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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Josiah, the Young Man Who Made a Difference

I’m impressed by a young man named Josiah. His story is found in 2 Chronicles 34. He became King at age eight, sought God when he was sixteen, and made important changes in his country at age twenty. At the time when many boys are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, this young man purged Judah and Jerusalem from idols, groves, false priests, and everything associated with idol worship. He cut down the groves (trees), beat the idols and images, and he ground them into powder. That took guts!

He did away with everything that represented the people’s false religion. It took him six years to accomplish. I have to admire him for sticking to the task. (I wonder how many people were for this and how many were against it.)

In the place of idols, Josiah provided the people with a refurbished house of God.

Then, somewhere in God’s house, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the LORD, given to Moses (verse 11). Was it Exodus, Deuteronomy? Shaphan the scribe carried it to King Josiah and read it to him.

Josiah heard God’s Word and tore his clothes in sorrow. He was devastated to hear how his forefathers had disobeyed God’s law. What a reaction! As leader of the nation, he cared deeply what God thought. He grieved that his nation had abandoned and broken God’s law. He feared God’s righteous judgment. (Oh, that today’s leaders would be like Josiah!)

God sent a message to Josiah: Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same (from verses 27-28). God always pays attention to a humble heart.

King Josiah read the law of God to the people. In front of them, he personally promised 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 (verse 31).

The Bible tells us Josiah finished his life well. And all his days they (the people) departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers (verse 33b).

There’s a lot to learn from the young King Josiah.

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