Open Your Bible
2 Kings 22:1-20, 2 Kings 23:1-37, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13-14
Has anyone ever told you were were “too much”? I am such a shameless enthusiast that I often quietly remind myself to just calm down. Case in point: a few years ago I needed a juicer. But I couldn’t afford the one I wanted—nay, needed. Luckily I found one on Craigslist. Joy of joys! After exchanging about ten thrilling and delightful messages with the seller, out of the blue he hit me with this: “I am thinking there’s a game going on here. It would be better if you stopped emailing me, because you’re making this too hard. I won’t respond to you any more.”
I blew the deal! All my overly enthusiastic nonsense pushed him away. Yes, it’s possible he wasn’t interested in hearing what I was planning to juice and for whom. Naturally, this wasn’t enough to deter me, so I asked my husband to reach out as a totally unrelated prospective buyer. They easily arranged the sale, and as my husband paid, the juice man confided, “You wouldn’t believe the crazy people I’ve had to deal with on Craigslist over this juicer!” To which my husband shook his head, “Don’t I know it.”
Maybe I should calm down about juicing delicious fruits and vegetables and reserve my zeal for something that truly merits all my energy, but what if there were an appropriate reason to be “too much”? King Josiah would probably not be very popular today; in his day, some might have called him a fanatic. The kings of Judah before him just allowed the country to drift along in the idolatry of their neighbors. What’s more, even the kings that followed him fell back into the same pattern.
But the words of the Lord were real to Josiah, and he took them seriously. Josiah knew he had fallen deep into the idolatry of the world. The Word of God, like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), pierced Josiah with conviction and roused in him a zeal that may be foreign to many of us. Consider how fiercely and fervently he repented. If the Lord’s anger burned against it, Josiah was ready to smash it—idols, altars, towers, temples. He brought that same zeal to the whole of his kingdom, destroying every false idol and every false prophet in the land. He was a fanatic, and I think it’s safe to assume that many thought he was “too much.”
But look at the commendation he received from the Lord: “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him” (2 Kings 23:25). Do you see it? He isn’t chided for overbearing zeal or reminded to calm down. Instead, he is lauded for keeping what Christ declared the first and greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). The first and greatest commandment is the territory of all us. And is this what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength—to give all your energy to the destruction of idols and the defense of God’s words?
What if Josiah’s zeal wasn’t too much? What if it was the only right response to the conviction of God’s Word? The first and greatest commandment is the summation of the whole law of God, and it is this very commandment that Christ bids us to keep without wavering. Many of us live without much zeal, and some of us direct our zeal toward things that don’t matter. Instead, we should yield our hearts, all our enthusiasm—our heart, soul, mind, and strength—to the unchanging Word of the Lord. Go ahead and be “too much” for Him.