The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. (2 Kings 23:15)
Relate: Jeroboam son of Nebat was the first king of a divided Israel. Depending on who is counting he began his reign either in 931 or 922 BCE. One of the first things he did was set up two false idols to the true God so that the rebellious people would not go to the true Temple to worship. He tried to re-image God to fit his political purposes. Almost immediately a prophet from the faithful tribe of Judah came to this shrine and made this prophesy: “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests from the pagan shrines who come here to burn incense, and human bones will be burned on you.” (1 Kings 13:2)
Josiah became king of Judah at the ripe old age of eight in the year 641 BCE. When he was 26 he ordered that the Temple be restored and while they were doing so, the repairmen found a copy of all or part of Deuteronomy. The king and priests realized that they had been doing it wrong and thus began a series of reforms. As part of this reformation Josiah headed north and destroyed the altar that had been the national worship center for the now extinct nation of Israel.
300 years after the prophesy was first given, it was fulfilled. Frederick William the first began his reign in Prussia in February three hundred years ago. Imagine a man giving him a prophesy about you, by name, in April of that year. Think of all that has transpired from that day to this. In both cases, world changing wars had been fought in and around its borders. Culture shaping words and events that altered the course of history had transpired in its vicinity. And through it all, though seemingly delayed, God’s word remained true.
React: Three hundred years is a short time for God’s redemptive work. All the way back to Adam and Eve God had made a promise of Jesus’ coming. Jesus Himself prayed for “those that were far off” who would come to know Him. Right before the cross, He was praying for me. Was He praying for you?
There are scars, sins, failures that can take us off course for decades. There might be something done or said to us in our childhood that shook us like a train wreck. There might be sins in our past that sent us down a road of addiction we have been stuck in most of our life. There might be relationships damaged, bridges burned that are decades beyond a reasonable point of restoration. Don’t give up. Don’t stop fighting. God is still at work, and He has had the end in sight ever since the beginning.
God, You are great. You are faithful. You are always right on time. The sin, the failures, the injustice I see have been here for years. It is so easy to begin to doubt that You will ever redeem. It is easy to begin to doubt that You will ever act. It is so easy to begin to doubt that You will ever return. But You are faithful. When You come, when You restore the broken parts in my life and the broken systems in my world all will see and know that You are, and always have been, in control.