In my Bible study group, we’re reading about King Josiah of Judah in II Kings 22. If you haven’t read his story before, it’s pretty interesting, especially in light of our world today. Josiah came to power after a serious line of nastiness in Judah. His grandfather was Manasseh, widely considered to be Judah’s worst and most evil godless king, guilty of abominations galore, including drawing the people deep into idol worship. His son, Amon, was just as rotten. And then along came Amon’s son Josiah.
Somewhere, somehow, by some miracle, Josiah had a heart for God. He was young–8 years old–when he became king. When he was 26, he ordered the temple to be restored. During that restoration, the priests found the Book of the Law and brought it to him.
Hit pause for a second. They found the Book of the Law. That means it was lost. It wasn’t being read or even acknowledged in Judah for how long? God’s word was so ignored that it was missing and the people didn’t even realize it. I’d love to say I can’t imagine such a thing, but then I look at the world today and people chasing everything under the sun who don’t realize what’s missing… and I know it can happen.
Josiah had the book read to him and immediately mourned. He recognized the depth of his nation’s wrong, the total backwards direction, the judgment of God coming if they didn’t turn it around.
And he took the law to the people. He destroyed the pagan worship centers and led the people to a new relationship with God.
That sounds so easy, doesn’t it?
I’m sure it wasn’t. Can you imagine what would happen today if a leader rose up to tell this nation–any nation–that everything it’s doing is wrong? That from this day forward, everything will be different? Would the people immediately repent? Would they follow?
I’m guessing Josiah took his life into his hands when he did what he did. (Of course, more appropriately, he placed his life in God’s hands, didn’t he?) He had to face a nation steeped in sin and speak the truth. You and I both know that wasn’t easy. And it probably wasn’t popular. But God has a way of working in men’s hearts, doesn’t he?
What about us? Are we willing to be Josiah and speak the truth in a world bent on the lies? In a world that seems to prefer the lies? Josiah could have lost his rule, his kingdom, his life… but he did it.