Something has been burning in my bosom, as I have been reading and studying the books of Chronicles. Making my way toward the finish, I got hung up in chapter 34 with the story of Josiah. I really like the young king.
And I really like that at the age of 15 he begins to recognize and acknowledge God…and hunger for Him. Everything changes in the king’s life after this, much like the other young king, Joash, which can be read about ten chapters prior. While their stories have much in common, there is yet another young king we can read about whose brief telling is sandwiched between these other two.
Manasseh’s story differs, who, at age 12, was crowned. The account tells of how wicked he was. He served strange gods and made children pass through fire, worshiping Molech, the god Solomon introduced to the people. He was full of evil deeds.
But Manessah is a wonderful example of God’s graciousness. For though unlike Joash and Josiah he started evil, he repented. He humbled himself. God forgave Him. Not only did God forgive him, He blessed him.
On a different note, the account of Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34-35 begins with a breath of inspiration. He ushers in the order for Israel to begin the Passover feast again. It brings a time of great joy. In fact, Josiah the King funded the whole event for the entire week-long festival. Others in the court gave some freewill offerings, too. No expense was spared.
The exact telling records that no such Passover had been celebrated since the days of Samuel; it was such a magnificent happening. Josiah was 26 years old by this time.
Long before the Passover celebration was reinstituted, he had such a fervor for the Lord, such a zeal, that not only did he have the Asherim and the carved and molten images torn down, he had them pulverized to dust! He purged the land of their priests on their own altars, too, burning them and all of their bones.
All of this happened after the Jewish priest, Hilkiah, found the book of the law in the Temple. The king, counselors, and priests had never known of its existence until then. When it was read before the court, the king tore his clothes and inquired of God in order to repent and make right the relationship between God and Country, absorbing all he had just heard.
Throughout Josiah’s lifetime the people honored God alongside him. But what happened after he died?
As I have mentioned before in previous blogs regarding other kings, it is so disappointing to read how these godly young men lose their senses later in life and go astray. They fall in love with themselves and what their fleshly hands have established, their worth in this world, earthly pleasures, etc. It is really all bagged up in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
This would have been true even back in the days before Christ. Certainly these kings suffered it.
Watch this space for Part 2
Written by Jori Sams