In the Old Testament we read about the series of kings who ruled over Israel, each one getting progressively worse as they did "what was evil in the sight of the Lord." These were not nomads. These were not uneducated people. These were the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel.
So what was the problem?
It can be narrowed down to one single thing. Bible literacy. Although they were religious in that they made sacrifices, worshiped idols and had a "form" of religion, they were not following or obeying God.
God had clearly defined for them in Leviticus 26 how they were to live. He outlined the many ways He would bless them IF they would follow Him and obey His commands. He also spelled out for them how things would go if they did NOT follow and obey Him.
However, the children of Israel chose not to follow God and with each successive generation, the Word of God was not passed down. God had commanded that it be read before the people every 7 years, but it had been a long time since that had happened.
But I bet if you had stopped the average Israelite on the street, he would have told you that he was a follower, that he was, indeed, religious. Yet, if you had asked him what the Word of the Lord was about a specific issue, he would not have had a clue.
I know lots of people like that. Many of them call themselves Christians. They believe in God. They are not opposed to the Bible. In fact they probably have a couple laying around the house somewhere. Not that they have opened it recently, but it is there. You could ask them "Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God" and they would not hesitate to say Yes. You could ask "Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" and again the answer would be Yes.
But you wouldn't have to track very far down that line of questioning, getting more and more specific, til you would have soon have them squirming. Why? Bible literacy.
After a number of kings passed through the nation of Israel, one came on the scene who was vastly different. Shockingly, he was only 8 years old when he became king!! II Chronicles 34:2 says Josiah "did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of his ancestor, David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left."
You see when Josiah was 16 he "began to seek the God of his ancestor David" and when he was 20 he began to cleanse the land of all the idols, high places and images that previous generations had erected. A few years later while they were cleaning out the Temple to rebuild it, an amazing discovery was uncovered. The book of the Law!!! As it was read to Josiah for the first time in his life, he tore his clothes in grief as he realized how they had failed to keep the Law of God.
I couldn't help wonder as I read these passages this week, What is it going to take to wake people in America up?! What will it take to turn people I know and love BACK to God, back to His Word?
God gave us His word so that it could be a "lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path". Yet many have chosen to walk in the darkness, blind to all that God had planned for them if they had just followed Him. The really sad thing is that they do not realize that they are blind. They think they are just fine.
1 day ago