Profiles of Faith: Josiah - A Kingdom Returns to God

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Josiah - A Kingdom Returns to God

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The prophet Jeremiah made a remarkable prediction about the kingdom of Judah in the days of King Josiah. Less than a century had passed since the northern kingdom, Israel, with its 10 of the 12 original Israelite tribes, had fallen into captivity. God had used mighty Assyria as an instrument of correction to punish Israel.

Josiah faithfully followed God’s laws. He influenced his closest servants, counselors and representatives to follow his example and obey God with all their hearts and minds. 

Now God turned His focus on the southern kingdom of Judah, where the two remaining Israelite tribes had barely escaped the same fate. God’s analysis of the character of Judah was ominous: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it” (Jeremiah 3:6-7 Jeremiah 3:6-7 [6] The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? she is gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the harlot. [7] And I said after she had done all these things, Turn you to me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
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“Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away [through captivity at the hands of the Assyrian Empire] and [had] given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense … Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah” (Jeremiah 3:8-11 Jeremiah 3:8-11 [8] And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. [9] And it came to pass through the lightness of her prostitution, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. [10] And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to me with her whole heart, but feignedly, said the LORD. [11] And the LORD said to me, The backsliding Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
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Josiah’s Early Reign

It was in this time of idolatry and spiritual adultery with other gods that a new ruler came to power in Judah.

Josiah was only 8 years old when he ascended the throne of Judah. According to the Scriptures, his father, Amon, was a sinful king, an idolater. His own servants conspired to assassinate him. Josiah reigned 31 years in Jerusalem, “and he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Chronicles 34:2 2 Chronicles 34:2And 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.
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It didn’t take Josiah long to reverse the pattern of Judah’s collective wickedness. “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young [only 16], he began to seek the God of his father [ancestor] David; and in the twelfth year [at age 20] he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them” (2 Chronicles 34:3-4 2 Chronicles 34:3-4 [3] 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 broke 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 broke in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it on the graves of them that had sacrificed to them.
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“He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes. When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 34:5-7 2 Chronicles 34:5-7 [5] And he burnt the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. [6] And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even to 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.
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Josiah zealously pursued obedience to God. Recognizing the calamity that had come on Israel because of the nation’s idolatry and other acts of disobedience, Josiah purged not only Judah and Jerusalem of their idols, but much of the territory of the former kingdom of Israel.

He then concentrated on restoring the worship of the true God. The Levites collected money to repair the temple of God in Jerusalem. They hired workmen with special skills to lay stone and timber and repair the floors. The efforts were an inspiring sight for those who understood what was taking place. During the rebuilding and repairing process, Hilkiah the priest found a scroll of the law of God, a discovery that proved to be a turning point in Judah’s return to God.

Finding the Book of the Law

Hilkiah must have been astounded when he came across the Book of the Law (2 Chronicles 34:14 2 Chronicles 34:14And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
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). It is a sad commentary on the spiritual state of the kingdom that this scroll containing God’s inspired Word could have been lost. Earlier priests had apparently either misplaced it or hidden it for safekeeping as the nation’s kings and people had turned from God to idolatry.

Hilkiah instantly knew the importance of the find and quickly delivered the scroll to Shaphan the scribe. Shaphan wasted no time carrying it to King Josiah. First the scribe reported how all the king’s servants had dealt faithfully with the money collected to repair the temple of God. Only then did Shaphan direct the king’s attention to the Book of the Law and began reading from it (2 Chronicles 34:16-18 2 Chronicles 34:16-18 [16] And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to your servants, they do it. [17] And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. [18] Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
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When Josiah heard the scribe reading the words of God, he tore his clothes in a common expression of grief and anguish (2 Chronicles 34:19 2 Chronicles 34:19And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
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Perhaps Hilkiah had found the original copy of the Pentateuch that Moses had commanded should be placed beside the Ark of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 31:25-26 Deuteronomy 31:25-26 [25] That Moses commanded the Levites, which bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, [26] Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.
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). The account of the discovery in 2 Chronicles refers to “the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” (2 Chronicles 34:14 2 Chronicles 34:14And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
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Some scholars have concluded, based on details in this account, that the “Book of the Law” was a scroll of the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 28 describes the curses that would come on the tribes of Israel if they disobeyed God. The shock of hearing the fate of his kingdom described in such graphic detail may well have been the cause of the anguished reaction of the king.

Josiah’s subsequent declaration may confirm that this was indeed the content of the scroll. He gathered Hilkiah, Shaphan and other trusted servants and advisers and told them: “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21 2 Chronicles 34:21Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
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The king commanded “those who are left in Israel and Judah” to seek God’s will regarding wayward Judah. They went directly to Huldah the prophetess, who confirmed the curses that would surely come on a nation that rejected God: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah, because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands. Therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place, and not be quenched’ ” (2 Chronicles 34:24-25 2 Chronicles 34:24-25 [24] Thus said the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil on this place, and on the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: [25] Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out on this place, and shall not be quenched.
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Meanwhile, Huldah spoke comforting words for Josiah: “ ’Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,’ says the Lord. ‘Surely I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place and its inhabitants’ ” (2 Chronicles 34:27-28 2 Chronicles 34:27-28 [27] Because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before God, when you heard his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled yourself before me, and did rend your clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard you also, said the LORD. [28] Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring on this place, and on the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
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The king’s servants brought back the prophetess’s words to Josiah, who gathered the elders of Judah and Jerusalem and read to them the words of the newly found scroll. The king made a covenant to follow God wholeheartedly, keeping His commandments. He also made those present “take a stand” to obey God (2 Chronicles 34:31-32 2 Chronicles 34:31-32 [31] And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. [32] And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
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“Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 34:33 2 Chronicles 34:33And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
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Restoring God’s Festivals

Part of God’s instruction that had been ignored was the command to observe God’s festivals. Josiah determined to restore this aspect of the true worship of God, beginning with the coming Passover (2 Chronicles 35:1 2 Chronicles 35:1Moreover Josiah kept a passover to the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
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). He restored the priests to their proper duties and instructed the Levites to return the ark of God to the temple Solomon had built. The king instructed the priests to serve God and His people.

The king then gave to the people 30,000 lambs and young goats and 3,000 head of cattle, all from his own herds, for Passover offerings. Other officials contributed another 2,600 lambs and goats and 300 head of cattle.

This was a memorable time for King Josiah, as well as Judah in the south and all the remnant of Israel in the north who kept the feast in Jerusalem. “There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests, and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept” (2 Chronicles 35:18-19 2 Chronicles 35:18-19 [18] And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. [19] In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
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). Josiah probably restored the other festivals of God as well (2 Chronicles 35:17 2 Chronicles 35:17And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.
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; Deuteronomy 16:16 Deuteronomy 16:16Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
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; Leviticus 23:1-44 Leviticus 23:1-44 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [2] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. [3] Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. [4] These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. [5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover. [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. [7] In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [8] But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [9] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [10] Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: [11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. [12] And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD. [13] And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. [14] And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. [15] And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: [16] Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD. [17] You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD. [18] And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD. [19] Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. [20] And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. [21] And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. [22] And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. [23] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [24] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. [25] You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [26] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [27] Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. [28] And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. [29] For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. [30] And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. [31] You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. [32] It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath. [33] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [34] Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD. [35] On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. [36] Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. [37] These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day: [38] Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD. [39] Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. [40] And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. [41] And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. [42] You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: [43] That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. [44] And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
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The Passover season was a fitting time to begin the process of national repentance. The Passover sacrifice involved a sacrificial shedding of blood as an atonement for sins and to bring reconciliation to God.

The Passover lamb was a type of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul tells us that the sacrifice of “Christ, our Passover,” is not to be taken lightly (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
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). He confirms that, when one receives Christ’s atoning sacrifice, he must repent of sins (Romans 6:11-23 Romans 6:11-23 [11] Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [16] Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? [17] But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity to iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness to holiness. [20] For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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It was at this appropriate time, during the Passover season, that King Josiah initiated a return to true worship, restoring Judah’s citizenry to a right relationship with God.

A Fatal Mistake

Although Josiah was a man of many admirable qualities, even righteous people can make foolish mistakes. Josiah’s greatest mistake—at an early age—cost him his life.

Josiah had faithfully followed God’s laws. He had repaired the temple and restored the priests and Levites to their proper service. He influenced his closest servants, counselors and representatives to follow his example and obey God with all their hearts and minds. What would motivate an otherwise successful king to presume to intervene in the conflicts of other nations?

King Josiah had his reasons. Before we consider them, it is important to note that God can and sometimes does use gentile leaders and peoples to carry out His will. For example, God had already used the Assyrians to punish the rebellious northern 10 tribes in the kingdom of Israel (Isaiah 10:5-7 Isaiah 10:5-7 [5] O Assyrian, the rod of my anger, and the staff in their hand is my indignation. [6] I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. [7] However, he means not so, neither does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.
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In Josiah’s time Pharaoh Necho of Egypt was leading his army north, up the coast of Palestine, to join forces with the weakened Assyrian kingdom against the rising power of Babylon.

Josiah did not realize that God was dramatically shifting the regional balance of power. Pharaoh Necho was hurrying to a battle in which the Babylonians would slaughter the Egyptians at Carchemish and gain control of the Assyrian Empire. Was Josiah unwittingly working at cross purposes with God?

Josiah exhibited a common weakness. His reliance on his own reasoning apart from God’s revelation clouded his judgment. We find no record that Josiah asked for counsel from his faithful advisers, nor that he sought God’s will in this matter as he had consulted with Huldah during his early reign. God may have put it into the mind of Pharaoh Necho to join forces with the Assyrian forces. In fact, Necho said as much to Josiah before they met on the battlefield near Megiddo, cautioning Josiah to refrain from trying to defeat the will of God (2 Chronicles 35:21 2 Chronicles 35:21But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with you, you king of Judah? I come not against you this day, but against the house with which I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear you from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy you not.
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Josiah didn’t heed the Egyptian ruler’s advice. He tried to block the Egyptians’ northward advance. In the ensuing battle Josiah disguised himself as an ordinary soldier but was mortally wounded in a hail of arrows. A chariot evacuated him to Jerusalem, but to no avail. “So he died, and was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah” (2 Chronicles 35:24 2 Chronicles 35:24His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
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With Josiah out of the way, Necho continued his advance to Carchemish and his own disastrous destiny. Josiah’s death spared him from witnessing the destruction of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. With this righteous king gone, Judah’s downfall would follow in a few short years.

Josiah was a great ruler in the annals of Judah’s kings. Only Josiah and his great-grandfather, King Hezekiah, turned Judah back to God in such a wholehearted way.

A Matter of Life and Death

What lessons can we glean from Josiah’s example? First, we can be glad that God does not look at age when He chooses a willing servant. Josiah was only 16 when he began to root idolatry out of Judah. Moreover, a mere youth can dedicate himself to God as Josiah did. Throughout this king’s life (he was only 39 when he died), he faithfully followed God’s commands just as he had pledged to do.

Only in the case of his rash venture against Pharaoh Necho does the Bible record a failure by the young monarch. Josiah should have consulted God on this venture rather than relying on his own judgment and placing confidence in his achievements. Too much success, and the weakness of the flesh, can spoil a person, prompting him to grow too self-dependent.

God intervenes in the affairs of mankind. Sometimes, as with Josiah, He provides a faithful, obedient ruler for His people. Judah listened to God for a time during Josiah’s reign. But the Judahites quickly returned to their idols and spiritual adultery under the leadership of succeeding kings. It wasn’t long before the prophesied disaster struck.

We live in precarious times. Of the days yet ahead, God says that His righteous servants should warn people to turn from their unrighteous and hypocritical ways (Isaiah 58:1-4 Isaiah 58:1-4 [1] Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. [2] Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. [3] Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors. [4] Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
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). Will our people listen and learn?

If we are willing to mend our own ways, learning from and following the example of righteous King Josiah, Jesus Christ says we can be spiritually prepared for the dangerous times prophesied to come at the end of this age (Luke 21:34-36 Luke 21:34-36 [34] And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come on you unawares. [35] For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. [36] Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
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