2 Kings 22:1-20
Friday, 20 August 2021
“When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair.’ –2 Kings 22:11[NLT]
In today’s reading, we have the interesting account of Josiah, who started his reign at the age of eight! When kings and people of the land had turned away from God and desecrated themselves to other gods, here is a young king who started right and made a difference! While it was written about the kings of that time: “he did evil in the sight of LORD,” (2 Kings 21:2; 21:20; 23:32, etc); it is written of Josiah: “And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD..” (2 Kings 22:2). What a testimony!
In a similar account of Josiah in 2 Chronicles, we read: “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David…” (2 Chron.34:3a). As Josiah started seeking the Lord, step by step he started to do things rightly. He gave orders to repair the temple- the place of worship, entrusting faithful men with the work. It was then they found the Book of the Law (which may have been lost during the reign of the previous wicked kings) and it was taken to him and read by a scribe. This is a dramatic event that shaped Josiah’s reign [NKJV Study Bible].
We now look into how Josiah reacted when he heard what was written in the book of Law:
His Repentance: Josiah, tearing his clothes meant a genuine sorrow for the way he and his people had conducted themselves before God- far from what the Law required of them. His next step was to “inquire of the LORD” (V.13), the practice at that time to consult a prophet who would make known the counsel of the LORD. The prophetess Huldah brought the Word of the Lord to him (Vs.15-20). He was humble enough to accept the Word and act on it.
His Reforms: In 2 Kings 23, we read of Josiah’s subsequent actions—he called for the elders of Judah and Jerusalem and gathered the people at the Temple, read to them the words of the Book of Covenant that had been found in the Temple. 2 Kings 23: 3 says: “Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.” Josiah did not sit idle with what he understood but set in motion the corrective steps. In 2 Chron.34:3b, it is written: “… in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.” He thoroughly cleansed the land of the abominable idolatry practices; his strong actions are seen in the terms “broke down and pulverized”, “broke in pieces”, “cut down the wooden images”—which speak of his determination to fully obey what was written in the Law.
The Book of the Covenant discovered in the Temple became the turning point of the reforms in the life of the king and the nation. As a leader, Josiah took the right steps to return to the ways of the Lord and bring about the reforms to renew their covenant with God. It is recorded of Josiah: “Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
Have we based our lives on the centrality of God’s Word? Here is a reminder in James 1: 22-25:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the times I have not heeded God’s Word; cleanse me and help me walk in the way of the Lord that is written in His Word.