The Kings II 23 – Covenant Commitment 

The degree to which Josiah committed himself to the word that he heard was incredible. Remarkable to the extent that he stood out among the kings of Israel and Judah. 

What’s of great interest is that Josiah was already a godly king before he heard the book of the covenant read to him. He had already sought to do what was pleasing to God. Yet now in the light of the Word of God, there was a zeal to be about making the necessary changes in the kingdom. Those changes said a lot about the extent to which idolatry was ingrained in the life of the nation. Not only is there a wide range of idols mentioned, but the history of them – idols from Manasseh, Ahaz and going as far back as Jeroboam and even Solomon the last king of the United Tribes of Israel. It is as if no matter how much the likes of Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah had lived for the Lord the people always looked to keep on keeping on with their desire to follow their neighbours. 

Josiah’s passion for God was evident in this expression of covenant commitment. Demolishing, destroying, defiling and denouncing anything detestable to God. Such is the thorough manner with which he cleans the country of ungodly worship, no stone is left unturned. Every aspect of worship life is scrutinised to see if it fits with what God requires. 

It’s not just the elimination of the ungodly, but the celebration of the godly that marks the reign of Josiah. Here is a man who sets up the celebration of the Passover to be memorable establishing for the people what it means to be recipients of the amazing mercies of God that delivered them from slavery. 

All of this reformation and devotion to God is all the more remarkable when it transpires that even this degree of repentance does not avert the judgment of God on Judah. Not only that but the reign of Josiah is the last of a godly king in Judah before the judgment. After him the kings that follow revert to evil. 

That does not in the larger picture make Josiah’s efforts worthless. Josiah’s zeal for the Lord would be a template that the next King of the Jews would also express. A passion for God that is to be desired and expressed by all those who have been delivered from slavery to sin and are recipients of the Words of Life. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

We Are Sharing 

We love this couple. 

By we, I mean Authrine and I. We love this couple. They are so beautiful together. They are treasures that are now not so hidden and we have the blessed opportunity to uncover more of the riches within them as we engage in conversation. It’s only fair that we divulge ourselves as well and we are happy to do so because they are so warm and inviting. It’s one of the many reasons why we love them. 

When we met it was just so powerful and enriching to hear their insights and opinions on a variety of matters. Paying attention to them was the best thing I paid for in a very long time. It’s something I will gladly pay for more and more as time allows. 

We love this couple because with the beauty of Christ radiating from them we are improved for the experience. It is a wonderful reality of life together for Jesus. It’s something I hope we get to share with others, so they get a glimpse of people who don’t have it altogether alongside each other, supporting each other and loving each other. It’s a beautiful thing to witness. 

That’s another one of the many reasons why we love this couple. Long may that continue. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. 

The Kings II 22 – Torn: Look What I Found

The 26 year old monarch had established himself as a refreshingly godly kind of King. For the majority of his conscious life he ruled the kingdom of Judah and endeavoured to do so in a way like David the standard of kings. 

So it was understandable that he would have a concern for the temple of the Lord. His request for the house of God to be properly maintained was very similar to the last godly king of Judah, his great grandfather Hezekiah. On this occasion, however, the extent of the disrepair of the house of the Lord and reflecting the state of the nation, the priest discovered something that had seemingly been disregarded for a long time. The book of the law – the written basis of the covenant relationship between God and His people. Not only did the priest feel it was worth his while reading it but that this young monarch should hear what it has to say. 

It is the response of this young man that leaves such a strong impact on this reader. He heard the Word of God and he tore his robes. An utter and abject sense of the state of the people in such a sorry condition in comparison to the requirements of their Lord and Redeemer. The outward expression of the inner despair. This was not something to take lightly or glibly. Such was his heart to God that hearing His Word and being only too aware of the state of the people compelled him to a state of godly sorrow. 

The prophetic word that followed it confirmed his reason for such anguish. Judah, like the northern kingdom of Israel, had gone too far. Their failure to worship the true and living God who had delivered them from slavery and abide by the covenant was to bring about the necessary consequences. God would render His judgment and Judah would face His anger. 

And yet … 

The contrite, sensitive and repentant response of King Josiah was enough to spare him from the impending judgment. The response to God’s Word enabled this young man to be found favourably in His sight and have the assurance of ending his days in peace on the throne of David. 

For some this would be reason to relax, but as we will see this would be the foundation for something truly incredible. All this, however, started with a godly character concerned with the place God chooses to dwell in and a resultant sensitivity to the Word of the Lord. Such a set up are the ingredients God can use to do great things. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

My Word

Back in the day, I loved the commentary styles of the likes of David Coleman, Brian Moore, Barry Davies and John Motson. If you’re not interested in sport and English commentary on the variety of sport then this won’t mean much to you, but it meant heaps to me for years. Apparently there was some large global multi-sport experience that took place recently, but I was not that interested in any aspect of it. I didn’t watch any of the events and the results mattered very little to me. The event itself, though, reminded me of the 1980’s into the early 1990’s when I paid more attention to the competition and it was the commentary that had me hooked. In and amongst the excitement the commentators would bring to the action I can hear ringing in my ears the distinguished and considered phrases used to describe the elation and exhilaration of key moments in the competition. One phrase that was distinct and expressed exclamation brilliantly was the simple phrase, ‘My word’. It was so sweet hearing that phrase to convey the heightened level of attention to that which the commentator beheld. 

Decades later and the phrase has added meaning and value to me. It says something of my ambition in doing and saying. It says something about my desire to be an ever more effective and excellent communicator carrying across Christ in any setting I am in. It says something about the joy I have in cherishing the value of what emits from me when inspired by God in spoken or written form. It says something about the legacy in the hearts and minds of others when they recall experiences with me. Others have their music, their craft, their culinary delights, their mesmerising dance, their awe-inspiring architecture, their compassion for children, their ability to create communal facilities that enhances life for others. I dedicate my life again to employing the greatest gift God has given me. It’s for the benefit of others and for the glory of His Name. It may not mean much to some, but it will mean life for others. I dedicated my life to joyfully use that gloriously simple phrase. 

My word. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

The Kings II 21 – Judgment of Judah 

Hezekiah had represented a great height of integrity and devotion to God from the throne in the southern kingdom of Judah. It is strange, then, that his son who succeeded him, would be such a complete contrast. 

The twenty-first chapter of 2 Kings, however, depicts Manasseh, a king so wicked that he had no issue placing idol worship in the temple of the Lord and restoring things his father had abolished. He had no compunction seeing his son sacrificed to flames for the sake of his idolatry. The evil he promoted took the people of Judah to the point of judgment from the Almighty. When God condemns you it is a clear sign you have significantly missed the mark where He is concerned. 

The judgment God decreed on the kingdom was not on a whim. He had seen time and again how His people continually rebelled against God. The agreement was straight forward, they could continue to have their Redeemer as their Lord as long as they remained faithful to Him. Their flagrant neglect of that condition, their refusal to listen and obey incurred the necessary consequences. 

God goes to a no-holds barred approach. Talk of wiping Judah and Jerusalem like someone wiped a dish highlights just what He will do when evil rears its ugly head. When covenant relationship is broken by the weaker party, God will not allow this to go without dealing with it severely. It is a matter of righteousness. 

Despite this, things don’t get  any better with Manasseh’s successor, Amon. There is enough said in his very brief reign to see him following in his father’s footsteps. Reinforcing the evil of his Dad raised the stink of iniquity all the more, understandably arousing the anger of God. 

This goes to show that fatherhood – good or bad – can influence those who come afterwards. Whether that influence sees acceptance of evil as was the case with Amon, or rejecting it completely, as Manasseh. Having the influence of a father figure should be an indicator to the original Father so that all will be well as long as we remain faithful to Him. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

Let Relationships Develop 

If I had a penny for every time I have been informed how we live in a microwave society looking for the quick fix, I would be rich enough to buy quite a number of microwaves. 

I am sure there’s a degree of truth to it, but it’s advanced as though things were so much better yesteryear when at best things were different. Very different to the degree that we can make that critical analysis of the day and age we live in. For all that though, it is not a modern problem. Impatience has been a key factor driving technological progress – we don’t want to necessarily go through long processes to reach outcomes, we desire the outcome as soon as possible if not sooner. 

That’s evident in the expectations for relationships. One slight, one hurt, one indiscretion and the barriers go up and it’s typical humanity. Anything that suggests the mere absence of genuine warmth and hospitality and there’s the conclusion this person is not ready for friendship. What we all need is a little more time. A little more intentional time for each other, a little more intentional time that allows the relationship to develop so that there’s more content and context to work from. It’s what we need for ourselves, but it’s what we struggle to give to others. 

Some of us are too quick, some of us are too ponderous, sometimes we get too intense, other times we appear far too distant. Yet give us time, create the space and then experience the blessing of the relational interaction. 

We just need more time for the relationship to develop. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden 

The Kings II 20 – Hezekiah: Healed and Overexposed

Judah never had a king like Hezekiah. His reign represented a high point in the age of the monarchy in the southern kingdom. They had not had it so good before and they would not have it that good again. 

When he was struck ill with a sickness that should have lead to his death, his cry to the Lord showed a man desperate to live on and able to relate to God because of his passion and commitment to the Lord. It was another opportunity for God to show Himself to be glorified through His healing power. Hezekiah knew where to go in times of trouble and he was able to go there because of his track record. He was fully devoted to the things of God and that counted for much in His eyes. As seen in the previous chapter, not only would God heal Hezekiah, He would ensure that the city and southern kingdom would be protected from Assyria. 

The new lease of life and the protection of the Lord put Hezekiah in a very strong position. From the brink of death and defeat, Hezekiah experienced healing and victory. His reputation had reached far abroad and his condition had even affected the distant region of Babylon for them to show their care. Yet it as the moment of great victory and great strength that we are at our most vulnerable. 

It was one thing to be hospitable to the son of the Babylonian, it was something else to go to great lengths to show everything under his roof. It was as if the renewed Hezekiah was revelling in his strength and as a result exposed everything to strangers. It was Hezekiah showing too much to those he did not know and that degree of overexposure was to have severe consequences in generations to come. Hezekiah’s response to the prophetic insight given by Isaiah is strange. It highlights a selfishness that highlights a flaw in even the most upright of kings since David. It was Hezekiah saying at least he wouldn’t suffer even if his children’s children and beyond would. 

It’s a summary note to be aware of what we do in the light of the victories God grants us. It’s not for us to boast in what we have, it’s for us to boast in who we have that has given us so many victories. That’s the real fruit of success and in doing so we may well set things in place that will bless those near and far, from this time with an impact that spans generations in giving glory to the Lord who heals and delivers us. 

For His Name’s Sake 

Shalom 

C. L. J. Dryden