Back off.

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath.  He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.

2 King 22.1-2

Part of being human is to think that we are right, to know what is best, at times to be arrogant.  Christians who are purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and who are being conformed to His image still wrestle with this sinful tendency and I hear people beating up the church regularly.  “We don’t do this, we should do that” or “Ichabod is written here”.

But this week I was thinking about some of our history.  God took the Israelites into the promised land, the land of Canaan.  After generations of leadership by judges the people wanted a king, so as to mirror the neighboring countries.  God gave them a king, and after only three kings the kingdom divided and was split between the two sons of Solomon – the last king of the united kingdom.  Israel to the north had no godly kings and went into exile first, and Judah to the south had a few godly kings and was spared only a few extra years before being taken into captivity.  One of these godly kings was Josiah.  Josiah was only eight years old when he was anointed king and in the eighteenth year of his reign (when he was 26), the priests found the book of the Law in the temple.  They read it and Josiah led the kingdom to repent.

The first thing he did was inquire of the Lord and tore his clothing in mourning.  Then he had the book of the Law, in its entirety, read before the people.  Then he removed the external acts of sinful worship:

“Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel…He brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.  He also broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of the Lord, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah.”

2 Kings 23.4, 6-7

Here is my point.  The people of Judah had become so perverse in their religion that they had vessels made for other gods in the temple of God.  They made sacrifices and carried out open worship to other gods in His house.  They also had prostitutes who lived in the temple, and had full time employees living in the temple whose job was to make offerings for other gods!

Now, I understand that we in America often live for and worship things like success, ego and comfort.  But these people had idols and objects to which they were actually praying and sacrificing.  I can honestly say that I have never been in a church in America that had a brothel on site.

Christians have room to grow.  The church is not a museum of perfect people, it is a hospital for broken sinners who are repenting.  None of us will be fully sanctified until that wonderful day when we meet our fate and come face to face with the Savior and our glorification will be complete.  The Church is the chosen bride of Christ and he loves her and so should we.  Stop throwing stones.

Does that mean we excuse sin?  “May it never be” as Paul says over and over.  We need to push one another on to holiness and godliness and repent daily of our sin.  But only in love can we help our brother remove the speck from his eye and push him on to repentance.  God is concerned about our holiness and we should be too.  But let’s quit beating up the bride on the corporate level, and let’s remember that it is not as bad as it could be: God is still sparing us.  Let us strive for holiness and push one another on to love and good works and let us honor our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  And let us not condone sin, but fight it Biblically.

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