Cry Out in Repentance: Spaghetti, Sweets, and McDonalds
II Kings 22
March 27, 2011
by Anita Wansley
Children from the WNBS class act out 2 Kings 22
When I did this story as a lesson with the children last fall I was struck with awe. This was an amazing Old testament story that had many convicting parts. Let’s start with some verses that seem to hold particular meaning:
Vs. 2: “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David not turning aside to the right or to the left”
This was a young man… 8 when he became king… 26 when he began the temple renovations. He had God’s call on his heart. He had decided to walk in the way of the Lord and not half way but never turning to the right or to the left. What I love about King Josiah was he wasn’t perfect (one can look to his death for that example), but his heart truly desired to follow God. He had followed a long line of wicked kings before him but he was different. He wanted to follow God
Vs. 11 “when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes”
The words from the book of the law most likely from the book of Deuteronomy were read. These words were of the ten commandments, these were God’s words to love Him alone with all your heart, soul, and strength. These words were to fear the Lord and serve Him only. These words held power, convicting Josiah on the spot.
Now traditionally in the bible when someone tore their robes it was in grief. It would seem to me that great crying out would have accompanied the action. Later on in the chapter it refers to his weeping. I can see him having that look of realization come over him and him falling to his knees weeping, crying out, tearing his robes. God’s word went right to his heart.
His act of repentance was not just for himself but for his people, for others. He knew that under his reign there were idols in the land. He realized that there had been corporate sin and yet didn’t just pass the judgement on to others. When the word of the Lord met his heart he examined himself and cried out. He cried out for the people and cried out in fear of the judgement that was in those words. But he also cried out in shame for disappointing the One he so badly wanted to follow
Vs. 13, 14 Josiah sends his aides to the prophetess Huldah
Josiah heard God’s word, felt its meaning, but wanted to consult one of God’s messengers. He sent his aids to Huldah, a prophetess, who listened for God’s voice. She tells it like it is. She gives Josiah God’s message. There will be judgement, but she also tells him that God noticed Josiah’s reaction. God took favor on Josiah’s humble, contrite repentance. Let’s look at that part:
Vs. 19 God says through Huldah, “because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord… because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I HAVE HEARD YOU,” declares the Lord.
Listen again because this is the key verse today: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord… because you cried out in repentance I have heard you. God took notice to the fact that King Josiah cried out. He noticed Josiah’s response and softened His judgement
Thinking about this season of lent and what this scripture has for us made me remember Fausnaught day.
On the Monday before Fat Tuesday I had taken Mary to the eye doctor down town. On the way out to the parking lot the kids asked what we were having for supper. I told them spaghetti. Right away Sam turned up his nose and said “yuck, I don’t like spaghetti” to which he got the response, “Oh, I am sorry that you wont’ be eating tonight”. As we pulled out of the parking lot and drove past Chance and Dooley’s donut shop the girls wanted me to stop and get donuts. I launched into my explanation of fausnaght day which is the Pennsylvania Dutch equivalent to Fat Tuesday. I told them that I was planning to get donuts tomorrow. Then I went on to try to explain what lent was and about giving up something for lent in order to sacrifice and remember Jesus. Then I turned to the girls and asked them what they might give up. From the back of the van I hear sam say loudly, “I’m giving up spaghetti!”
Well, at dinner that night we all started talking about lent and what we might give up. I hadn’t been in the practice of giving up something for lent but this year I had decided I needed to try. When Chris looked at me and said that we should give up sweets together I breathed a sigh of relief. I had been getting the feeling that God wanted me to give up McDonalds and I was feeling like I had just gotten off the hook. Sweets I could suffer through giving up. McDonalds… well, that is a whole other story! Give up my sausage biscuit and dollar menu chicken sandwich… too hard! That is my comfort when I am mad. That is my reward when I am happy.
So what does spaghetti, sweets, and Mcdonalds have to do with this story? Let me make it clear that there is nothing wrong with McDonalds… my relationship with it is another storyJ I think we can compare picking something to give up for lent when we start to look at the sin in our lives. Oh, we all know we have sin. We all know that there are things that separate us from God. But we would rather give up the spaghetti things. You know, those things we don’t really like having a part of our lives already. We can confess those things and feel better quickly… not too much sacrifice or pain involved.
The sweets… well, it seems that these are the sins that are a part of our life, maybe separate us from God, but are somewhat acceptable. These we might confess, struggle to let go of, but really only help to hide the real sin that separates.
The McDonalds… well, here is where it gets personal and painful. These are the sins we would like to hide. These are the ones that bring us shame. These are the ones that are well rooted. These are the ones that we turn to when we feel entitled. These are the ones we don’t want to look at but they make us feel shame, or anger, or hopelessness. These are the ones that keep us separate from God and others.
Whatever sin you may be dealing with today or maybe ignoring today let’s look at scripture again:
King Josiah most likely heard the ten commandments. You might feel a bit of relief because you haven’t killed someone, but Jesus makes this personal in Matthew 5 in His sermon on the mount:
Matt 5:21 “You have heard it said to the people long ago, “Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement, But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement.”
This verse had always been familiar to me but it took a Huldah in my life to convict me of the meaning God wanted me to hear. This was a McDonalds sin that I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with.
When I went through my divorce I had a lot of anger, okay, hate in my heart. I had been done wrong and I was angry. I didn’t murder my ex-husband… thought I could have but didn’t. It has been said that unforgiveness is like holding someone by the throat and I didn’t let go of his throat for years. This anger kept unforgiveness in my heart. It kept me miserable. It kept me bound up, but I was sure it was all his fault.
I had read the scripture. I knew that Jesus called me to forgive, but this anger, hate, murder in heart was so deep. It was so rooted and I felt entitled to it. My Huldah came in the form of Phillip Yancy, the author of What’s So Amazing about Grace. His words were prophecy to me of what God wanted for me. I remember the exact spot in my living room and what page it was in that book that I finally let go of Cecil’s throat. I had murder in my heart and I finally repented of that and let God take care of whatever judgement there was for this person who wronged me.
Here is another verse from that same passage :
Matt. 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, “do not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.
Jesus ups the anty on a sin we don’t want to talk about. Our thoughts, our sexuality… yikes! These are the sins we think are private. These are the sins we think won’t hurt anyone. These are the sins we turn to when we are lonely, when we are angry with our spouse, when we are angry with our parents… we start to look, we start to lust, we start to wish. Lust… what a deceitful, binding McDonalds sin.
Whatever it might be, God is wanting to talk to you about that sin that is keeping you bound up in shame. His word is clear about what displeases Him. So what do we do with it? What do we do when we are convicted? This story of King Josiah gives us some guidance
Here are three things that Josiah did:
1. He responded with a humble, contrite, grieving heart. He cried out to God in recognition of what he had done. God longs for this.
In Isaiah 66:1 The Lords says, “this is the one I esteem, He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word”. Remember Huldah’s words to Josiah were that God said to him, “because you tore your robes, wept in my presence, I HAVE HEARD you”. God is still the same God today. He has given us the Holy Spirit and sent his son to die for our sins, but we are to still come to Him with a humble heart. We are to come to Him in repentance for the sin in our lives and because of the incredible power of Christ’s resurrection we are set free. We can be forgiven.
2. The second thing Josiah did was clean out! The majority of chapter 23 is how Josiah got rid of all the idols, cleansed the temples, defiled the shrines. He cleaned house! He didn’t just give his confession lip service he got rid of all the things that kept him and the people bound to sin and displeasing God. He got rid of the things that might tempt him and the people to have other gods than the one true God. He took action.
3. He did some church. He celebrated Passover. Once he cleaned out what displeased God and kept the people sinning he gave the order to celebrate Passover. The people were to worship God, celebrate His good work in their lives. King Josiah turned the people back in the right direction, reconciling them to God and honoring God. He didn’t grovel or feel guilty. He set an example of what we are to do once we confess and know that through Christ we are forgiven.
Today in this lent season let’s take time to examine ourselves. Look deep. Go past the spaghetti, go past the sweets, and dig down to the McDonalds. Dig down with a humble heart and cry out to the Lord. What sin has been separating you from God? What sin has been separating you from your fellow believers? God is here waiting to hear your cries of confession. He will hear you! He alone can set you free with His abundant love.
Chris is going to lead “Give Us Clean Hands” and I encourage you to cry out to God. Listen to what sin God wants you to give up. Cry out to Him, cry out to Him!