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Josiah: A Boy King

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We are not our family history. We are not our genetics. We are not our age.

We always have a choice.

King Josiah wrapped this truth around his life like the royal robes that adorned his body.

God's Holy Word shows us that Josiah became king at the tender age of eight. This happened after his father, Amon, was murdered by the officials who worked for him. (2 Chronicles 33:24) 

What emotions and thoughts were swirling through young Josiah as they placed the crown of authority and responsibility on his small head? Was the weight of what it represented heavier to his soul than the weight of the crown to his head? Was his mind and heart still reeling with trauma from having his father murdered?

Although having his father alive was maybe just as tumultuous to his soul, as Josiah's father is described as a king who did what was evil and sinned even more than his father. (2 Chronicles 33:22) Which is pretty scary considering how evil Amon's father, Manassah, was:

"He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations… He built pagan alters in the Temple of the Lord… sacrificed his own sons in the fire… He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and physics… And led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations." (2 Chronicles 33:1-9a)

But when Josiah came to reign in Judah, despite the ways of his father and grandfather, it says, "He did what was pleasing in the Lord's sight. He did not turn away from doing what was right." (2 Kings 22:1-2; 2 Chronicles 34:1)

And "during the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David." (2 Chronicles 34:3)

Here is a peek at Josiah's life, that aptly reflected his heart, during his thirty-one year reign:

  • Destroyed pagan shrines, Asherah poles, carved idols, cast images, and Baal alters throughout Judah and Jerusalem and all the regions around them. (2 Chronicles 34:1-8; 33; 2 Kings 23:4-19; 24)
  • Humbled himself by tearing his clothing in despair and wept before God in repentance after hearing what was written regarding God's laws. (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 34:27)
  • Repaired the Temple (place of worship). (2 Chronicles 34:8-13)
  • Assembled all the people of Judah and Jerusalem at the Temple and "there the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord's Temple." (2 Kings 23:1-3; 2 Chronicles 34:29-30)
  • Pledged to obey the Lord by keeping God's commands with all his heart and soul and the people made the same pledge. (2 Kings 23:3; 2 Chronicles 34:31-32)
  • Had priests teach the people. (2 Chronicles 35:3)
  • Gave greatly to the Lord from his own belongings. (2 Chronicles 35:7)
  • Gave justice and help to the poor and needy. "Isn't that what it means to know me?" said the Lord after describing this quality in Josiah. (Jeremiah 22:15-16)

Reading about this king blessed my heart, and I hope that it encourages yours. We live in a day when it is accepted, even often encouraged, to make excuses for being less than everything God created us to be—blaming our past, blaming our circumstances, blaming our family and others around us. King Josiah's story stands juxtaposed to a better truth.

We are not our family history. We are not our genetics. We are not our age.

We always have a choice.

Dear God, may we seek after you with all our heart, soul and strength like King Josiah.

"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)

"And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these." Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)

Habakkuk: An Attitude Shift
Jonah: On Running
 

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