This week’s lesson – Josiah’s Reforms

“Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him” (2 Kings 23:25, NKJV).

As the lesson stated, the depth of corruption that had befallen Israel can be seen in the kind of reforms that Josiah had to undertake. How, though, could the nation have fallen so far? In one sense, the answer is easy: it’s because humanity has fallen so far. Just how far humanity has degraded was revealed in a famous experiment conducted at Yale University in the 1960s.

Participants were brought in arbitrarily through newspaper ads and told that they were to administer electric shocks to people tied down to chairs in another room. The switches that administered the shocks were marked from Slight Shock to Danger: Severe Shock,including two more ominously marked XXX. Participants were told to administer the shocks according to the orders of the scientist leading the experiment. As they did, the participants would hear the people in the other room scream and plead for mercy. In reality, the people in the other room were just acting: they were not getting shocked at all. The point of the study was to see how far thesenormal participants would go in inflicting what they thought was pain on those whom they didn’t know, simply because they had been ordered to do it. The results were frightening. Though many participants got anxious, distraught, and even angry, that didn’t stop a stunning 65 percent from administering the severest shocks to these people, believing that they were truly hurting them. Ordinary people, wrote the scientist who conducted the experiment, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. How many ordinary people have done terrible things through history, or even today? Too many have, for sure. Why? Christians know the answer. We are sinners, plain and simple.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. — 1 Co 13:13