A Heartbeat from Disaster
In this particular passage of Scripture, the nation of Israel, to the north, has fallen so far from God's desire and purpose that he has given up on them, and they have been defeated and carried off into captivity. Judah, the southern kingdom, is following the same pattern. They have become more and more distant from God's desire. This portion of Scripture deals with Josiah, king of the southern kingdom. Josiah found the temple full of corruption. As king, he asked his priests to clean up the temple. They found the Law of God hidden back in a cupboard. The high priest brought out the Law and read it to the king, and the king was so impressed he decided to make the southern kingdom of Judah as God would desire before he destroyed it as he had Israel.
Astrology is still dangerous
That brings us to chapter 23 of Second Kings, and I want to start with the fourth verse. There are three directions I see us going today. First, I want us to see exactly how we can drift away from what God wants and end up with a terrible mess in our lives. Then we'll deal with what we might do to undo the mess we find ourselves in. Then we'll see the hope that God has for us.
We begin in the fourth verse. It says, "The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank, and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel." (Bethel was a city 60 miles north of Jerusalem—right on the border of what had been Israel.)
The king said, "Look, we have gotten ourselves in such a difficult mess that if we have any hope of getting out ...