Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Take a Stand Like Josiah

The historical account of Josiah’s reign as king of Juda (640-609 BC) is a wonderful read. Josiah became king of Judah at the age of 8, at the death of Amon. In contrast to Amon’s idolatrous reign, (cf. 2 Chronicles 33:21-24), Josiah early in his life turned to serve God. 2 Chronicles 34:3 says, “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.”

In the eighteenth year of his reign (when he was 26 years old), he sent men to repair the temple. While this was being accomplished, we are told that Hilkiah found the book of the law which had been lost for many years. The book was read to King Josiah, and verse 19 records, “Thus it happened, when the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes.”
Notice the following quote from William Smith’s Old Testament History, page 652.

“It is hard for us to realize the full force of this discovery. We can scarcely conceive of a state of things in which, during centuries of the nominal establishment of Christianity, the people should still observe solemn festivals to Buddha; the altars of the Aztec Indians should smoke with human sacrifices in every city, town, and village; the statues of grotesque African gods should be set up in our church houses, and the hills around our cities be crowned with temples to Jupiter and Venus: all this lasting for centuries, with an occasional and partial return to the purer form of worship, while the BIBLE, never multiplied by printing, and only known in older and purer times through infrequent readings by the clergy, should have been utterly lost and forgotten! Add to this the supposition that the lost volume contained, not the dark symbols of the book of Revelation, but a clear warning of national destruction and captivity to befall us because of these idolatries, and then let us imagine our feelings on its sudden discovery! No wonder that Josiah rent his clothes, and could not rest till he found a prophet to expound these terrible denunciations!”

Josiah is to be commended for his attitude. He commanded the law be read to the people, made a promise to his God to keep the ancient covenant, and verse 32 says, “…he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.”

I think it significant that he compelled the people to “take a stand” regarding the law of God rediscovered. The problems that plague the people of God, both in the past and now in the present come when we refuse to “take a stand” with regard to the word of God.

Too often in our society a stand on truth is decried as hard hearted, mean spirited, and divisive. A lack of tolerance for error and false doctrine is not politically correct. Those who would condemn sin are accused of setting themselves up as arbiters of the faith.

The people of Josiah’s day had long ago lost the word. In time the word had been forgotten, and the people were given over to idolatry, immorality, debauchery and excess. They had no excuse for their actions, despite the loss of the book of the law. God said, “Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah.” They were condemned because they did not do his word.

What about Christians today who have that word readily available, and still refuse to obey it? Who teach false doctrines, and/or lead ungodly lives? Is anyone audacious enough to suggest that their fate will differ in any respect from the fate of the ungodly Jews?

Too often gospel preaching has degenerated into philosophical posturing and amusing stories. Too many Christians will not sit still for the application of truth, and the accompanying admonition to abide by it which should characterize the gospel message.

The trend is obvious and dangerous, and we need to be on guard lest we too be caught in the drift toward apostasy.