Read 2 Kings 21:24 - 23:30; 2 Chronicles 33:25 - 35:27 (NLT)
Josiah never knew his great-grandfather Hezekiah; but they were alike in many ways. Both had close, personal relationships with God. Both were passionate reformers, making valiant efforts to lead their people back to God. Both were bright flashes of obedience to God among kings with darkened consciences, who seemed bent on outdoing each other in disobedience and evil.
Although Josiah's father and grandfather were exceptionally wicked, his life is an example of God's willingness to provide guidance to those who set out to be obedient. At a young age, Josiah already understood that there was spiritual sickness in his land. Idols were sprouting in the countryside faster than crops. In a sense, Josiah began is search for God by destroying and cleaning up whatever he recognized as not belonging to the worship of the true God. in the process, God's Word was rediscovered. The king's intentions and the power of God's written revelation were brought together.
As the Book of God's Law was read to Josiah, he was shocked, frightened, and humbled. He realized what a great gap existed between his efforts to lead his people to God and God's expectations for his chosen nation. He was overwhelmed by God's holiness and immediately tried to expose his people to that holiness. The people did respond, but the Bible makes it clear that their renewed worship of God was much more out of respect for Josiah than out of personal understanding of their own guilt before God.
How would you describe your relationship with God? Are your feeble efforts at holiness based mostly on a desire to "go along" with a well-liked leader or popular opinion? Or are you, like Josiah, deeply humbled by God's Word, realizing the great gap between your life and the kind of life God expects, and realizing your deep need to be cleansed and renewed. You must allow God's Word to truly humble you and change your life.
Josiah's strengths and accomplishments: 1) was king of Judah 2) Sought after God and was open to him 3) was a reformer like his great-grandfather Hezekiah 4) cleaned out the Temple and revived obedience to God's law
His weakness and mistake: 1) became involved in a military conflict that he had been warned against.
Lessons from his life: 1) God consistently responds to those with repentant and humble hearts 2) Even sweeping outward reforms are of little lasting value if there are no changes in people's lives
Vital statistics: 1) Where: Jerusalem 2) Occupation: 16th king of Judah, the southern kingdom
3) Relatives: Father: Amon Mother: Jedidah Son: Jehoahaz 4) Contemporaries: Jeremiah, Huldah, Hilkiah, Zephaniah
Key Verse "Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since." (2 Kings 23:25 NLT)
Let us strive to be like Josiah, obeying God's Word with a humble heart, allowing it to change our lives.