A few weeks ago I was asked to teach on King Josiah as a part of a series our Jr High students are doing this term which focuses on the young men and women of Scripture. The aim of the series is to show how real life youngsters proved examples for the community of faith in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.
It was a joy to be able to share about this young king who loved God’s Word. Here is that transcript:
Today we’re going to talk about King Josiah, who lived his life like Paul told Timothy to live his in 1 Tim 4:12. But before we talk about Josiah, I feel I ought to tell you why this [1 Tim 4:12] works… as opposed to Why don’t you ever listen to me!? It’s not fair! which doesn’t work very well at all (trust me, I’ve tried it). But this way works. Why? Because God’s way always works best. And why is that? Because God is Truth. God is real. And God really and truly created everything, so he knows how everything works best. Makes sense, right?
So because God created everything and knows how everything works best; the more we know God, the more accurately we will understand the world around us, including our lives, our friends, art, music, movies, science, our parents… everything! We’ll never be perfect in this until we see God face to face, but we get better and better at it as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of who God is.
So then, if how we know God determines how we see everything else, how do we get to know God? Read the Bible and pray. Good. Now that we have the easy answers on the board, time to really put on your thinking caps. What other ways to we hear God’s voice? What other ways does God reveal himself to us?
I’ll let you in on a secret. God isn’t trapped in the pages of this Book! Oh he’s there all right, but he isn’t trapped there. God is everywhere!… if you’re looking. The Bible tells us that if we look for him we will find him when we search with our whole hearts. Jesus said something similar; he said, “Seek and you shall find.” Jesus also liked to say, “He who has ears to hear…” God can be found speaking to us through creation; other people, especially others who are also getting to know him; science, art, sports… even boring stuff like chores—God is that big. If we tune our ears to God’s channel, he will show up in the most unlikely of places.
God’s voice is everywhere but his isn’t the only voice trying to get our attention is it? When Adam and Eve first sinned, they chose to listen to another voice instead of God’s. The voice of God’s Enemy lured them away from God, and Satan is still up to the same old tricks today, trying to fool us, trying to lure us away from God’s love. And then there’s the world. The world has a voice; our society is constantly trying to tell us how to live the good life — buy these clothes; have these friends; make these grades; play this sport; be tough; be cool; be pretty…
So how do we distinguish, or recognize, God’s voice? That’s where we come back to what you said right off the bat. The Bible is the most comprehensive–or complete, or all in one place–place where we have God’s words to us about who he is and how his creation works best. So we can use Scripture as a test. Is this idea in this movie or song true? It sounds good. Well, how much does it sound like Truth?
As you can see, it’s pretty important to know God’s Word as if it were written on your skin and in your guts and brains and hearts. The more we love Scripture, the more we’ll know it, the more easily we’ll be able to recognize God’s Voice in all of life. And this is a rich, full way to live.
Josiah understood this. Josiah understood that because God created everything God knows how everything works best; that the better we know God, the better we understand everything else. And Josiah wasn’t very old when he figured this out.
Tune in next week for Part 2.