A long time ago, in a land not so far away, a young boy grew in the kingdom of his grandfather, the rightful heir to a rich and prosperous throne. His grandfather, while mighty and blessed, was a cruel and wicked man. Though his father had served the one, true God of the land, the boy's grandfather built altars to foreign gods on the country hills.
He bowed down before the creatures and creations of heaven and worshiped them. In the house of the one, true God, he placed altars to demons, and a pole to worship. The rich and powerful ruler brought to his court the priests of demons–fortune-tellers, psychics, and sorcerers to speak to the dead. He held séances, and set fire to his sons in honor of the demons he served.
The one, true God was angry, and He handed the dictator over to his enemies to be tortured and humiliated. The wicked ruler cried out to God, repenting of his wicked sins, and the one, true God restored the king to his kingdom.
The boy was six years old when his grandfather died, and his father–who had escaped the fires of the demons–began to rule in the kingdom as king. The boy's father was wicked, and did not heed the lessons of his own life. He sacrificed to the demons his father had served, and lived wickedly, without shame. The boy was eight when the kingdom's servants rose in rebellion and killed his father, the king.
The boy loved the one, true God, and he was a good king, though he knew little of the one, true God's ways. He worked to restore the house of his God, pouring time and money into the neglected structure. When he was no longer a boy, but a young man of 26, the high priest of the one, true God discovered the Book of the Law, lost in the temple. He sent it to the king, to be read by the king's secretary.
The king wept, and tore his clothes as he heard the words of the one, true God, and recognized the depth of his sin, and of the sin of his people. He sought the help and advice of a servant of the one true God, then gathered to him, at the house of the Lord, all of the people of his land, young and old, mighty and humble.
And the king himself read the words of the Book of the Law, calling all of his people to obey the one, true God. He banished the priests of the demons, and cleaned the temple of all unholy implements. Throughout the land, he destroyed the places of demon worship and forbid the burning of children, and outlawed the worship of the sun, moon, and stars.*
Recently, in a land very nearby, the Book of the one, true God sat on the shelves, counters, and tables of nearly every home in the kingdom. Young and old, mighty and humble, the people all had access to the Book. They passed the Book by, leaving it to collect dust and scorn, speaking of its words without actually reading them. On the giant boxes on the walls of each home played the moving pictures of worship to demons, to the sun, moon, and stars, to the dead, and to foreign gods. The people no longer burned their children on the hills in the country, but dismembered them in sterile clinics of the cities.
But, there was a remnant. And the remnant faithfully opened the Book, reading it to their children, who would one day soon inherit the land. These children understood the message of the Book, and knew the one, true God through His Word. Many turned from their sins and wept, as the boy king did before them. Their parents were strange, cleansing their homes of worship to demons, and setting aside time for the Book in honor of the one, true God. In those homes, in this land, the Book does not lie idle. The Book instructs, rebukes, corrects, and trains. The parents of those homes love the one, true God, they love His Word, and they love their children.
The story has not ended, but the Book tells us of the end. The remnant is preserved, and the one, true God is one day glorified and worshiped by all.**
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NIV)
Scripture References: *2 Kings 21-23, 2 Chronicles 33-35, **Isaiah 45:23
Image: Reading Boy, 1863, Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), Public Domain