Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 27, 2015

“but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. …”

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Kings Chapter 23.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+23&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Then the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.  The king went up to 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 hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.  3 The king stood by the 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 his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book.  And all the people entered into the covenant.

4 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.  5 He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the host of heaven.  6 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.

21 Then the king commanded all the people saying, “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.”  22 Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.  23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.  25 Before him there was no king like him who 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;  nor did any like him arise after him.

26 However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him.  27 The Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from My sight, as I have removed Israel.  And I will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’”  2 Kings Chapter 23:  Verses 1-6 and 21-27.

—————————————-

At first, it seem puzzling and a non-sequitur to read verses 26 and 27 that the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His anger after all of what we read previously of King Josiah’s reforms and that “there was no king like him who 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;  nor did any like him arise after him.”  Verse 25.

But then, we consider the following Scriptures and get some insight into verses 26 and 27.

Christ said:  “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?  So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves;  we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”  Luke 17:9-10.

King Josiah and Judah did not deserve a pat on the back after their reforms, in essence, no longer doing as much evil as they did before.  They have done only that which they should have done.

Likewise, when we repent and no longer do as much evil as before, we have done only that which they should have done.

The blessing will not come from our works “according to all the law of Moses”:  “but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.  Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.  …”  Romans 9:31-32.  “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”  Romans 10:3.

The blessing will come through faith in Christ.  The attitude of true humility demonstrated by the attitude “we have done only that which we ought to have done” may help lead us to faith in Christ.

“What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;”  Romans 9:30.

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 10:4.

“just as it is written,

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  Romans 9:33.

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