Renewing the Covenant
2 Kings 23:3
“The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD – to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” NIV
After Hezekiah, the people of Israel again lapsed into unrighteousness and rebellion against God. Then one day during the reign of Josiah, as they were cleaning the Temple, they found the Book of the Law (also known as the Book of the Covenant). When Josiah read the Book and saw just how far Israel had fallen away from the Lord, Josiah’s heart broke in repentance. He gathered the people together and repented for the sins of the nation. Then he renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord, vowing “to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul.”
Josiah made good on his promise. He thoroughly cleansed the land of everything that displeased the Lord and for the first time in many years, the nation also celebrated the Passover. Because Josiah repented for the sins of the nation and renewed the covenant, revival broke out.
You know, we all need to stop every now and then and take stock of our lives. It is easy over time to accumulate things in our hearts and in our lives that really shouldn’t be there. We can grow lax about sinful things and begin to tolerate unrighteous ways. We live at a time when the laws of God are disdained and mocked and if we are not careful, we might find ourselves living by those standards, accepting those standards. And so over time, we can accumulate a lot of sinful and unrighteous ways that slowly choke and hinder our spiritual life.
We need to regularly clean out the temple of our heart and seek again to honour the word of the Lord with all our heart. We need a reality check to see if we have strayed from God’s laws and get ourselves back on track again. Like David, we need to ask God to “test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Ps 26:2). The Holy Spirit is ever calling us back to personal, family and corporate revival through renewal of our commitment to God. I believe that the Lord wants us to live in revival all the days of our lives and the secret is to keep our hearts faithful to the Lord.
Take time today to reflect on the state of the temple of your heart. Does it honour the Lord in every way? Has it fallen into disrepair? Are there things in it that need to be removed? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to examine your heart and your mind and see if it is pleasing to God. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40).
May revival come to you as you renew your commitment to the Lord our God.