Matins Devotion: November 9, 2023
As my children can tell you, my greatest fear in life is not getting a terrible disease or dying alone or anything like that. No, my greatest fear is that my children will fall away from the faith. And if I’m being perfectly honest, these words from Jeremiah 22 don’t exactly give me the most comfort.
King Josiah is the greatest king in the history of the Israelite people. He institutes sweeping reforms in the land, driving out the worship of false gods and restoring worship of the true God. He is fiercely dedicated to his Lord. He is more faithful than Hezekiah, than Solomon, than even David. You could not ask for a better example, a better ruler, a better father. And yet, his sons embrace unbelief, devote themselves to idolatry, to wickedness, corruption and Satan, and thus become subject to the fierce wrath of God. This is why Jeremiah tells Shallum that God will destroy him for shedding innocent blood, for not following the ways of his father. And it’s why the prophet also tells his brother Jehoiakim that he will die to no one’s regret, like a worthless beast of burden dumped in the wilderness. It’s a terrifying thing. Josiah was a far greater man than I could ever dream to be. How can I possibly be strong enough to ensure that my children will fare any better than his?
But that’s precisely the point. If Josiah couldn’t rely on his strength to save his sons, neither can I. So I must look to the strength of Jesus Christ, as must we all. In the wilderness of Josiah’s ruin, among the bones of Shallum and Jehoiakim, the Gospel leaf of Jesus Christ appeared. From the burned over stump of Jesse, father of David, a shoot came forth. There in that wilderness of crumbled thrones and toppled kingdoms, God sent His Son, the King of Kings, to establish His eternal throne.
And that’s precisely what Jesus Christ has done. Through His death upon the cross, He destroyed the power of Satan and brought forgiveness to all who hurled themselves into the wilderness of condemnation. Through His resurrection, He brought life to the valley of the death. Lo, how a rose is now blooming, the Son of David, the Son of Josiah, the Son of God who has the strength to raise up bones in the wilderness and bring them to life, the One who has the strength to keep the fire of faith burning in the hearts of our sons when no other man could.
So confess Christ’s name to your sons and daughters. Bring them to this holy house to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Read His word to your children, your grandchildren. Do the work. Labor like Josiah. But trust in Christ, the one who loves your children even more than you do. Don’t trust in your strength. Trust in His.