Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Reforms of Josiah in the 21st Century

II Kings 23 tells us about the reforms of Josiah:

4And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second
order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD
all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven He
burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their
ashes to Bethel.5And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained
to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around
Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and
the constellations and all the host of the heavens. 6And 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 beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon
the graves of the common people. 7And he broke down the houses of the male
cult prostitutes who were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove
hangings for the Asherah. 8And he brought all the priests out of the cities of
Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from
Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at
the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s
left at the gate of the city. . .10And he defiled Topheth, which is in the
Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as
an offering to Molech. 11And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had
dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber
of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the precincts. And he burned the
chariots of the sun with fire. 12And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber
of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had
made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, he pulled down and broke in
pieces and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. . .14And he broke in
pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the
bones of men. 15Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high
place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the
Asherah. . .19And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that
were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the
LORD to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. 20And
he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars,
and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
So. . . what are the idols of our day? Where are the "high places"? And more importantly, what is the appropriate response by the man--or woman--of God in the 21st century?

Do we "go Josiah" on our society and begin to tear down buildings and other structures?


KBennett said...

By definition, we cannot. Our society is not the church. We can and should "Go Josiah" on the idolatrous church in the 21st century and identify the high places put up in God's holy temple.

How many prophets of Baal have thousand-seat churches in these days?

Brian Ring said...

As Christians, we are called to destroy and take captives!

... of arguments and thoughts.

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ," 2 Cor 10:5

Coffee Snob said...

First, I apologize for not making my final question clearer. By "Do we 'go Josiah'" I was referring to individual Christians (or a group of individuals). I wasn't referring to the organized church. Josiah was an individual, acting in his official capacity as king. He wasn't a prophet or priest or an "official" representative of God.

I was actually more interested in seeing what people's responses would be to the earlier questions, esp. "What is the appropriate response [to modern-day idols]?"

Kyle: Agreed - the church is not society & vice versa. But does the passage ONLY refer to God's physical places of worship, or can we draw a general principle from the passage that can be applied today in a broader context?

I want to be sure I understand your comment. When you say "By definition, we cannot. Our society is not the church":
[I realize some of the following statements are ridiculous-not all even deserve a response. I'm just trying to consider all the options, rhetorically].
~ I assume you mean we cannot "go Josiah," on society, correct?
~ Who is the "we" in your statement? Individauls believers or the organized church?
~ Are you saying that Christians have no ability (cannot) or necessity to impact society for the cause of Christ?
~ Are you saying that the organized church's primary (or only) calling is to make disciples and then those individuals can go out and impact society?
~ Or are you saying that we cannot because there are no idols of any kind in our world today? (I assume this last is not your view).

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. If
1. there are modern-day idols or prophets of Baal that need to be destroyed, and if
2. we are called to destroy them, then aren't we in some way "going Josiah" on society? After all, these prophets and their temples/idols, etc. are a part of society, aren't they? Our actions sometimes have secondary consequences (sometimes unintended). By "going Josiah" on the prophets & idols, isn't society a secondary recipient?