The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD--to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. (2 Kings 23:3 NIV)
When Josiah heard the words read to him from the Book of the Law, he was responsive and humbled himself. He gathered the elders of Israel and the people of Jerusalem and read to them the words of the covenant. When something from God’s word has gripped our hearts we should share it with others, and not keep it to ourselves.
Then Josiah took the first step. He renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD. He didn’t miss the words “with all your heart and soul”. He was pledging himself to be the servant of God and to live in complete obedience to every requirement the LORD had given Israel. Once he did, the people followed, pledging themselves too. When someone stands up and does what is right in a world engulfed in compromise, it can have a great affect on all who see him. It touched the heart of the nation and gave them one last great revival.
It was too late to save the nation though. The sins of the kings before Josiah would have to be accounted for. There was too much evil sown in the land and in the hearts and minds of the nation. Judgement had to come as God had promised. Was the revival then in vain? Sin causes havoc in the present life and judgement in the life to come. All that turned from idolatry were spared from the consequences of the sins they would have committed. Revival is never in vain, even though judgement must still come. It gave people one more chance to turn to God before judgement arrived.
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."
Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (John 1:48,50-51 NIV)
The Apostle John gives us a description of the other apostles’ first encounters with Jesus. He describes how Philip invited Nathanael to “come and see”. Philip was already using Jesus’ words. Nathanael had a hard time believing the Messiah could come from Nazareth.
When he approached Jesus, Jesus said he was an Israelite in whom nothing false could be found. When Nathanael asked Jesus how he knew that, Jesus told him that He had seen him under the fig tree before Philip came to him. It seems that this was some kind of sign to Nathanael, because he immediately declared Jesus as the Son of God. The Holy Spirit must have revealed something to Jesus of a spiritual encounter under that fig tree. We would call it a word of knowledge, but since Jesus is one with the Spirit, it would be more than that. Jesus can use the term “I saw you”.
We sometimes wonder if God does see us in the secret place when we pour out our hearts to him. Perhaps Nathanael was asking God to give him a sign that his prayers were heard. We’ll have to wait until heaven to find out. What we can know of a certainty is, Jesus sees us there and can let us know that He does.
Jesus then told Nathanael that seeing Him there was nothing compared to what Nathanael would see in the future. He was going to see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. That is a reference to Jacob’s ladder. Jesus was saying that He is the ladder. The angels, messengers of God, go and come through Him. He is the connection between heaven and earth. The revelation of God and His work in the world comes through Jesus. The answers you are searching for come via Jesus.
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