Friday, May 10, 2013

Revisiting Josiah

I often repeat verses. Every once in a while, I’ve reposted an entire blog entry. Most often, though, I repeat because something different has caught my attention in a verse – or story – I’ve heard/told before. Back in December of 2010 I posted three blogs about the reign of Josiah, king of Judah – December 8th, 9th and 10th. I’ve decided not to read them again (though you may by clicking on the numbers) so I don’t know how much I’ll repeat. Pastor read from 2 Chronicles 34 last night, and that’s where my thoughts were.

Receiving the throne at eight, it’s almost certain Josiah had counselors. They might have been pretty good guys, since by the age of sixteen he made some life-determining choices:

For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. (2 Chronicles 34:3)

He knew the difference between right and wrong, though the “Why?” was not discovered until years later:

Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. (2 Chronicles 34:18-21)

I know – that’s longer than most verses I post, but there’s a huge story there.

The Torah, the Book of the Law, was unknown to Josiah. He did not have God’s word as a reference, a weighing balance between right and wrong. What he did have was a desire to seek after the God of David his father. When he was sixteen he was destroying altars to Baal. Not until he was twenty-six did he turn to restoring the temple, which led to the discover of the books. Not until then did he realize how deeply his nation had strayed from God’s commandments.

He was right. There were consequences for not following God’s words:

Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. (2 Chronicles 34:25)

Zephaniah’s description of that wrath, written during the time of King Josiah, is vivid. Bible scholars look upon his description as matching that of the end of days. But, for Josiah, the Lord had kind words:

Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. (2 Chronicles 34:27)

Oh – my! I’m only half way through!! Do you think there’s a “happy ever” after ending based on God’s hearing Josiah?  Find out tomorrow.

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