Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of the southern kingdom of Judah. Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians during the reign of his great grandfather, Hezekiah. Both his grandfather, Manasseh, and his father, Amon, had been wicked kings. They worshipped idols and refused to walk in obedience to God.
But Josiah was different. We’re told that by the time he was sixteen he had begun to seek the Lord. When he was twenty, he set about destroying the high places, altars and Asherah poles associated with idolatry. When he was twenty-six, he gave instructions for the repair of the temple. Josiah clearly loved God and wanted to do what was right.
It seems that Josiah had already done enough to secure a good report. He would already be considered to be one of Judah’s better kings. But then, all of a sudden, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law that had been left neglected in the temple. As Josiah listened to the words of this book being read, he discovered that there was far more to walking faithfully in relationship with God than he had previously understood. He was deeply moved and his response was passionate and wholehearted. In fact, the Bible says;
“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength.”
2 Kings 23:25 | NIV
What strikes me about this whole story is that Josiah already loved God when he realised that there was actually much, much more to the plans and purposes of God for both him and his people. It makes me wonder whether there might be far more for us in the church today than we thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of our regular programmes and activities, or to feel consumed by the genuine pressures and responsibilities of daily life. We genuinely love God and we’re seeking to do the right thing… but what if there’s more?
As Josiah listened to God speaking to him through the book of the law, he responded with every fibre of his being. It seems he was consumed with passion to live in obedience and to be all that God had called him to be. I feel challenged by Josiah’s example. We thank God for some amazing stories of the things He’s accomplished in and through our churches across the Pioneer Network. But we cannot afford to be satisfied with current report, good as it may be. There is certainly more that God wants to call us to, along with the rest of his church. May God continue to speak to us and challenge us and may our response be to embrace what He says with incredible passion and zeal… with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength.
You can read all about Josiah in 2 Kings 22 & 23 and in 2 Chronicles 34 & 35.
Pioneer Core Team | Training & Theological Development