“The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. Then the king proceeded to The Temple of God, bringing everyone in his train—priests and prophets and people ranging from the famous to the unknown. Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in The Temple of God. The king stood by the pillar and before God solemnly committed them all to the covenant: to follow God believingly and obediently; to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to put into practice the entire covenant, all that was written in the book. The people stood in affirmation; their commitment was unanimous.Then the king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, his associate priest, and The Temple sentries to clean house—to get rid of everything in The Temple of God that had been made for worshiping Baal and Asherah and the cosmic powers. He had them burned outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and then disposed of the ashes in Bethel. He fired the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had hired to supervise the local sex-and-religion shrines in the towns of Judah and neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In a stroke he swept the country clean of the polluting stench of the round-the-clock worship of Baal, sun and moon, stars—all the so-called cosmic powers.” 2 Kings 23:1-5 (MSG)
As spring approaches, most people embark on some level of “spring cleaning.” Maybe you go through your closet and get rid of old clothes, clean out the garage, or all of the “junk” drawers that have accumulated piles of unorganized papers. The goal of spring cleaning is usually to get rid of the excess in order to have more space and organization. We clean our homes, but maybe another area of our lives needs some “spring cleaning” too.
Josiah became king at the age of eight years old. During his reign, the Book of the Law that God had given to the Israelites was found. Up to that point, the nation of Israel had turned their backs and hearts against God. They had become so similar to their neighbors in their pagan worship that God’s judgement was coming upon them. As Josiah discovered that they had not been following God as He commanded, he was dismayed. He understood that something had to be done to rid the pagan worship from the country of Israel. As the leader, he committed his heart to following God, and the Israelites followed. However, it required more than a verbal commitment; it required action. They had to experience some “spring cleaning” to get rid of all the excess pagan worship that had infiltrated the country. Since it did not honor God, they had to make drastic changes. In our lives, we might not have shrines set up and brass idols sitting in our home. However, anything that becomes a greater priority, always receiving our time and attention, can be an idol in our hearts. It would be fitting to ask God to examine our hearts and reveal to us things that are pushing Him out of the central focus of our lives. When your life is really busy, what is the first thing to go? Do you pass on an activity, let go of that extra hobby, or project? Many times, the first thing to be left in the dust is our time we spend with God. We just don’t have time to do everything, so something has to give. The next thing can be our time to fellowship and worship God with other believers. Or maybe it is something entirely different. Maybe watching TV or hanging out with friends wins all ties. Are any of these things bad? No, but when they take a central priority and focus in our lives, we lose the margin and extra space in our lives that can crowd out our relationship with God. So, as you embark on accomplishing some “spring cleaning” this year in your home, ask God if you need to do any spring cleaning in your own heart so that you can love Him and follow Him with your whole life.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.