King Josiah, the Obedient Servant – My Daily Bread!
Our comfort in the Lord is taken from Zephaniah 2: 3 which read:
“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”
The prophet Zephaniah spoke these words to the people of Judah back in the days of King Josiah about six hundred years before Christ came on the scene. Although they had sinned by committing idolatry, Zephaniah preached God’s message of hope to those who choose to obey God; and because of the obedience of a King, a nation was transformed!
King Josiah had a choice to make at a very early age. Would he worship the true God or would he follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who dishonored the living God with their disobedience. (See 2 Kings Chapter 22-23 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 34-35 for Josiah’s story) He was eight years old when he was appointed King and the scriptures tells us that “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, not turning to the right or to the left.” (2 Kings 22: 2)
And then a remarkable thing happened, 18 years later when he was 26 years old the priest found the “book of the Law” in the temple. Upon hearing the words read, King Josiah tore his cloths with grief and sent the Priest to inquire of the Lord, for he realized that the nation was not living in accordance with God’s requirements and that God was not pleased. He said “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.” (2 Kings 22: 13)
The rest of Josiah story tells how he instituted widespread reforms throughout the nation of Judah, destroying all other altars and temples to other god’s, renewing the covenant with the Living God, and reinstituted the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. Here is the key teaching point he realized: his attempt to obey God on his own did not satisfy God’s requirements; however, it was not until he heard the Word of God read that he realized that there still existed a significant gap between what He thought was right living and what God required.
Before he heard the Word read, although Josiah had strived to do right, great reform was still necessary for them be what God required. For we are told that he had to “remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry host; he did away with the pagan priest who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry host; he tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes which were in the temple of the Lord and where women did weaving for Asherah; and he desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnon, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech.” My, how far the nation had fallen from the things of God!
However because of Josiah’s heartfelt desire to know and obey the Lord, he is remembered as Judah’s most obedient king. This statement is also recorded about him: “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25)
What can we gleam about Josiah’s story that could be useful for us today?
(1) You are never too young to get to know the Lord. Josiah was just eight years old when he became king and began his journey of seeking God.
(2) We may think we are living in obedience by being a good person; however, we can never be all that God requires apart from and outside of His Word of Truth, the Bible. So simply being a ‘good’ person can never satisfy God; we will always come up short, because we are missing the main ingredient – God!
(3) He immediately recognized the gap in his life and the lives of his subjects with respect to God’s holiness and was genuinely grieved over their state. God desires recognition of our sin, confession and godly repentance!
(4) He immediately inquired of the Lord. We must always seek God’s perspective on all aspects of our life and even more so in our disobedience, for He is the only one who can tell us what we need to do. His Word is truth the light that has the power to free us!
(5) Josiah’s response was immediate, he heard the Word read once and repented his sin and the sin of the nation and gathered all the people to restore fellowship with the Living God by renewing the covenant. God’s Word has the power to change our lives in ways we cannot accomplish on our own. But we must know the Word to live it. How diligent are you in your studies, how many times do you have to hear the Word before you make changes God requires?
(6) He immediately went about instituting the reforms that would restore the nation to God by getting rid of anything that got in the way of obeying God. We too must rid ourselves of all obstacles that stand in the way of our obedience to God. We cannot hold to God and cling to disobedience!
(8) God can ignite your heart with His word through the power the Holy Spirit, and it starts with your heartfelt seeking and longing to know Him; with humbly surrendering yourself to His divine plan for your life; and by being obedient to His Word. It was the same in Josiah’s day and it is the same today!
(7) Through our obedience we experience greater blessings from God! With just one reading of the Word, Josiah changed the course of a whole nation! And what was the Lord’s response? The Lord told him “because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.” (2 Kings 22: 19-20)
God blessed Josiah’s obedience by not allowing His Judgment to occur during Josiah’s lifetime. I pray saints that his example inspires us to seek God and His righteousness with all our heart, mind and soul with obedience; that we too may experienced His favor, His shelter, His comfort and peace.
Copyright© 2011 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.