What an exciting time. In today's reading we are seeing massive reforms taking place in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel under the leadership of King Josiah. They are addressing and getting rid of all that would be a hinderance to their worshiping and following after the Lord. It is a lot like what many people in America do every spring. They clean house. Both literally and metaphorically speaking. Really taking stock of where we are in life is not something to be done annually or even bi-annually. It is something that we should be working on and taking stock of regularly.
The nations of Israel and Judah had failed to do any sort of spring cleaning in decades and their house showed it. Have you ever had guests unexpectedly drop by for some reason and your house looked as if one of two things had just happened; either you were just robbed and the thieves trashed the place looking for valuables or your kids decided to play "lets dump everything out of every drawer and box" all day? What is your first reaction? One of joy at the prospect of inviting someone into your home, or one of wishing that you could turn the lights off and pretend that no one was home.
What is funny is that until the doorbell rang you were probably mostly content with the way things were. You may noticed that you needed to clean up some things but you were not really that concerned that the house wasn't "Guest Ready". But then....the doorbell.
Or what's really funny (don't lie, I know that this has happened to ALL of you) is when you get that 15 minutes heads up phone call that someone is on their way over. It's like you turn into a cleaning super hero. I swear you can clean an entire house in 15 minutes when there's pressure but to try and do it with an entire day and no pressure is impossible.
But a lot of us take a very similar approach when it comes to our relationship with Christ. We are content to have our life be somewhat messy until the pressure gets applied and we slip into hyperdrive. We decide that maybe we should "clean house".
An amazing thing happens when we do. More often than not spring cleaning is followed by a party. When we clean our house and have company over we are relaxed and are happy that guests have arrived because we are prepared for them. I know that there have been times when we have gone to a lot of trouble to get the house all cleaned up, both inside and out in the yard, and suddenly have the urge to invite some people over for a bbq or simply to hang out and play games or something.
When we decide to "Spring Clean" our lives we may not have people over to our house literally but we usually find it simply impossible to keep quiet about what God is doing in our lives and how the cleaning up process has changed our life for the better. Likewise when Josiah gives the order in today's reading to "clean house" he doesn't go half way. The list that is given is quite lengthy and extremely comprehensive. Nothing is left to chance and nothing is allowed to stay that detracts from the worship of the Lord for the sake of other gods.
During all of this clean up the book of the law of Moses is found and is read for all the people to hear. And what happens next? You guessed it. A party. Scripture then describes a Passover celebration that is like none ever held before.
2 Chronicles 35:18-19 - 18 The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem. 19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.
The power of God's word to change lives is unparalleled. When we begin to allow God's word to wash over us and through us, cleansing us and teaching us, it is reason for us to throw a party. Because God is working new things into our lives and helping us to get rid of the old things that are keeping us from following Him. Plus, we are allowing him to help change us into the people of God that he has called us to be.
So I encourage you to take some reflective stock of where you life is right now and see if you need to do some "spring cleaning for the party."