Josiah

Steve Arterburn

Even men who don’t want to be like their fathers often turn out to be amazingly similar in their behaviors and personalities.  Through the power of God and hard personal choices, however, it’s possible to break out of an ongoing spiral of sin and dysfunction.

Take Josiah, for example.  Josiah was a young king who chose to stand against a virtual tidal wave of disobedience fostered by his grandfather Manasseh and his father, Amon.  Breaking from this downward spiral was particularly difficult since Josiah had little knowledge to guide his actions.  The Scriptures containing God’s laws had been lost for years.  But when the high priest discovered the Book of the Law in the Temple, young Josiah immediately initiated spiritual renewal for himself and his people.

As a result, Josiah was able to break the cycle of sin that had captured Israel in its whirl. Josiah was not a perfect man but he was a true champion of spiritual renewal.  He was committed to God and had the courage to pursue both personal and national renewal.

Josiah made the difficult choices necessary in order to ‘cut loose’ from the sins of the past and to build a new life for himself and the people of Judah.  Are you like Josiah?  Do you need to make a break from the past in order to build a new life for yourself? I hope you’ll seek the same powerful God who renewed Josiah.

Restoring Relationships

Steve Arterburn

Are you living with a strained relationship?  Restoration of human relationships doesn’t happen instantaneously.  If you’ve broken someone’s heart or trust, you have a responsibility to face your failures.  And you also have the tough responsibility of avoiding the urge to blame others for the problems you’ve caused.  It may take some time before you’re able to face up to your failures.  Expect the process of restoration and regaining trust to take time.

The prophet Hosea was a remarkable man.  He was told by God to marry a prostitute.  His marriage was to be a living example to the nation of Israel of her infidelity toward God.  It must have hurt Hosea deeply when his wife returned to her life of prostitution.  Hosea said, ‘Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go and get your wife again.  Bring her back to you and love her, even though she loves adultery.  For the Lord still loves Israel even though the people have turned to other gods, offering them choice gifts”.  Hosea needed some time before he could be close to his wife again, for such deep restoration takes time.

It’s your responsibility to wait patiently while God helps you restore your broken relationships and the hearts you may have broken.  God can give those you’ve hurt love when love has been lost; he can help you trust and become trustworthy again, but these things take time.

Samuel

Steve Arterburn

Samuel was one of the great men of faith and one of the great leaders in Israel’s history.  He served as priest, prophet, and Israel’s last judge.  Look at what the Bible says about him. ‘As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.  All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 3:19-20).  

But Samuel was human, and he had blind spots.  Samuel appointed his sons as judges in his place.  The problem was that his sons were not the men of character that he was.  Instead, Scripture tells us they ‘were greedy for money.  They accepted bribes and perverted justice.’  The people tried to tell Samuel, but for whatever reason he had a blind spot when it came to his family.  

We often develop blind spots with regard to someone we love and want to protect.  If Samuel had heard the people’s complaints with openness, he may have seen the truth before it was too late.  Then he could have corrected the problem and held his sons accountable for their actions before it was too late.  If others around you are telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe you should stop and evaluate carefully what’s being said.  

Do you need to be honest about someone in your life’a friend, child, a family member?  Take your blinders off.