capable of impacting their generation for the cause of Jesus Christ. Sit down with your eight-year-old and your 18-year-old and your 28, and as a 38, 39-year-old, I love sitting with my father, and I have him, and he just automatically rehearses to me, you know, Steven, the best thing you could ever do with your life, like he forgets I'm a pastor, you know, is live for the Lord. I say, yes, Dad, you're right. I'll try.

I love it. Because if all you're ever telling them is, look, you need a good job when you grow up and have some good manners and be civilized and we hope you live nearby, you're in God's way. Don't underestimate the power of God in the life of your child.

You know, one of the best ways to encourage them to answer these three questions is for every mom and dad here to have answered those three questions. Do you know who you are? Your identity, is it in Jesus Christ, is it the authority for how you live, the Word of God? Are you conforming to the next-door neighbors or to Madison Avenue or to the image of Jesus Christ?

I want to read you this. This comes from a book that is from a secularist. It is a book by William Myers called The Image Makers. It talks about Madison Avenue's most widely used categorization of people. They put people in the basic categories and then determine their advertising, television, newspaper, magazine, whatever, to target these categories of people.

Here's one of the categories, the socially conscious achiever. Madison Avenue says these are people who care more about inner peace and environmental safety than about success. They are looking for personal, not necessarily professional fulfillment.

They will try anything from Zen to acupuncture. They are Madison Avenue's toughest challenge and why is that? Because they don't know what fulfillment looks like but they're pretty sure it's not the status quo and so they're off on these tangents and they're hard to advertise to. Twenty percent of the population in America, they say, are the socially conscious achiever.

Second, the emulators. Listen carefully to these words that they created. They are not set in their ways. They are an impressionable group of young people in desperate search of an identity and place in the adult working world. They will do almost anything to fit in. They lack self-confidence and are discouraged about their financial prospects. They are into hedonism, that is self-satisfaction, instant gratification.

I want it now. And they're into finding solutions to their post-adolescent dilemmas. Fifteen percent of America's population. Can you imagine? Millions of young people are entering the adult world and they're still seeking an answer to the identity question. Who am I? One more.

The emulator achiever. These are America's materialists. They have it made for the most part but they're a bit frustrated because they can't reach the very top rung of the ladder, or just under it. Although they are affluent, they are somewhat dissatisfied with not having more. Twenty percent of America's population. Ladies and gentlemen, what that tells us is that Madison Avenue, a secular mindset reaching the world system, has developed a strategy based on the fact that they believe that 55 percent of America's population do not have the answer to the question, who am I?

Who is my authority? And what am I trying to become? And guess what they'll do?

They're trying to fill in the blanks. Be like this. Get this.

Go there. Pressure is on. One of the most amazing statements about peer pressure I ever heard came from the lips of a Christian teenager who's in the process of being interviewed on Focus on the Family a couple of years ago. He was a high schooler who was creating a Reformation in his high school, starting Bible studies and prayer meetings.

He and some other Christian teenagers. He was being interviewed about what was happening and they finally got to that typical question that you'd think you'd ask a 16-year-old. And they asked him, well, how do you handle the peer pressure on your campus? And he shot back politely with his answer. Sir, on my campus, I am the peer pressure. Isn't that good?

Wow. If you could go to your job tomorrow and say, I want all of you to know, I'm the peer pressure. I'd whisper it.

I wouldn't announce it. Send a memo. You go back to your college campus with the attitude, I am in Christ the Christian. I listen to the authority of God's word and I am going to become like him by his grace. And I'm here and I am your peer pressure.

I am the influencer, not the influent. By his grace, we, like Josiah, children and adults, can impact our wandering generation to the only truth, the only way, the only life worth living. What a great reminder today that if you can answer the question of who you are in Christ, you're in a position to have a profound impact on the other people in your life. This is wisdom for the heart. Today's lesson is called The Boy Wonder, and it comes from Stephen's vintage wisdom series called We Three Kings.

In this series, Stephen examines the life and influence of three kings of ancient Israel. I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone. Once you do, you can take this Bible teaching ministry wherever you go. In the menu along the bottom is a tab that says Bible. If you don't want to read the Bible, you can actually hit a play button and listen to the Bible being read to you. Also, if Stephen has a lesson from the section that you're reading, you'll have a link right to Stephen's lesson from the Bible.

Let's say, for example, you're looking at Genesis 1-1. Right at the top of your screen, there's going to be a link to Stephen's lesson from Genesis 1-1. Install the Wisdom International app on your phone today. Would you be interested in receiving occasional text messages and updates from Stephen? It's a great way to communicate, and he'd like to be able to text you from time to time. Of course, once you've signed up, you'll be able to send Stephen a text as well.

He'd enjoy hearing from you. We actually have a way for you to add yourself to the list. Go ahead and grab your phone, because signing up is very easy. All you have to do is send a text with the word wisdom, and here's the number. Send a text to 833-676-4051. Your message should just be the word wisdom. Again, the number is 833-676-4051, and your first text to Stephen needs to just be the word wisdom. Get signed up on that list today, and please join us here next time to discover more wisdom for the heart. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-02 07:56:15 / 2023-08-02 08:06:30 / 10

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