My current student loves a certain dish made by her mother. She has tried several times to recreate it, but her efforts always come up short. One weekend she went home and watched her mother make this dish, and she discovered something: She was missing some of the key ingredients. The addition of those key ingredients made a world of a difference the next time she tried to make this dish on her own.
I don’t know about you, but I truly desire to experience God to my fullest capacity; yet every day I slip up. I fall back into the same sins, and though I desire to follow God’s lead, I so often fail. Where am I going wrong? Is there a secret “ingredient” I’m missing?
As I read the story of King Josiah this morning, as recorded in 2 Kings 22-23, I began to understand.
The great-grandson of King Hezekiah, King Josiah was one of the few good kings of Judah. In fact, he and his great-grandfather Hezekiah were the only two kings of Judah of whom it was recorded, “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord…” (2 Kings 22:2 NKJB). There were other kings of whom it was recorded, “He did what was right in the sight of the Lord”, but the next sentence always gives a qualifier: “but not like David his father”. Not so with Josiah. Of him it is recorded: “…and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.“ (2 Kings 22:2 NKJB)
What was so special about Josiah’s life?
The Bible spends nearly an entire chapter (see 2 Kings 23) telling about all the things Josiah did for the Lord. He completely cleansed Jerusalem and Judah of idols. He destroyed the high places, smashed and burned the houses of the temple prostitutes, burned the Ashtoreth poles and altars and cleansed and destroyed everything even remotely related to idolatry. And when he had finished in Judah, he went out into the former lands of Israel, even though Israel had already been carried off into captivity for their idolatry, and did the same thing. He left no stone unturned. Interestingly, although there were a few missteps recorded in the life of King Hezekiah (See 2 Kings 20), the Bible does not record any fault in King Josiah, and it is said of him, “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
As I read this account of a seemingly perfect king, it occurred to me that perhaps the reason I continue to struggle with falling back into temptation, with self-reliance, with having difficulty letting God’s Spirit lead me in every aspect of my life, is because I haven’t done quite as much “housekeeping” as Josiah. Perhaps there were still some “idols” hanging around in my life.
But how do I find those “idols”?
As I think about this, I realize that Josiah’s “housekeeping” began with finding the scriptures: “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.’…And Shaphan read it before the king. Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.” (2 Kings 22:8,10,11NKJV).
Could it be that the “missing ingredient” in our lives can also be found in the Word of God? That if we truly immerse ourselves in His Word, that “missing ingredient”, the idols hanging around in our lives, will become clear?
It worked for Josiah, and it worked for me. As I continued to study God’s Word, He brought to my mind a few idols that I have left in the dark places of my heart…Interestingly, most of the things that God revealed to me to be “idols” in my life were things I was aware of but never considered “bad” enough to make a difference. It was only when I opened up my heart to God that He began to reveal to me the things that needed to change. Some of these things were changes in attitude–people I needed to forgive, selfish motives, self-reliance and self-serving practices–and some were habits, pet sins, comfort practices, and even actual objects, that I clung to.
Do you also feel there is something missing in your walk with God? Is there a “missing ingredient” that you can’t seem to find? Do you continually fall back into the same temptations? Do you fail to follow God’s Spirit? Is it possible that you, too, need to do some “Josiah housekeeping”? Open up your heart to God’s Spirit and get into His Word. Ask God to reveal to you what is missing, then, like Josiah, begin a thorough “cleansing” of the things that stand between you and your walk with God.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.