This week we will study the life of Josiah, the last Godly king of Judah. Our text will be 2 Chronicles 34:1-28, 35:1-27, and 2 Kings 23:25-27.
Josiah was the son of King Amon, whom the people made king of Judah after Amon’s assassination (639 B.C.). Josiah’s reign began when he was only eight years old and lasted 31 years, three decades of peace, prosperity, and reform. King Josiah devoted himself to pleasing God and reinstituting Israel’s observance of the Mosaic Law. The Bible focuses almost exclusively on Josiah’s spiritual reforms, which climaxes in the eighteenth year of his reign with the discovery of the Book of the Law (621 B.C.)
2 Chronicles 34
Josiah reigns over Judah (1-2)
“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.”
Josiah’s reforms (3-7)
“For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.”
Josiah repairs the temple (8-13)
“Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.10 And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the Lord, to repair and amend the house:11 Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.12 And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of music.13 Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.”
Josiah sought God at the age of 16. Then he destroyed everything that caused Israel NOT to follow God. Then he repaired the temple, so that proper worship could be conducted.
Josiah’s actions are needed in the United States. It began with one man who God used to change Israel. Revival comes first in the heart of each believer. Repentance, humbleness, renouncing the things of this world, and seeking God. Then when believers of like mind get together and pray, God begins to work. This is how the great revivals began.
The question becomes, “Does the church (body of believers) have the desire and will for this kind of revival?”
When we look at what Josiah did, would we be willing to support a leader like that or would we say they were too extreme?
Points to ponder.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001