Our country is in sad shape. Manasseh’s fifty-five year reign ruined us. The temple is in disrepair, idols are everywhere, and the Book of the Law is missing. The people don’t care. They did at first, but as the years wore on, their hearts hardened toward God. How could this happen! We are God’s people, the apple of his eye and yet we act worse than pagans. God can’t be pleased with us.
But why has God allowed this? I remember hearing of King David and our greatness when he was king. I wish I lived back then. How could we be so high one moment and fall to these depths so quickly?
Wait a minute. I can’t blame God for this. He didn’t force us to follow this path. In fact, he sent prophets to warn us but we ignored them. What did my dad use to say?
“If you don’t like your position in life, you have no one to blame but yourself.”
“What does that mean, dad?”
“You get to where you are in life by making choices. If you choose to ignore God, eventually it will catch up to you. You’ll look for him when you need him and he won’t be there.”
“Wow,” I said. “But… what if you choose to follow God?”
“Then you have his promise to never leave or forsake you. If you are faithful, he’ll give you a God-sized dream he will one day help you accomplish.”
That day, I chose to follow God. It isn’t easy with all the evil Manasseh’s brought into the country. Sometimes God is close but often in the mundane daily activities, he seems distant. Day-to-day living squelches glimpses of my dream.
But deep inside, there is a growing restlessness. I’m not sure what’s causing it, but I do know I want more out of life. I want my life to count for something big. If only I could help put things back the way they were before “what’s his name” took over. But dreams are for the young.
Speaking of young; I hear Josiah is now king. At eight years old, what can he accomplish? I guess it’ll be more of the same old same old.
Ten years later...
Josiah has proven to be a good king and has worked hard at serving God. But after today, I don’t know if it’s enough.
The day started so well. Someone found the Book of the Law and Josiah immediately had a scribe read it aloud. As the day progressed, he came to a part about blessings God would bestow for obedience. They were grand—like in the days of David… Then the air filled with a chill as he read the curses that would befall us for disobedience. We’re guilty of them all.
When the scribe finished, Josiah tore his clothes as a combination of sadness and fear rose in his heart. Knowing we must be close to facing God’s wrath, he sent men to inquire what the Lord would do.
God told the men calamity will come on this place because they have forsaken him, but it will not happen in the days of Josiah. God spared Josiah because of his tender heart.
Josiah called all the people of Judah together, read the book in our hearing, and publically committed his life wholeheartedly to God all the days of his life.
The restlessness I’d suppressed the last ten years broke free and I finally realized I could no longer ignore God. He had to be active in my life. I stepped forward with hundreds of others and committed myself to God. At that moment, the dream awoke. More than ever, I wanted to make a difference. But what could I do? I’m a good carpenter. I can tear down an old house and build a better one faster than anyone around, but what good is that?
Two years later.
Who’d have thought? Shortly after giving my life to God, the king came to visit.
“I’m going throughout the country tearing down idols and places of false worship to change the sad state of our country. I need good men to help and hear you’re good at tearing things down. Would you like to make a difference in Judah for the Lord?”
“You bet,” I said and followed the king… to make a difference.
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