By: Dennis Pierce
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 22-23 – 2 Chronicles 34-35
1. King Josiah reigned over Judah for 31 years, from 640 – 609 B.C.
2. Jeremiah was preaching during this time and lamented his death. (2 Chronicles 35:25)
3. The highlight of Josiah’s reign was the discovery of the book of the law.
4. 2 Kings 23:25 refers to him as a king like no other. How did this happen? The first few verses in the biblical account of Josiah’s life give us much insight into the development of this great man of God.
I. Josiah did what was right. (2 Chronicles 34:2)
A. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
1. It is always good for us to ask questions about decisions we make in any course of action. But in those important decisions, we will always want to know exactly how we really think or feel. How will I think down the road, in the days ahead, or even years ahead? How will my decisions affect others, or what will they think of me?
2. While these are important considerations, they are not where the most of our attention should be directed. Josiah did what was right in the sight of the Lord. Judges 21:15 reminds us, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
3. Isaiah writes about God in chapter 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
4. What I think is right may not be right, therefore, like Josiah, I want to focus on what is right in the sight of the Lord.
B. He went back to the old paths.
1. Josiah walked in the ways of David his father.
2. David lived 350 years before Josiah which would be equivalent to us going back to a time just 60 years after the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. Things have dramatically changed in 350 years. However, God does not change. “For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6)
3. We tend to think, in this modern generation, with our technology, experience, advancement in science and medicine, etc. that we are much smarter than those in days gone by. Some even think it perfectly acceptable to deny biblical truths simply on the basis of modern science.
4. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; ( 1Corinthians 1:27) Josiah did not think the ways of David were out of date or old fashioned.
C. He made no excuses.
1. When we consider the environment in which Josiah grew up, we would think he had no chance. His grandfather, Manasseh was especially wicked. (2 Kings 21:10-17). His father Amon, “trespassed more and more.” (2 Chronicles 33:23)
2. We may consider ourselves as unable to advance or excel in Christian character because of our past. We need to remind ourselves of the power of the gospel and of our potential in Christ. (Romans 1:16; Philippians 4:13)
3. Regardless of our circumstances we can follow God.
II. Josiah was dedicated. (2 Chronicles 34:2)
A. He declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
1. There was a certainty about his belief. He did not 2nd guess his commitment to do what was right.
2. Sometimes the outcome of making the right decisions do not, at first, seem like the best. We may need to wait on the Lord and be reminded of Romans 8:28.
B. Dedication will always require time, work, and a willingness to endure hardship. (Romans 12:1, Colossians 3:17)
III. Josiah sought after God (2 Chronicles 34:3-21)
A. He sought after God while he was young.
1. Ecclesiastes 12:1 is the best advice for any young person. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
2. By the time he was 16 years old Josiah knew that the right things to do could be found in searching for the Lord.
3. Jesus taught that searching for God would be rewarded. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
B. Josiah realized his goal could not be achieved with evil in the way. (2 Chronicles 34:3)
1. Evil has always been the obstacle preventing people from following God.
2. By the time Josiah is 20 years old he is bold enough to take a strong stand for right. He begins to remove the altars and images of the false Gods.
3. This would not have been a popular thing to do. Just like today it is most often not acceptable to tell folks that something is wrong when everyone else thinks it is right. Remember we are not stating what is right or wrong based upon our own opinions but upon the truth of God’s word.
4. Even in our own life that which is sinful must be removed. Consider Matthew 12:43-45.
C. His search for God led to the finding of the book of the law. (2 Chronicles 34:15)
1. Still a young man of 26 years, Josiah commissioned the repair of the House of the Lord.
2. During the course of the repair, the book of the law was discovered. God will lead those who are sincerely searching for truth the ability to find it.
D. Learning of God’s law caused Josiah to rend his clothes.
1. This indicates Josiah’s deep sorrow for the situation his kingdom is in, because of their disobedience of God’s law.
2. Our study of the Bible will lead us to the truth that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
IV. Josiah made God the center of his life. (2 Chronicles 34:31)
A. He made a covenant with God.
1. The covenant he made was to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes.
2. There is a commitment we make in coming to Christ, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
3. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
B. He put his heart and soul into this effort.
1. Jesus confirmed what the lawyer said was required to inherit eternal life. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:25-28)
C. Josiah caused (made - NKJV) all present to stand for it. (vs 32)
1. Josiah wanted all the people to follow God.
2. Our love for others should compel us to do all we can to help them come to Christ.
1. Josiah could not control the future for the people, but that did not prevent him from doing all he could while he was King. All of his successors did that which was evil in the sight of God.
2. While this sounds like a depressing ending to the life of a great man, yet it is the reality for all of us.
3. We live from day to day with concern for the lost around us and therefore we are motivated to be a good example and teach at every opportunity we have.
4. We are to turn to God, like Josiah, with all our heart, soul and might. (2 Kings 23:25) He will take care of the rest.