Men of the Bible Series - Josiah (II Kings 22:1-2)
II Kings 22:1-2, “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.”
The world has seen some very young monarchs. King Henry VI became king of England when he was only 8 months old. Alfonso XIII of Spain and John I of France both became kings on the day they were born. Josiah became king of Judah when he was just eight years old (II Chronicles 34:1). The events in the life of King Josiah can be seen in II Kings 22-23; II Chronicles 34-35. Josiah lived in wicked times. He had every excuse for not living for the Lord. When he came to the throne there was a great crisis of spiritual apostasy and moral decline. Although Josiah lived in a depraved culture, he started out right. He didn’t use the excuse “I’m a product of my environment” to deter him from doing right. His godly actions was a shining light that made an eternal impact for many people. What impact will your example have on others today?
He followed the reign of two wicked kings, his father Amon (II Kings 21:20; II Chronicles 33:21-23) and his grandfather Manasseh (II Kings 21:2; II Chronicles 33:2, 12-13) who did all they could to destroy the spiritual life of Judah. His father and his grandfather, Manasseh, turned to the Lord toward the end of their lives, but the damage was already done. It was an era when idolatry flourished and the Word of God was dormant (II Kings 22:8). However, with no parental support or example to follow, Josiah’s days were filled with living for the Lord. This tells us that we can serve God under any circumstances and at any age (II Kings 22:3).
Keep in mind, both his father, Amon, and his grandfather, Manasseh, were very wicked men. They turned away from God to worship idols and they promoted this wickedness throughout their reign. This is the environment Josiah was raised in, and yet, the Bible says, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (II Kings 22:2). How could this be? It was not because he received godly instruction or example from his father. The Word of God tells us in John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Through His Holy Spirit, God appeals to the conscience of every person. With great mercy, He pursues each and every soul, “The LORD is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). Josiah listened to the voice of God and allowed the Holy Spirit to permeate His life. By the grace of God, the true and living God found a home in the heart of this boy.
At the age of sixteen, Josiah began to seek the Lord (II Chronicles 34:3). The best time in life to find the Lord is when a person is young (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Soon after, Josiah began to eliminate the pagan influences in Judah by destroying idols and their altars. II Kings 23:25, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.”
In the eighteenth year of his reign, he ordered repairs to the Temple. During this time, the high priest discovered the book of the Law and read it to Josiah. Josiah had the Book read to the people and reinstituted the Passover. When Josiah heard the words read from the Book of the Law and realized that his people had been desecrating the Law of God, it appalled him that they had gone so far astray, When Josiah realized how far he and his people strayed from the Lord, he tore his robe in anguish. He sensed that his people were in real danger of reaping and terrible consequences of disobedience to God’s laws. He immediately sent several trusted individuals to Huldah, a prophetess of God. Josiah was desperate to know whether it was possible to avoid the judgments of the Lord. He feared it might be too late.
Josiah was right. Things had gone too far for too long. God sent word to him that the judgment mentioned in the Book of the Law would indeed play out against His people. God commended Josiah for His tender and humble heart and told him that he wouldn’t see these punishments carried out.
Josiah’s name means, “the Lord heals”. Josiah orchestrated the last great spiritual revival in the kingdom before its final decline, downfall, and deportation. The revival came with the preaching of the godly prophet, Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:2). As a leader, Josiah knew he was in a position of authority and he would be held accountable to the Lord for how he ruled and what operated in the kingdom. Therefore, he became devoted to the Sanctuary (II Kings 22:3-7; Hebrews 10:25); the Scriptures (II Kings 22:8-20); the citizens of Judah (II Kings 23:1-2); He cleansed the land spiritually (II Kings 23:12-15, 24); and cleansed it morally (II Kings 23:7). Sin was dealt with and put away. He destroyed the idols and restored the Temple. Josiah was determined to reform his nation and made great efforts to turn the people from their idolatry by destroying all the images and places of idol worship across the land. However, he knew they had to go deeper. True repentance requires a change of heart, so he invited all the people to a worship service. With great emotion, he read to them the Book of the Law, and as a result, many people sought forgiveness.
Josiah is remembered for his attitude about God and His Word. Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD”. Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” He knew its importance and made sure the people knew what it said and encouraged them to obey it. Josiah completed the work the Lord gave him to do (II Chronicles 35:20a). He died serving the Lord. His godly example was a shining light that had a positive impact for multitudes. What impact will your example have on others?
PRAYER: Lord, may I be convicted to pray fervently as a way of standing in the gap for my family, community, nation, and world. Thank you for the warnings You give me and may I always strive to heed Your call. Thank You for Your mercy, forgiveness, grace, lovingkindness, and especially for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, as the ultimate source of revival. I am deeply grateful that I am saved because of Christ’s finished work on the cross! Help me to let Your light fill my heart every day. May Your love and goodness manifest from my heart today and draw others to You. In Jesus name, Amen
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.