The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence.
He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, regulations, and laws with all his heart and soul.
In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll,
and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
2 Kings 23:3 NLT
I have always been fascinated by the process involved in a restoration. The majority of restorative efforts that I’ve been an active part of have been relational, rather than that of a physical item. Regardless, there seem to be some common elements to the restoration process that transcend what is being restored. The best restorations incorporate 1) identifying, removing and/or repairing damage and 2) re-create original intent. I have thought about this process before, but not until recently did I realize it could be extremely powerful if applied to my faith.
Unfortunately, most of the times I’ve identified a need for change in my personal life, I’ve drifted towards a cheap solution that produces a cheap result. It would be equivalent of just painting over water damaged wood rather than first removing the damaged portions, repairing the area and THEN repainting. In order to obtain true, lasting change, I must look at it as a full restoration. But a restoration of what?
Near the end of 2 Kings, I found out that all the good King Hezekiah did for Judah was quickly destroyed by his own son (Manasseh) who took the throne next. Manasseh brought idolatry back with a vengeance, returning all former pagan altars and adding to their number. He ruled with policies that slaughtered innocents and willfully turned away from God. After his death, Manasseh’s son Amon continued in the same manner. After Amon died, the next in line was Josiah – crowned at age EIGHT – had a heart of obedience to the Lord and quickly began the work of repairing the Temple. Once the work began, God blessed their efforts by allowing the Priest (Hilkiah) to rediscover the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple! (This would be like stumbling upon an original Model A Ford manufacturer’s manual as you were in the process of restoring a Model A Ford! Golden!) King Josiah had the entire scroll read to him and immediately realized the country was in a horrible state. He mourned deeply, repented and immediately began the task of restoring God’s commands.
“The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the LORD’s presence. He pledged to obey the LORD by keeping all his commands, regulations, and laws with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” 2 Kings 23:3
He destroyed all pagan altars, restored God’s order to the country and even finalized the restoration with a celebration of the Passover – a celebration honoring God that hadn’t happened since the time of Judges! He used his life as a platform for true change through restoration. He removed the damage, repaired God’s order and re-established space for God to renew a right spirit where there had been none.
When I am seeking true change, do I slap on a new coat of paint over my peeling walls or do I go through the process of restoration? I need to remember that true change requires true change. (And God is the one with the user manual.)
Challenge: I will spend time assessing my life this week and, when I identify an area needing restoration, I will seek true change with: repentance, repair and righteousness.