The purification of the temple

Dietmar Joosten
We thank the Lord for all that He is doing. He shakes the strongholds of evil to the core. When I was 16 (and even before that age), I prayed and sought God’s face because I needed to know what God wanted of me. That was not the only time He spoke. I still remember where I was when I asked God that question. There are people who only hear God at certain times of their lives - when they want to. It is the most important time in your life. Seek God’s guidance regarding your life. God spoke to me in a way I least expected him to. When God takes time to speak to you, who are unworthy, it humbles you that God notices you.

Then the king sent, and all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem were gathered to him. 2 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant. 2 Kings 23:1

Josiah became king when he was 8 years old.

If God wants you to do something, do it with all your heart. Do not be discouraged by what people say. Many years ago, when I first came here, I often drove around on the farm with Rev Stegen. One day I spoke to him and said, “When I do things, different people come to give me advice and ideas. What should I do?” His response was, “Allow the birds to sing and the crows to crow. Each bird for himself, but you keep to what God has called you to.” Especially if you want to walk this way, this type of thing comes from people from whom you least expect it. Stay true to what God expects of you.

This was a difficult time for Judah and Jerusalem. There were many evil kings who had led Israel into sin. (If a nation does not bow and adhere to God’s rules, there are consequences. The leaders of nations bear great responsibility to God.) God could no longer overlook the sin of His people. God does not close an eye to evil and sin, He reacts to it. God said that He would wipe Jerusalem off the earth and turn it upside down - like you wipe a plate clean. Imagine what it must be like for the living God to do such a thing to His people? But a point is reached where such action must be taken. When Josiah died, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and took the people into exile.

Josiah was a child who went against the grain of things. Children, you are not too small to be able to make a difference for our Lord. Have you ever prayed and asked the Lord what His plan for your life is; what the calling of your life is? Josiah began to make right, to rebuild and restore what was wrong. Where did it start? When the prophet found the word of the Lord in the temple.

8And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 2 Kings 22: 8-11

This was the turning point in Josiah’s life.

If you want to get somewhere, if you want to achieve something, read God’s book and take it seriously. Josiah took the word seriously. Has God spoken to you in this past week and touched your heart? When Josiah heard the words, he tore his clothes and humbled himself before the Lord. He acted on what God had said. It took time for Josiah to do what he had to. God works through His Holy Spirit in our lives. Do you take time to be with the Lord Jesus? Josiah wept before the Lord. He cried because he saw the terrible evil that existed.

God said to him, …you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 2 Kings 22:19

God our Father responded when Josiah repented and cried for help. Josiah did not stop after reading the word. The Song of Solomon says, I sought him whom my heart loves. I came to the watchman of the wall, as I passed the wall, I found him. We need to find the Lord in His holiness and strength. You may think that everything stops with your counsellor and you have done what you had to. But God waits for you to come to Him. You know where you fall short, you know what is wrong in your life you know what you are hiding. What does God say? Can God say, “My child I have heard your cry.”

Josiah needed the high priest. The Lord said, “The day when you humbled yourself and you did not hold back anymore, when you were open with Me, I heard your cry.” No wonder God changed his life. He did not only weep. When last did you weep so that Lord could hear your prayer before Him? No wonder you are in the state you are. No wonder you run around in circles. What does God say about your life? When God starts working, He corrects you and straightens you. He builds the temple anew. He replaces what has been taken out with His furniture, if a person is serious about things. We always think of the next person and what must change in that person’s life and what God must do in that person’s life, but when last did you pray and plead with Him for yourself? Where you can explain what God has shown you and what you have been hiding in your life; where you can say that you knew it was wrong but you were afraid to bring it to the light.

The king and the people made an agreement: Lord God, we will follow You. That which You have said in your book, we will adhere to. The king approached the high priest, Hilkiah. Friends, we need the help of people in our lives. Everybody needs people in their lives, the right people. God sent someone to King David. God sends people across our paths to help us in our times of need.

I recently read a very deep word.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:9

Do you see the importance of what God said to his disciples? If you are a disciple, do you understand what your calling is? He also said:

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:23

The Lord knew that people need each other. Although Josiah was the king, he needed the high priest to help him. It is teamwork in a sense. Josiah said to the high priest, “You start at the right place.” And that place was the temple. Start there. Make right there. Hilkiah not only cleaned the temple; took out what was wrong; put it outside, but he also burned it to dust and ashes. This was the secret of Josiah’s life - that which was unholy and wrong had to be burned. He took out the idols. You know what the idols are in your life - which is why there are no rivers flowing from your life. You confess your sins but put them back into your life the very next day. The high priest said that it was not enough just to remove the idols but they should be burned. (We sometimes have fire services here at the mission, where things that people want to part from, are burned.) The high priest dealt a death blow to these things. He took the ashes to Bethel, which is where the idolatry started. Do a complete work, no matter the difficulty. Go through with that thing, take it back where it belongs.

People often fail in things pertaining to them personally – to you. When someone tries to help you, you get hurt or offended and you do not like to be disciplined. ‘People do not respect me, they do not understand me, it is my work,’ you say. Such an attitude has deep roots. Go to Bethel and destroy the things in your life that are ungodly so that such things never happen again. If someone corrects you, you are so sensitive. There are things in your life that are wrong. Allow God to crush that thing in your life to dust. If not, you are fighting against God. You only see the human being who comes to help you. You withdraw and do not like it. You must go through with it. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Let God’s foot crush that thing to bits and pieces. Let that thing return to where it belongs – hell, otherwise you will go to hell. Allow God to sort that thing out. How else will God deal with it? He will deal with those things in your life through people who you feel are unrealistic and they make you bow.

Where are your friends today - those whom you say were so understanding of you? God may have told you a long time ago to leave those people, they are not a blessing, but you do not want to. You harden your heart. When things are done you are the first to point a finger. Josiah could have got angry, “Why this now? I’m still so young. This seems so impossible.” They do not understand, I still want to be friends with them, I still need that contact with them, but they are on the wrong path. No wonder your life is wrong. Whenever anything small happens in the bush, the classroom, the factory or wherever, you get angry - it is because there are idols in your life. God has said, “Take these things out. I don’t want them in your life.” You always have an excuse as to why they should still be there. “I love my child. I must pray for him/her. I’m the grandmother, the mother.” God does not take notice of that.

Have you separated yourself from your old friends with whom you stole? Have you returned the goods you stole? If you lived an immoral life, have you cleaned that out? No wonder you always go back to it. There is a rope in your life that is always pulling you back. Have you burned that connection to your past? Have you completely separated from things? This text is an example of the way we should deal with things.

Let me tell you about my grandfather. We loved my grandfather. He loved the Lord and I got his Bible. As I look through it, I see how he studied the Bible and told others what the Lord had said to him. When last have you told someone about what the Lord has said to you? God looks for people who are alive and have the fire of God in their lives. My grandfather loved his pipe until God convicted him of it. He buried the pipe in the garden. He told the church what he had done. But then he had such a craving for his pipe. A struggle started in his heart. Must I, mustn’t I? Later it got too much, so he dug up the pipe, cleaned it and smoked it again. Imagine how he felt. He asked himself, “If God has set me free, how can I possibly go back to these things?” He threw the pipe into the drop toilet. He never smoked again.

This is what the Lord wants to do for us. If we are not completely resolute and ask the Lord for help, we will always fall and we never know when we will get up again.

My grandfather overcame in all honesty. God’s grace was sufficient for him. Sometime after that he came to the mission and he planted 5 trees as a witness that he would never return to that life again. He asked Rev Stegen to be the witness as he planted the trees. 5 symbolises grace. There is that grace, that witness that I have changed, and I will never return to that thing again. The devil is a roaring lion. He seeks and finds people who have not separated from their sin. The high priest demonstrates the importance of cleansing and purifying. This principle can never be changed. If you want to change it, then you must change the Bible. God is holy and that will never change. When you purify yourself, God can give you His best.

You cannot separate from porn, satanism and immorality - especially immorality. There are things you do which you feel that you cannot live without. With this in your life you open the door for the devil to invade and destroy you. There are so many people who are caught up in the net of lust, immorality, evil eyes. Through this you open the door for something you never expected would happen to you. Even married couple watch and listen and allow this evil into their lives and do things human beings should never do. That is why you do not grow and make progress spiritually. Disunity and fighting develop. Why? The devil has got in. If you do not burn this in your life, the thing will come back and it will be more evil.

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45

Jesus warns us in Matthew 12 that if we have been delivered by Jesus, but still allow things that are not right in our lives, things will worsen. How can you bring in other furniture if you have not destroyed that which is wrong? When you have done what you had to do by bringing it to the Lord’s blood, the Lord can start working and put His things into your life. If the spirits see that the house is empty, they return more forcefully. God’s utensils must be restored to their rightful places, then the temple will become what it should be. Then you can ask the Lord for His armour to protect your life. The Lord will fill your heart with that love, that patience, that joy.

When we were young, the Lord kept us busy with His things. You privileged to be here. What can’t you do for the Lord? Let His grace grow in your heart. The Lord is jealous of His temple. It belongs to Him. When He was on earth, He once dealt with the temple. He was drastic. He whipped and chased out. He said, “My house is a house of prayer but you have made it into a den of thieves.” How often do you pray? No wonder the devil’s things enter your heart. If you serve the Lord, things of God will grow stronger in your life and make a difference. Do not be lazy. Do not doubt. If God puts something on your heart, share it with the high priest. This is how you grow in grace. As important as it is to clean God’s house, it is just as important that He puts His furniture in your house.

Josiah and Hilkiah broke down everything that should have been broken down. It could never be rebuilt. The people had defiled the altar with the idol customs. Josiah said to the high priest, “Let’s celebrate the Passover as it was said in God’s word.”

22 For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. 2 Kings 23:22

This Passover is the remembrance of the death of Christ. He cleanses and His power breaks the bonds of evil. How will God help you if you still have your pipe in your pocket? You know it is there. Get rid of it. Decide. Take it to where it belongs. Separate from it. We think of Christ who spilled His blood to save us from bondage. God never makes a mistake. Now God said, “Keep the Passover going, keep things going in your life. Keeping your life clean is very important. This will help you never to look at porn again. There is no excuse. Christ came to break, restore and build up. Allow Him to rebuild your life.

In Germany in 950 AD people lived like the people in Africa. God sent a missionary to them - Landorf. Two missionaries had gone to preach to them before, but they were quickly killed. God sent another one - Landorf - who stayed with a man who was a judge. He had many days where he was able to speak to him about the gospel. Then Landorf eventually asked if he could speak to the leading men in the area, because he wanted to preach the gospel. They agreed.

Landorf witnessed many things. There was an altar made of stones. He witnessed how people were slaughtered and cruelty reigned. Their idols were Waldo and Thor. They slaughtered people like goats, and they were thrown into the river. He saw men who were stone drunk. They fought and killed. The dead people were burned. Such is the life of a nation that does not serve the living God. If you do not serve God, you will end up killing people like flies. You will do things you do never imagined were possible to do.

Landorf then spoke to the leaders. He didn’t know whether he would be killed. He told them that if they killed him, God’s curse would come upon them. If people are hard, you need hard words. He spoke the truth. They accepted him. They said you can live and preach here. The judge and Landorf went home. On the way they passed the altar where people were slaughtered. This was a ritual in the lives of these people. They worshipped the evil spirits at this place. At that spot, he told the judge, “This is where I will build the first church.” They threw the stones into the river. The judge said, “When you have finished building the church, I will be the first one to be baptised.” Where the devil was strong, God was almighty. God replaced those stones with a church. Never again did they return there to worship the ancestors. God made a way out. They took the old away, and he built a church on the place where God was victorious over evil.

Let us allow God to build something new where the devil was almighty - even if it seems that He crushes you to dust. Do not resist. God knows what He is doing. He wants to build His church in your life but He does not want that hard head of yours. He does not need your strong will. He wants to build His temple. Allow Him. You will be surprised at what He does in your life. Start doing it. Let His fire burn to ashes what is wrong. Let Him work in the temple. Your life should change and be different. Your parents should see the difference. When are busy in the temple, go from one room to the other – the music, the clothing, the cell phone; go through your house to see what God does not want. Remove it. Do not feel sorry and say it was expensive, how will I do without it? If God leads and guides you, go to the priest and tell him. Ask if you are not sure - there is a blessing in it. Remember what you loosen on earth, will be loosened in heaven. This is the nice thing about working with God’s children. What does God want of your life, young people? Pray. God will answer your prayer. See what God can do through one person. Josiah was one king, one person. He changed the whole situation.

Conclusion Albu van Eeden
If porn is the idol in your life, it will carry sex into every situation here on earth. In the most holy situation, the most innocent - porn will bring sex into it. The sex demon will enter every relationship, every situation, at work, in your church, in your mind. If that is what is happening, you are a slave to the idol of porn. If you struggle with dirty thoughts in church, you are a slave to the idol of porn.

What is the answer? We have just heard, deal with this demon of porn and sex, and if necessary, get rid of the cell phone with which you serve this idol. Yes, it is like losing your right hand. Jesus said cut off your right hand if it causes you to stumble. If you do so, the opposite will start happening. In filthy situations, God will put holy thoughts into your mind. You may see dirty things displayed yet God’s holiness will flood your mind and you will not be affected. Instead of carrying this evil into normal situations, God’s word will carry holy thoughts into every situation in your life and your heart will become holy - the temple where God stays - over which the angels can fly and shout, “Holy, holy, holy.” Allow God to do this. This was the appeal of today’s message.