Lesson Ten | Devotion #4: Josiah
Philip Piasecki | Worship Leader
I recently read a story from the New York Post about a family who stumbled upon some baseball cards while cleaning out their deceased great-grandfather’s house. They found a crumpled up paper bag and inside there were seven baseball cards. Seven identical Ty Cobb baseball cards printed sometime between 1909-1911. After getting these cards analyzed by professional collectors, the family discovered that their find was worth well over $1 Million. Before the discovery there were only 15 known copies of this card, and now this family has 7 of their own. Can you imagine cleaning up a garage or basement and stumbling upon something this valuable? I am pumped if I stumble upon a $5 bill. When studying the life of King Josiah, I could not help but think of this story. However, King Josiah found something much more valuable.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 34, we read the account of Josiah’s reign as king. He became king at the age of 8 and at the age of 16 Scripture tells us that “he began to seek the God of his father David.” Before Josiah, his father and grandfather were both very wicked kings. Idol worship had run rampant in the land of Israel, and they had completely forsaken the God of Abraham. After following God, Josiah knew that this idol worship was unacceptable, so as a 20-year-old he began purging Judah and Jerusalem of all the altars and temples to idols that had been built. At 26 he began repairs on the temple, and this is when his incredible discovery is made.
2 Chronicles 34:14 says, “While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through Moses.”
2 Chronicles 34:19-21 adds, “And when the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, ‘Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.’”
The laws of God which had been neglected for years had been rediscovered. Hilkiah, the priest, brought the Book of the Law to show to King Josiah and his response is incredible. When he hears the words of the Lord, he tore his clothes. He immediately understood that this is what Israel had been missing. He immediately connects the dots; the wrath of the Lord had been poured out on them because they had not kept these commandments. King Josiah decides to take action and commit himself and the country back to the Lord.
2 Chronicles 34:31-33 continues, “And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after 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 the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.”
The last line of the Scripture is so powerful, all of King Josiah’s days they did not turn away from the Lord. After a line of wicked kings, God uses King Josiah to turn the hearts of Israel back to Him. All of this happens before Josiah’s 27th birthday. I cannot imagine being a king at his age, let alone being used to bring the entire nation back to God. Josiah’s father and grandpa were both wicked men; he could have used his family history and background as an excuse for not doing what he knew was right. This is such a powerful example that it does not matter where you have come from, God can use you for incredible things. As believers, first and foremost we are a part of the family of God. Being a part of that family comes with the power to do incredible things for Christ. God used His Scripture to show King Josiah what it was that needed to change in the kingdom of Israel. We need to make His Word an essential part of our lives so that we can know how God wants us to live our lives. There is power in the Word of God, and there is power in being a part of His family. When we understand those things, Christ can use us to be world changers like He used King Josiah.