Josiah took the throne at the age of 8 during a time that Judah was a wicked and rebellious nation. In fact, Josiah took the throne because his father, Amon, was assassinated by his own servants. In a desperate time for good leadership, this young king was determined to lead his people back to following God. Josiah reigned for 31 years before his death at the age of 39. There were certain benchmarks in Josiah’s life as he ruled an entire nation: ages 8, 16, 20, 26 and 39.
Let’s look at 3 lessons from Josiah’s life:
We must have a personal commitment to seeking God: At the age of 16, Josiah began to seek God (II Chron. 34:3a). That is what set Josiah apart from other kings. Seeking God wasn’t a routine matter for him. It wasn’t a family tradition handed down to him. He had a personal commitment to serving God. When I decide I love God and seek Him, that’s when things start to change in our lives. It did for Josiah.
We must first rid the sin … : Josiah purged the land of idolatry (II Chron. 34:3b-7). It’s the same way in our lives if we’re serious about God’s mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. We can’t effectively do the job of rebuilding our lives in the image of Jesus until we first remove the things that God doesn’t want there. Josiah realizes what’s happening around him is wrong, but he doesn’t just tweak it. He scrapes it bare and starts from the beginning. Josiah was serious. If I’m serious about living the life God has called me to live, I must identify all the things within my control that are hindering me, and remove them.
… Then focus on what is right: Josiah then turned his attention to the temple, restoring true worship and reinstating the Passover (II Chron. 34:8-21, 29-31; 35:18). Notice the order: first rid the land of the error, then work to rebuild. My only hope to be in God’s favor is to go back to the book. Replace the sin with that which is godly. Replace the negative with the positive — pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, gentleness and patience.
II Kings 23:25 tells us that there was no king before or after Josiah who was like him. So, what do you allow to define you? Someone or something will have first place in your heart, and your identity will be tied to whatever or to whomever you give your heart. Find your identity in the One who created you — it will change your whole perspective. It did for Josiah.