A blog by Josh Humbert
Have you ever lost something precious without knowing at the time of loss just how precious it was to you?
Perhaps what you didn’t value highly at the time comes to be revealed as costly and prized in it’s absence. Have you ever known a loss like that?
This is not a flippant or light question. Sometimes, with the passage of time, a loss that once looked inconsequential ends up feeling weighty far beyond what you ever expected. So, have you known loss like that?
And if you have, is there anything you can do about it now?
The Young King
There is the true story of a young boy who becomes King at a very young age. His name is Josiah. And while many young men would celebrate coming into such power, this boy comes into a horrific situation.
His people have fallen away from God and into all types of wickedness and waywardness. His people have rushed down a path of sure destruction with no restraint. And the worst part about it all: the single, most important thing for this King and his people has been lost.
What they cast aside carelessly is the one item they need more than ever, and it’s literally nowhere to be found.
The Young Doctor
There is the true story of a young man who leaves his home to attend college and study medicine. His name is William. His mother uses the small amount of money she has to purchase a Bible for William as he leaves home. She writes his name in it and notes the verses she hopes he will read.
William falls away from God and into the black pit of alcohol. During his darkest days, just to be able to afford more whiskey, William carelessly pawns the Bible his mother gifted to him.
As he takes the money from the sale of his Bible, William downs yet another drink of whiskey, while the fiery liquid only serves to harden his heart even more. He goes on to wander far from God and eventually even become president of a society of atheists in his city.
The Dying Man’s Book
There is the true story of the man who was taken to the hospital with a terminal illness. His name is lost to history, but William was his doctor.
As this man was nearing his last days, he cried out to the nurses, “Bring me the book! Bring me the book!” The heartfelt nature of the man’s cry seemed to strike a faint chord in William’s heart.
It wasn’t many days later when the man did die. But right there with him in bed was the Book he had asked for. William’s curiosity was piqued and he had to go investigate, “What kind of book would be of such enormous importance to a dying man? How did this book bring him such peace in his final hours?”
What William discovered about this book would prove to be the single most pivotal moment of his entire life. The dying man’s book was a Bible. Not just any Bible…no, William looked on in total astonishment and recognized it right away. The dying man’s “Book” was the Bible William’s mother had given to him all those years ago.
The same Bible she had worked so hard to purchase…the same Bible he had so thoughtlessly pawned off for his whiskey…this was the same Bible the dying man had cherished so much as his life was ending.
William took the Bible quickly back to his office and shut the door. For many hours, he sat there alone with the Bible. Silent. Flipping through it’s pages. Reading the passages his mother had marked out for her son.
What he once thought as useless or needless…he now realized was of the greatest importance.
The Dying Kingdom’s Book
As Josiah watched his people grow more and more callous toward God and deeper into the trap of sin, perhaps he wondered if there was anything that could be done.
One day a priest comes running into King Josiah’s courts with this most unexpected discovery: “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.”
The Word of God…the holy Scriptures…the Bible had been found! The single most important thing for this King and his people had been found.
The priests read the Scriptures to Josiah and as he hears the words, his heart crashes into thousands of pieces. The God who loved them, cared for them, and provided for them had given clear ways to live and Josiah knew these people were living in outright rebellion against Him. Josiah realized they were all on a sure path to destruction unless they could rediscover this Book.
What they once thought as useless or needless was of the greatest importance now.
The Revival of A Nation
Josiah gathers all the people, “both small and great” and he read in their hearing all the words of the Book. Perhaps there were many who shed tears of regret and shame over their sin. Perhaps the painful error of their ways led many to fall to their knees. Whatever the posture, we know the people responded to this Book.
Josiah stood with all his people after reading the Book and he made a covenant with the Lord to repent from all sin and to walk in the ways of His Word. This wasn’t about behavior modification or rule-following. It was a heart-decision. This was about living a life of worship to the One True God and not all the false gods of the people. Josiah’s covenant was about a revival of love and obedience toward God. The words of Scripture capture the moment so beautifully: “And all the people entered the covenant.”
There were tears and mourning and regret…but there is agreement to change directions. Repentance. A new way built on the Word. The way of LIFE and JOY.
This is what revival looks like.
Josiah and the people would go on to remove the old ways and repent well. They would earnestly seek out God and observe His Word.
The Revival of A Man
William emerged from his office a different man. His whole life was changing at this very moment. He had spent years getting his medical training, and he was about to give it all up. The man who ran from God and become a proud atheist could run no more. The truth and realness of God was in his face.
The rediscovery of the Book led to regret and repentance. The words of Scripture he read now became a fire burning away all the lies he believed and claimed. This consuming fire brought him to his knees. He confessed his sins and gave his life to Christ. This wasn’t about behavior modification or rule following. It was a heart decision. This was about living a life of worship to the One True God and not the false gods of alcohol and atheism.
And the song he composed about this personal revival capture the moment so beautifully:
We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.
All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.
All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.
This is what revival sounds like.
William would go on to leave the medical profession and become a pastor and songwriter. He repented well and lived a life of worship and service to God.
The Beauty and Expense
Have you ever lost something precious without knowing at the time of loss just how precious it was to you? Have you known loss like that?
And if you have, is there anything you can do about it now? Josiah and William came to prize their most unlikely recoveries of God’s Word. Yes, their was loss and regret and wasted years behind them…but they COULD do something about the future with God’s Word back in their hands. For these two men, there was beauty and an expense in their recovery.
William realized the wonderful providence of God and His loving pursuit that was so evident in bringing that Bible back to him. Even though he claimed to not even believe in God’s existence and callously sold his Bible for beer money, God wasn’t done with him. William beheld the unfailing, beautiful love of God as he held that old, worn Bible in his hands once more.
Josiah, his priests, and his people realized the wonderful providence of God and His loving pursuit that was so evident in letting them rediscover the Scriptures they had hidden away. Even though they ran to false gods and all forms of evil, God wasn’t done with them. In their tearful agreement to enter a covenant together, they displayed the beauty of Godly recovery as a community.
Perhaps it is good for you to realize the loving pursuit of God to even guide you to read these words right now? It may well be a small place to start…but He can work with that. He sees you and He is pursuing you.
For Josiah and William, their recoveries also came with a cost.
William left a lucrative medical career in one of the top hospitals in his country to become a pastor. Josiah and all his people faced the hard road of destroying the idols they once worshipped. Repentance…true repentance…will begin with the beauty of God and it always involves death; the death of old plans and old ways that do not honor Him.
However, it’s all worth it! For when the precious Word is recovered, real revival blazes forth in the hearts of men and women of God.
If you are far from God or just straight up running the other way…I pray you will recover His Word. I pray you will experience the beauty and expense of recovering real life.
I leave you with more words from William. May this be the honest plea of our hearts toward our God:
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
As always, thank you for reading. Any comments or thoughts you have would be welcomed.