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August 1st, 2004—Revival Begins with You!

When Solomon's son Rehoaboam became king over the two tribes of Judah, the Bible says that the moral condition of the land was detestable.

1 Kings 14:21-24

21: And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.

22: And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.

23: For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

24: And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Now, what were those abominations? The sodomites had full liberty to live and do any way they wanted to because Rehoboam the king found nothing wrong with their behavior.  So what did they do.? And how did it affect the land?

The Bible says they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. You'll find a list of these abominations in Leviticus Chapter 18, but let me summarize for you quickly: not only did the sodomites indulge in sexual immorality, men with men, they also violated their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their children, their grandchildren, their aunts, and their uncles, their children's spouses, their neighbors’ wives and daughters, they aborted their responsibility for children by throwing them into the fire, while cursing the name of the most high God. And when their fleshly cravings could no longer be satisfied by human flesh, they went after animals.

How did all of this affect the land?

Leviticus 18:25

25: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

The land was defiled; it was full of filthiness and disease. The filth of the land was such that God commanded Joshua to destroy everything in it when he first came into the land of Canaan.

Rehoboam knew all about the sodomites. But, in his thinking, they were nice people, and, in his leadership position, he felt they had a right to live anyway they wanted to, regardless of what his hokey religion said.

But God was unhappy with Rehoboam, and the Bible says,

1 Kings 14:25-26

25: And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:

26: And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

God judged the land, and the people, again, became subservient to Egypt.

2 Kings 22:1-20

1: Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.

2: And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign over Judah. And it had been a good many years, and two bad kings, since the reign of the last good king Hezekiah. Needless to say, the land again was defiled; full of wickedness, filthiness and disease. Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh, had all but destroyed the temple. He barred the gates of the temple. Temple worship ceased for the Jews for some 45-50 years.

Just think of that for a moment. During almost the entire reign of Manasseh, people were restricted from the worship of God.

When Manasseh died, his son Amon continued his father’s wicked and ungodly reign. But when Amon died, his son Josiah ascended the throne, and began to lead the people of Judah in a great revival throughout the kingdom of Judah.

J. Vernon McGee writes:

It is my firm conviction today that the only thing that can save our nation is revival. It is either going to be revival or revolution. There is corruption in government on all levels. There is corruption in all organizations today. Immorality and lawlessness abound.

Sex, liquor, drugs, [pornography,]…scandals, and riots reign. This nation is wallowing like a pig in a [pig's] sty. We are like the prodigal son in a far country in the pigpen with the pigs. Without revival, revolution stares us in the face. Socialism is creeping in today. Political parties are willing to sell the birthright of this nation in order to stay in power. The church today is under the blight of apostasy. There is a brazen denial of the Word of God. The Word of God has been lost in the church and there are atheists today in the pulpit.

The first thing Christians need to recognize is that revival is personal and individual. What we need today is not politicians calling other politicians crooks. We need politicians who will say, “I have been wrong, I am going to get right with God.”

Josiah, the man at the top, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. The revival began with him.

3: And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying,

4: Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:

5: And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house,

6: Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

Josiah is preparing to open the temple for active worship again. He's hiring carpenters, builders, and masons. They will be paid out of the temple treasury, which has recently been improved by the financial gifts of the people.

7: Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

This means that Josiah completely trusted Shaphan to deliver the money into the hands of the construction workers, every penny. Josiah didn't need to personally account for the funds, he trusted Shaphan, and Shaphan trusted the workers.

8: And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

When wicked king Manasseh closed the Temple, the Word of God (the Book) was misplaced somewhere in the temple itself. It had been lost for some 50 years. Josiah had never read God's Word. He had heard about God's Word, and he was aware, from the teachings of others, what the temple was for, and a bit about the God of his fathers, but he had never read the books of Moses, or the Psalms of David. And now, surprisingly, this wonderful book has been found.

9: And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.

10: And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.

Now I'm going to tell you what Shaphan read.

He read Leviticus Chapter 18, and Josiah came to realize that for a terribly long time his nation had been living dangerously in wickedness and sin. The nation had been living outside the law of God. And he read about the judgments that would come upon the land. How did he respond?

11: And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.

12: And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,

13: Go ye, enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

Josiah's committee seeks out Huldah, the prophetess,

15: And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,

16: Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:

17: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

Now listen to this: God's judgment was going to come upon Judah. But because Josiah sought God's face, God's grace and mercy would rest upon him.

18: But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;

19: Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

20: Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.  And they brought the king word again.

2 Kings 23:1-7

1: And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

2: And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.

3: And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.  And all the people stood to the covenant.

4: And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.

The people had been worshipping many gods; and using the Temple of God as a place to store their pagan vessels. Isaiah 47:12-15 addresses our worship of the heavens: i.e., sun, moon, stars, heavenly patterns, monthly prognosticators (horoscope casters)—God forbids this kind of idolatry.

5: And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

6: And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.

7: And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

J. Vernon McGee: "Today there are churches looking upon homosexuality as permissible behavior. God says in Romans 1:26-27, that he gave up a people because of this unnatural thing." McGee goes on to say that he's of the opinion that God will give this nation up if it continues smiling upon the unnatural practice of homosexuality.

For the next 14 verses, you can read how Josiah thoroughly cleansed the city and the land of all pagan worship and immorality. He left no stone or leaf unturned.

21: And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.

22: Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;

23: But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.

It was the greatest and grandest Passover celebration in practically the whole history of Israel.

24: Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

25: And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

Today, our nation is teetering on the brink of God's judgment. We need a great revival in our land today. We need a great revival in our community today. But revival, in any capacity, must first start in the individual heart and the individual home.

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