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Child King Brings Revival

(from Josiah’s story in 2 Kings 22 – 23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35)

There was mourning – sort of.  King Amon, the wicked son of the most wicked king of Judah, Manasseh, had been assassinated after only two years as king.  Then the people of the land put the assassins to death and prepared for a new king.

Coronation Day!  Rejoicing and celebration!  The day arrived with all its pomp, circumstance, and pageantry!  At the end of many years of national decline, the people wondered if their nation could recover.  The new king, Josiah, only eight years old, was crowned king.  The crowds pressed and pushed to see their new king and wondered what kind of ruler he would be.  Would he follow in the wicked ways of his father and grandfather?  The aged people in the crowd hoped he would pattern his life after his godly great-grandfather, Hezekiah.  They knew it depended a lot on the tutors and mentors the young king would have.

Although Josiah, as a child, had to a certain extent, been sheltered from the evil activities around him, he had still seen and heard more than any child should.  He had seen the strange (to him) solicitations of the religious prostitutes.  Josiah had heard, or maybe seen, the desperate cries of the little children “made to pass through the fire” as their parents placed them into the molten hot arms of the image Baal.  These practices were customary under the influence of the wicked 55-year reign of King Manasseh.  Even though Manasseh repented late in life, it was too late to undo the damage he had done.  His subjects had immersed themselves into the pagan idolatrous religions, which had now become “their” religion, irrespective of the king.  And Manasseh’s son, Amon, only made things worse.

Because of all Josiah had witnessed in his short lifetime, he decided to be different – perhaps like his godly great-grandfather, Hezekiah.

In 2 Kings 22:2, the inspired writer described Josiah’s character with these words, “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Perhaps the godly influence of the scribe, Shaphan, and the high priest, Hilkiah, helped turn his heart to God.  His mother, Jedidah, could have influenced him toward godliness.

When Josiah was sixteen, he began to seek after the God of David.  At age 20, he started to purge the nation of idolatrous high places, groves, carved and molten images.  Josiah destroyed the altars of Baalim and the worship centers and images of heathen worship throughout the land.  He also went into some of the prominent cities of Israel (previously conquered by Assyria) and destroyed the pagan worship centers there.

At age 30, he started repairing the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.  In the process, the workers made an astounding discovery.  Hilkiah, the high priest, found Moses’ book of the law.  In this book, God commanded that all Israelite kings have their personal copy of the law to read, meditate, and obey (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).  The priests, judges, and all Israelites were to learn and observe the commands of this book.  But the book had been lost due to the idolatrous paganism that had saturated the land.  The kings, the priests, and all the people were ignorant of God’s Word and disobedient.

Shaphan, the scribe, read the book to Josiah.  His heart was so convicted and touched that he “rent (tore) his clothes” (a Hebrew sign of grief or loss).  Then he said, “Great is the wrath of the  Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 34:21).

Josiah sent the high priest, Hilkiah, and others to consult with Huldah, the prophetess.  Huldah warned that great judgment would come on Judah because the nation had forsaken God and turned to idolatry.  Because Josiah had humbled himself before God, the sentence would not be executed in his lifetime.

King Josiah then gathered the elders, priests, Levites of Judah and Jerusalem, all the men, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  He read to them all the words of the law.  Then Josiah made a covenant to walk after the Lord, keep his commandments with all his heart and soul, and fulfill the terms of the covenant written in the book.  He caused everyone present that day to stand to it with him.  After this meeting, he removed all the idolatrous abominations in all the countries previously aligned with Israel.

In the same year, Josiah kept the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread in Jerusalem.   The Passover commemorated the Exodus.  The destroyer (Exodus 12:23) –death angel killed the firstborn in every Egyptian family but passed over the Israelite homes who had sacrificed the Passover lamb and put the blood on their doorpost.  That night the Israelites left Egypt.

2 Chronicles 35:18 states, “There was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet.” Genuine revival had come to Judah.  The Scripture commends Josiah by saying, “And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their Fathers” (2 Chronicles 34:33).

God had chosen Israel to be a light to all nations.  Instead, Israel and Judah had turned away in rebellion from the Lord and chose pagan idolatry.  Out of this awful degradation, God found a young boy willing to pay the cost to bring revival and delay God’s judgment.

One godly young man turned his country around.  Not many believers today are ever in the high position of authority that Josiah was.  However, God can use you and me as the godly inspiration to turn our circle of influence around.  Today God is looking for men and women who will “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30) for God to save our nation from God’s judgment.  Are you one who will “stand in the gap?”

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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One comment

  1. Dale,

    An excellent study and message about this particular king. Well done, and culminating with a strong wrap up illustrating that His children today are still able to be an example and light for those in the dark. Those who stand in the “gap” are those who will be the most influential overall through His name!

    Well done!

    Thank you,

    God Bless~

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