2 Kings 23:25 “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, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”Josiah became King of Judah when he was just 8 years old. Before him, Judah had suffered under 57 years of bad kings and was completely entrenched in paganism and idolatry.
At 16, Josiah found God and at 20, he began to purge Judah of its idolatry.When Josiah was 26, he began a temple restoration project, and it was then that a book of the Law, which had been set aside and lost, was re-discovered. Such was the state of the nation that the people who DID still worship Yahweh, had reduced it to some sort of praise concert. They had no love for His words or statutes and had set them aside to pursue the religion on their own terms.When the book was read to him, Josiah rent his clothes, realizing just how far Judah had fallen from the ways of God, even with his reforms. A Prophetess named Hulda, relative to the Prophet Jeremiah, told Josiah that because he had genuinely repented, he would be spared the coming wrath of God.
But Josiah did not sit back and rest in his safety, he did all that he could to save his people. He re-established the ancient covenant between Yahweh and His people and then launched his campaign to purge Judah of idolatry. He smashed idols, put down pagan priests and destroyed the high places.At the same time that Josiah was implementing all of his reforms, the Prophet Jeremiah was warning the people of impending doom. Perhaps he saw that while Josiah’s repentance was real, the people’s reform was only on the surface.
You can’t really change people by an act of government and despite them cleaning up their outward acts, their hearts were still not turned toward God. Their prophesied destruction was simply delayed. Josiah was indeed the last good King, and after his untimely death, Judah returned to her adulterous, idol-worshipping ways and soon after was sacked by Babylon.Its easy to read this account of the state of Judah during Josiah’s reign and apply it to the scene in America today.
The One Nation Under God has long gone. We see people who claim to be Christian, but follow some Frankenstein Jesus of their own imagination who validates their own fleshly wants and desires. They don’t read scripture because it’s too harsh or isn’t in-step with the times. Worship songs have turned from focusing on God and how He is worthy of praise, to man and how God loves US.
Increasingly we find people who flat out deny the faith and instead worship the god of self, embracing the “anything goes” religion taking the world by firestorm. We have believers who have stepped into their calling in the political realm, trying to bring God’s law to the nation, or at the very least stop laws that are blatantly against Him, but now as it was then, true change cannot be made through legislation.
Real change must be made in the hearts of the people and THAT will in turn impact the laws. John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”Like Josiah, we must do what we can to show people the Truth by sharing the Good News that salvation comes through REPENTANCE of sins and faith in Jesus Christ. (“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”- Matthew 4:17.) But it’s not just what we say that matters. Every day that we walk out the faith we are living our witness and the eyes of the world are increasingly turned towards Christians.
While the majority will be looking to blame, there will be those who will be searching for the solid Truth to stand on in this climate of increasing uncertainty.(2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”While we can point people to Christ, like Josiah, we cannot save them- their salvation is between them and God.
Ultimately, we are only capable of walking the walk for ourselves. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:12, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Let us each on our own, make it our goal to be known as men and women who loved the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength. Let’s, “pray without ceasing”( 1 Thessalonians 5:17) and cry out to God to bring about the true heart change that we really need. Focusing on the plank in our own eyes will give us insight so that when our brother has a splinter in his eye, we can encourage and counsel him in love and truth.
We need to be in our Word daily so that we can fight off the enemy, who often comes as an Angel of light, speaking a twisted gospel designed to fool believers and non-believers alike. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Josiah’s reform was thorough and touched every aspect of life: where they lived, where they worshipped, how they worshipped, the religious leaders they followed, how they entertained themselves…we too should allow Gods’s eye to examine every part of our lives and be willing to root out anything and everything that is contrary to Him.Ephesians 6:13, ”Therefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand.” It is up to us to pick up our cross daily and walk the straight and narrow road to Calvary. With enough people, truly seeking after God’s face, maybe THEN we can enact some real, lasting change.#EverythingUnderTheSon