Upside-Down Living

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“And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are…”  1 Corinthians 1:28

When I stop to think about it, it’s really amazing to see who God chooses and when.  Today I’m learning about Huldah, but before I even get to Huldah, I must meet Josiah.  Josiah is the boy king, well at least he started his reign when he was eight years old.  Can you imagine that?  So how does an eight year old boy become King?

You, God, set him there.  Daniel 2:22 tells us that You remove kings and set up kings.  Even a king like Nebuchadnezzar was given a kingdom, power, strength, and glory from You, Lord.   You even made him ruler and put such great authority in his hand.  (Daniel 2:37-38) I learn this lesson from Nebuchadnezzar’s “beastly” example- “that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will, and sets up over it the basest of men.”  (Daniel 4:17)  Jesus, You even told Pilate,  “You could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above.”  (John 19:11)

So here we are again with God setting into place his chosen person, an eight year old boy.  But it started way before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb.  That’s just where the specific molding took place.  So, what kind of mold did he come from?

Somehow, by God’s grace, this boy, who became a man king, “did that which was right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.”  (2 Kings 22:2)  But here’s the interesting fact, because it wasn’t until the 18th year of his reign that they even found the Book of the Lord!  Somehow, it sounds like Josiah, and those who were advising him, were basically following God’s ways even though they had lost the specifics.  And I find this pretty amazing.  Because the earthly mold that Josiah came from was pretty cracked.  His grandfather, King Manasseh “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  And his dad, King Amon, took after his dad by worshipping idols and walking in his own way, too.  But then comes Josiah.  And somehow, he came from the same mold that God had formed David from.  See, another thing here is that the kings were to write out the Book of the Law for themselves, so they would know it and follow it.  Obviously his grandad and dad hadn’t done that.  The book was lost.  Imagine that!  But somehow, Josiah was still pleasing God.  But finding the book, took honoring and loving God to a whole new level.  Because now, Josiah could know Him even more intimately.

Now sometimes I hear people say how hard a task master the Jewish law was and that the believing Jews were trusting in the law and that Jesus changed everything.  It’s like the law got thrown away with Baby Jesus’ bathwater.  But Your law began by being written on our hearts.  We know the basics, it’s just the specifics we need to fine tune.  The law was just a reminder because deep down inside we know, just like Josiah new even though he didn’t have the book.  So what was he believing and how was he believing?

Josiah, and Jews of the past, and people of the present all believe and have ever only come to belief by faith in God doing this work in us.  Faith is responding to the voice of God instead of the voice of man.  It’s responding to the heart of God, of You.  Josiah and his advisors were desiring to please You.  Their actions demonstrated that.  But they only knew Your heart in part, and an incomplete part at that.  But You knew that.  And I think You even set up this time, this boy, these advisors, this lost scroll, for this purpose on this day.

I think that You placed this desire in this young king’s heart, this 26 year old’s heart.  You surrounded him with leaders/advisors of great integrity.  When He commanded that silver be gathered from the house of the Lord to repair it, “there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.”  (2 Kings 22:7)  How could they do that?  Why did they know to act like that?  Because by faith You were already acting in their hearts and lives.

And because they were responding to You, and they were delighting in You, even without full knowledge, You brought them into a fuller knowledge by faith.  You directed Hilkiah, the high priest to the Book of the Law that had been lost or hidden or ignored.  You directed it into Shaphan the scribe’s hands who read it.  You laid it on Shaphan’s heart so that he came to the king and read it to Josiah.  And when Josiah heard the words, his heart was torn because of what they hadn’t known and he was convicted and wept for the people.  See, faith isn’t just knowing.  It’s responding.

Here they thought they were doing right before God, yet they found out that there was so much they hadn’t done right.  According to Your word, they were in for some terrible consequences of their disobedience.  I can’t explain this all.  I do know that God always retains a faithful remnant, and His faithful remnant isn’t necesarilly perfect, but they are faithful with what they do know.  So Josiah wanted to know if You, Lord, would allow them to correct their wrongs, if there was any way to avoid the terrible wrath coming.

So what does he do?  He sends his advisors to Huldah, the prophetess.  Well, if they had this prophetess who is going to know this answer, why didn’t they know about the Book?  How could there be a knowledgeable prophet without all the facts?  By faith there could be.  And what if part of exhibiting faith is to seek out answers?  What if prophets and prophetesses only spoke when God said it was time?  So acting in faith, Josiah sends his faithful men to inquire of one who hears the voice of God.  Because now You, Lord, have prepared their hearts to seek You more fully.  Why Huldah, why a woman?  Was she the second best choice?  Did a man fall down from his job?

What if kings, and scribes, and priests, and prophets and prophetesses are all part of those authorities that You, Lord, place into office according to Your timing and Your power?  So what if Josiah was the man for the king job and Huldah was the “man” for the prophets job?  What if Your choice to choose a woman for Your prophet was no different than Your choice of appointing a boy king?

Josiah didn’t seem to hedge about  inquiring of You, Lord.  “Go, enquire of the LORD, for me, and for  the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” (2 Kings 22:13)  And right away, Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asahiah, all new who they must go to- Huldah the prophetess.  And they received their answer from the Lord through the mouth of a woman named Huldah.

And I just want to thank God for these men who understood about God’s authority and His authority to establish authority.  I’m grateful that Your authority is not gender specific, nor race specific.   (I say the race specific part because of Melchisadeck, because no one knows where he originated from.)  I’m grateful that You choose by Your wisdom who You appoint for every specific job.  I wonder if sometimes we miss out on the blessings we would receive from particular authorities because we refuse to acknowledge the special authority You have given them.

See, this can go both ways.  Huldah could have not recognized the authority of these men.  She could have been angry with them and ignored them if she wanted to for whatever her reasoning might lead.  These men could have frowned upon Huldah’s “womanness” and not regarded her words.  But that wasn’t the case.  There was mutual regard and respect for the people that God had designed at this specific time, on this specific day, and all their hearts were seeking the same thing, Your will.  Huldah wanted to share Your answer with them.  They valued Huldah’s gifting.

Faith, it’s all about how I respond to You.  And because it is, it matters how I respond to those that You have placed Your specific callings upon, whether they are male or female.  Because if You did it once in the Bible, well, then You set up a precedent.  Am I throwing out Your precedents with the bath water?  Or do the responses to Your God appointed authorities of old still hold true for today?  Lord, use Josiah’s story to teach me what You really want me to see.  Take me beyond the superficial, into Your heart that I might truly honor You in every aspect of my life and attitude.  May Your precedents be my precedents and may I honor and recognize those You choose to place Your anointing upon.   Why?

Because sometimes, well, a lot of the time, You choose to use “foolish” things to get Your job done.  Well, they are not really foolish, but in the eyes of the world, it looks moronic.  I mean, how could a baby save the world?  How can a cross mean life?  How can a dead man rise?  How can a boy or a 26 year old offer others older than him wisdom?  How can a woman have wisdom to offer a man?    You turn the world upside down because You don’t think like the world.  You’re God.  You think like You.  Am I ready to have my thinking and actions turned upside down by lining them up with Yours?  That’s what the crowd shouted out about the believer Jason and his “brethren.”  “These that have turned the world upside down are coming here also…” (Acts 17:6)  Because You choose the “upside down” things, the “foolish” things of the world to confound those caught up in the ways of the world instead of in Your ways.  You choose the weak, the humble things to confound the mighty ones, mighty in their own ways, but not Yours.  (1 Corinthians 1:27)

See, here’s the point.  My calling doesn’t come from me.  Josiah’s calling didn’t come from him.  Huldah’s calling didn’t come from her.  Their callings didn’t even come from other men.  It’s straight from You, Lord, designed to turn the world upside down by using the most unlikely people.  And here’s the thing about the most unlikely people, they know it’s not about them, but it’s all because of You.   The most foolish looking things that You call us to are absolutely glorious if we only humbly submit and obey.  Wisdom goes out the door if it doesn’t reflect Your “gentle humility and upside-down ways.”  I could be a scribe and know all the details, word for word, but if I don’t understand how You are weaving Your upside-down tapestry together and I can’t see that beauty of Your way and Your plan and all I can see is doctrine instead of promise and discipleship, then I’ve missed it.  And I could debate and debate and debate and be so concerned with convincing people that I totally miss out on Your desire for me to have a “deep and abiding desire for unity” in You and with my brethren.

Yes, foolish is not a light word here.  Paul and the apostles were considered as morons for what they chose to believe.  The Greek word is “moros” and it means “more than stupid.”  It’s considered as not having any idea of reality, it’s worthless.  But isn’t it something that You, Lord, chose base things, like me, like Huldah, like Josiah, like a lost book, things that are sometimes despised and frowned down upon and misunderstood by others, things that lack value in other people’s eyes, to take others eyes off of the world and the things that really don’t matter, and to put them on Your glory.  Thanks for turning the world’s values upside-down.  And thanks for continually turning my values upside-down and lining them up with Yours until every other perspective becomes foolish to me, and Yours alone only makes sense.

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