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Tuesday, February 23, 2016
"Josiah For President"
Message Summary: Our land certainly needs to be healed. Based on the current trajectory that we are headed we wonder how much longer will judgment be withheld. "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2). We rightly recognize the importance of leadership but many it seems, place an undue expectation of what leadership can do. Some have a Messiah-like expectation of our political leaders. But what if we did have a leader like Josiah in the Bible?
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"Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left" (2 Kings 22:1,2).
"Josiah For President" is a musical about an Amish man who runs for president. It will be playing here in Lancaster County this summer, as well as Shipshewana, Indiana and Sugarcreek, Ohio. We plan to see it when it opens. The summarized plot is:
"When former Congressman Mark Stedman throws in the towel on his presidential campaign, his only choice is to return to his home state and decide how to spend the rest of his life ... until he meets Josiah Stoltzfus, an Amish farmer from Pennsylvania. Stedman learns more from Josiah in a few hours than in his many years in office. He comes to the conclusion that someone like Josiah should be running the country. Not a career politician, but someone with a little old-fashioned common sense, someone who’s not afraid of rolling up his sleeves and getting his hands dirty. Someone like Josiah Stoltzfus."
We still have over eight months of politicking until the presidential election in November. I sure long for someone to be president like a Josiah Stoltzfus and many other level-headed, common-sense, no-nonsense practical people I regularly interface with. That may be a farmer or small businessman. The other day I was talking about this to a long-time friend and expressing my dismay at the condition of our country and appealed for him to consider running! Now he wouldn't be considered "qualified" since he lacks formal education, let alone, from the elite institutions where the experts insist our leadership must come from.* He would certainly not be considered well-connected. He's just a hard-working, faithful, steady family man who is seeking to live his life responsibly and in obedience to God. You surely know people like this wherever you live.
Here in Lancaster County the surname Stoltzfus is very common, especially among the Amish. In our neighrhood we buy plants from Elam and Naomi Stoltzfus who run a greenhouse on Donegal Springs Road. We have friends who are descendants of the original Stolzfus's who settled in America. In regard to given names the Amish often name their children after Biblical characters such as boys named Eli, Moses, and Malachi and girls named Naomi, Anna and Sarah. However I don't recall ever meeting an Amish named Josiah. But I called our Amish friends and they do know several with that name.
The musical was written by Martha Bolton, a Christian comedy writer. We've used her materials in former churches where we pastored. I don't know whether the intent was merely to use an Amish-sounding name or if any special consideration was given to the most famous Josiah in the Bible.
There are at least two Josiah's in the Bible but the most famous was a good king who lived shortly before the exile and oversaw a short but significant period of revival and reform. He became king when he was just 8 years old! The Scriptural record sums up his life with this acclamation, "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left."
Slightly modified that's a good standard for all of us. "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his heavenly Father, not turning aside to the right or to the left."
We sure need someone like this Josiah, although under our present conditions, he would never get elected unless there was an accompanying national revival. And can you imagine the bickering if he was elected and commenced to bring reforms back to our Judeo-Christian heritage!!!
In studying for today's message, I came across a very thoughtful blog article by writer Joel Rosenberg titled, "America needs a Josiah."
Rosenberg writes, "Choosing the right leader is not an easy process, but it is vitally important. America is on the wrong track, going in the wrong direction. We are heading steadily—perhaps rapidly—towards implosion. We’ve murdered 57 million babies. We have five Justices on the Supreme Court who have decided that the Bible is wrong and they know better than God what the definition of marriage should be. We have taken on $18 trillion in debt and we’re taking on more and more debt with no end in sight. We are surrendering to Russia, Iran and ISIS. Our tax code is corruptingly complex and killing jobs and opportunity. We can’t — or won’t — control our sovereign borders. Our schools are a mess. Violence, drugs and pornography are epidemic. Sadly, the list goes on and on.
So who can get us turned around and heading in the right direction? I’ve been praying about this and studying the Scriptures for many months, asking the Lord for clarity, and here is what I have concluded. America needs a Josiah."
Rosenberg goes on to provide an exhaustive study of Josiah's background, reforms and the parallels and non-parallels to our situation in America (Link to article below which we encourage our readers to examine). He wisely points out that "the role of president isn’t the same in the U.S. as the role of king was in the days of Judah."
Our land certainly needs to be healed. Based on the current trajectory that we are headed we wonder how much longer will judgment be withheld. "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2). We rightly recognize the importance of leadership but many it seems, place an undue expectation of what leadership can do. Some have a Messiah-like expectation of our political leaders.
While it is proper to pray for our country (wherever we may live) we must realize where our ultimate citizenship is along with the frank assessment of Scripture that kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall.
Make the prayer of Daniel in our daily prayer your own as we bow in awe of the power of God and give proper honor to our eternal God whose kingdom never ends.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, You have made known to me what we asked of You” (Daniel 2:20-23).
* It seems to me that in regard to politics and social sciences the degree of common sense and level headedness is inversely proportional to the degree an institution is considered prestigious and elite.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Heal Our Land" Video Michael Card
"Heal Our Land" Video Randy Rothwell
"Heal Our Land" Video Planetshakers
"America Needs A Josiah" Article Joel Rosenberg
Information about the musical "Josiah For President"
"Interview with Josiah" Video
"Josiah For President" campaign ad video
"Stand With Josiah for President! campaign ad video
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