June 15: Encouragement and Positivity
2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23; 1 John 2:28–3:4; Psalm 105:23–45
If we were to make encouragement one of our main strategies, we’d see positive results in most situations. If we made providing for others one of our goals, the world would be a kinder place. King Josiah epitomizes both of these attributes in 2 Chr 35:1–19.
Josiah’s actions mark not only a remarkable transition from being unfamiliar with God’s Word to living it out (2 Chr 34:8–33), but also a move from religiosity to compassion. Josiah could have coldly observed the Passover out of ritual, but instead he encourages the religious leaders and empowers them to do God’s work. His encouragement changes the outcome: The religious leaders embrace their task.
Josiah also provides for them, allowing them to make the necessary changes. He frees them up from their usual obligations so that they may help others (2 Chr 35:3); he takes care of their fiscal needs (2 Chr 35:7). His example inspires others to give as well (2 Chr 35:8–9).
As a result of Josiah’s actions, we see God’s work being done: “So all the service of Yahweh was prepared on that day to keep the Passover and to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar of Yahweh, according to the command of King Josiah” (2 Chr 35:16).
Our actions can either inspire others or discourage them. If we’re willing to develop a character of giving and encouragement—focusing on the positive rather than the negative—we’re more likely to be successful in carrying out God’s work.
How can you encourage someone to follow God’s path for his or her life? How can you provide for someone today?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Moreover, Josiah kept a Passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem, and they slew the Passover in the fourteenth day of the first month. And he appointed the Priests to their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord, And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel and were sanctified unto the Lord, Put the holy Ark in the house which Solomon the son of David King of Israel did build: it shall be no more a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the Lord your God, and his people Israel, And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers according to your courses, as David the king of Israel hath written, and according to the writing of Solomon his son, And stand in the Sanctuary according to the division of the families of your brethren the children of the people, and after the division of the family of the Levites: So kill the Passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses. Josiah also gave to the people sheep, lambs and kids, all for the Priests and to the Levites: Hilkiah, and Zechariah, and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God gave unto the Priests for the Passover, even two thousand and six hundred sheep, and three hundred bullocks. Conaniah also and Shemaiah and Nethanel his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel, and jozabad, chief of the Levites gave unto the Levites for the Passover, five thousand sheep, and five hundred bullocks. Thus the service was prepared, and the Priests, stood in their places, also the Levites in their orders, according to the king’s commandment: And they slew the Passover, and the Priests sprinkled the blood with their hands, and the Levites flayed them. And they took away from the burnt offering to give it according to the divisions of the families of the children of the people, to offer unto the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses, and so of the bullocks. And they roasted the Passover with fire, according to the custom, but the sancitifed things they sod in pots, pans, and cauldrons, and distributed them quickly to all the people. Afterward also they prepared for themseles and for the Priests: for the Priests the sons of Aaron were occupied in offering of burnt offerings, and the fat unti lnight: therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the Priests the sons of Aaron. And the singers the sons of Asaph stood in their standing according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s Seer: and the porters at every gate, who mighty not depart from their service: therefore their brethren the Levites prepared for them. So all the service of the Lord was prepared the same day to keep the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of King Josiah. And the children of Israel that were present, kept the Passover the same time, and the feast of the unleavened bread seven days. And there was no Passover kept like that in Israal, from the days of Samuel the Prophet: neither did all the kings of Israel keep the Passover as Josiah kept, and the Priests and the Levites, and all Judah, and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This Passover was kept in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the Temple Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Perath and Josiah went out against him. But he sent messengers to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house of mine enemy, and God commanded me to make haste: leave off to come against God, which is with me, lest he destroy thee. But Josiah would not turn his face from him, but changed his apparel to fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho, which were of the mouth of God, but came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the shooters shot at king Josiah: then the king said to his servants, Carry me away, for I am very sick. So his servants took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot which he had, and when they had brought him to Jerusalem, he died, and was buried in the sepulchers of his fathers: and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented Josiah, and all singing men and singing women mourned for Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and make the same fo ran ordinance unto Israel: and behold, they be written in the Lamentations. Concerning the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, doing as it is written in the Law of the Lord. And his deeds first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the Kings of Israel, and Judah. Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him King in his father’s stead in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was three and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem: and Necho took the Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. jehoiakim was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, and did evil in the sight of hte Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, and bound him with chains to carry him to Babel. Concerning the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found upon him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and did evil in the sight of the Lord. And when the year was out, king Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babel, with the precious vessel of the house of the Lord, and he made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the Prophet at the commandment of the Lord. But he rebelled moreover against Nebuchadnezzar, which had caused him to swear by God: and he hardened his neck an dmade his heart obstinate, that he mighty not return to the Lord God of Israel. All the chief of the Priests also and of the people trespassed wonderfully, according to all the aboinations of the heathen, and polluted the houses of the Lord which he had sanctified in Jerusalem. Therefore the Lrod God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising early and sending: for he had compassion on his people, and on his habitation. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his Prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose agaisnt his people, and till there was no remedy. For he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young en with the sword in the house of their Sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor virgin, ancient, nor aged. God gave all into his hand, And all the vessels of the house of God great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes: all these carried he to Babel. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and all the precious vessels thereof, to destroy all. And they that were left by the sword, carried he away to Babel, and tehy were servants to him, and to his sons, until the kingdom of the Persians had rule, To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until teh land had her fill of her Sabbaths: for all the days that she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. But in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (when the word of the Lord, spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, was finished) the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he made a proclamation through all his kingdom, and also by writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me, and hath commanded me to build him an house in Jerusalem, that is in Judah. Who is among you of all his people, with whom the Lord his God is? let him go up. 2 Chronicles 35:1–36:23
- And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, we may be bold, and not be ashamed before him, at his coming. IF ye know that he is righteous, know ye that he which doeth righteously, is born of him. Behold, what love the Father hath given to us, that we should be called the sons of God: For this cause this world knoweth you not, because it knoweth not him. Dearly beloved, now are we the sons of God, but yet it is not made manifest what we shall be: and we know that when he shall be made manifest: we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purgeth himself, even as he is pure. Whososever commiteth sin, transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the Law. 1 John 2:28–3:4
- Then Israel came to Egypt, and Jacob was a stranger in the land of Ham. And he increased his people exceedingly, and made them stronger than their oppressors. He turned thier heart to hate his people, and to deal craftily with his servants. Then sent he Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen. They showed among them the message of his signs, and wondered in the land of Ham. He sent darkness, and made it dark: and they were not disobedient unto his commission. He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish. Their land brought forth frogs, even in their King’s chambers. He spake, and there came swarms of flies and lice in all quarters. He gave them hail for rain, and flames of fire in their land. He smote their vines also and their fig trees, and brake down the trees in their coasts. He spake and the grasshoppers came, and caterpillars innumerable, And did eat up all the grass in their and, and devoured the fruit of their ground. He smote also all the firstborn in their land, even the beginning of all their strength. He brought them forth also with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among their tribes. Egypt was glad at their departing: for the fear of them had fallen upon them. He spread a cloud to be a covering, and fire to give light in the night. They asked, and he brought qualis, and he filled them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and the waters flowed out, and ran in the dry places like a river. For he remembered his holy promise to Abraham his servant, And he brought forth his people with joy, andhis chosen with gladness, And gave them the lands of the heathen, and they took the labors of the people in possession, That they might keep his statutes, and observe his Laws. Praise ye the Lord. Psalm 105:23–45