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30. Josiah, Judah’s Last Good King

October 13, 2010

 

Text:    II Chronicles 34:1-35:27 

Harmony Text:            II Kings 22:1-23:30

Outline:           I.     Josiah Honors the Lord                           II Chronicles 34:1-33

                              II.    Judah Worships the Lord                        II Chronicles 35:1-19

                              III.  Josiah’s Stubbornness                              II Chronicles 35:20-27 

Context/Discussion/Comments: 

                Josiah is only 8 years old when he becomes king.  Amon his father, was king for the past 2 years and his grandfather Manasseh was king during his first 6 years.  Amon was evil but Manasseh had repented so perhaps he had a positive influence on young Josiah before he died.  Also, it is possible Jeremiah influenced Josiah. 

                Josiah reigns for 21 years from age 8 to age 39 and walked steadfastly with the Lord like David.  He began to seek the Lord, to do what was right, in his 16th year and by age 20 he began to rid Jerusalem and Judah of their idolatrous altars and various idols, breaking them up and burning them.  He even burned up the bones of the false prophets/priests.  His purge actually extended into the former kingdom of Israel.  At age 26 he began to repair the Temple, releasing the Temple funds to pay for materials and workers.  The Levites supervised this project.  

                When they brought out the money and began cleaning the storerooms, Hilkiah, the High Priest, found the Book of the Law [presumably the Pentateuch or parts thereof].  Hilkiah gives it to Shaphan to bring to King Josiah.  Shaphan reads it to Josiah who is immediately convicted of Judah’s sin and asks for further information/explanation of its’ content and meaning.  Hilkiah goes to the prophetess Huldah and learns that the Lord is planning to bring disaster upon Judah because of their idolatry [See Leviticus 26].  Josiah, because he was humbled by the Lord’s Word, will live in peace and not experience the coming disaster.  Josiah calls together Judah’s elders at the Temple and reads God’s Word to them.  They too confess their sin and renew their covenant with the Lord, pledging to follow/obey God. [see Deuteronomy 29 and Joshua 24].  As a result, Josiah continued to remove idol altars from all the land and follow the Lord God Almighty. 

                Josiah sets out and organizes/consecrates the priests to celebrate the Passover with all Israel.  The Ark was placed in the Temple [evidently it had been removed] and the people were instructed to prepare themselves to worship God.  Josiah provided all the lambs and cattle for the 30,000 participants.  The officials, Levites, and priests also provided some of the sacrificial animals.  Thus, the celebration began per the Book of Moses accompanied with music.  The people also observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for 7 days.  This was the largest celebration since the days of Samuel, even larger than that of his great grandfather, Hezekiah. 

                Josiah decides to fight Neco, king of Egypt, as he marched in the valley of Megiddo to meet Babylon’s army.  Josiah is hit by an arrow and is mortally wounded.  Jeremiah writes a lament of mourning over the king’s death and all of Judah mourns. 

Lessons/Applications: 

  1. We garner God’s full attention when we stop sinful practices, seek the Lord, heed His Word, humble ourselves before Him, and begin to right our wrongs.  Then God grants us mercy and peace along with His loving attention.  It is never too late to follow Josiah’s example.
  2. As Christians our own zeal for the Lord is to be passed on to others.  Encourage your fellow man to repent, seek God, and commit their lives to obeying His Word.
  3. Worshipping the Lord is one of the best ways we have of showing our love for Him.  Honor the Lord with all your heart.  Do it often, do it continuously, and do it faithfully.
  4. Always ask the Lord’s guidance whether it be a small or large thing.  God is sovereign and knows best.  God wants us to be available and flexible, not stubborn.  He wants followers[disciples] to carry out His Will.
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