King Josiah did right before God because he grieved over the sin of himself, his forefathers, and his people, and then he humbled himself to inquire of God for direction. When we hear God’s truth confronting us, how do we respond? Let’s learn from Josiah…
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” 5 In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. 20 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them.
23 Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. 24 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it.
10 And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.
13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found.”
2Kings 21:1-6, 19-21, 23-24, 22:1-2, 8, 10-11, 13
The story of Manasseh’s reign is too close to home for any person who follows Jesus closely in their lives. Why? Because this is the story of someone whose disobedience to God brought sin right into the heart of temple. Manasseh brought idol worship directly into the holiest place in the land. His son, Amon, followed his father’s path.
It was so bad that Amon’s own officials killed him, yet the people of Judah could likely see that the officials were just as corrupt and they rose up against the officials to place Amon’s son, Josiah on the throne.
Today’s temple – the most holy place in our relationship with God – is the heart of the follower of Jesus. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 6:19-20). And so, imagine, as we worship idols or seek the advice of mediums, how defiling that is to each of us as temples of God. When we chart courses like Manasseh, we are polluting the place where God dwells and is glorified.
Josiah was young when he became King. He served the Lord in his life, and the key event to set Josiah on this course of glorifying God was the finding of the Book of the Law in the temple. God’s word was so forgotten and set aside that it needed to be found by the high priest. And when he found it, he gave it to be read before King Josiah.
When you are off-course and you hear the truth, how do you respond? That’s the moment of truth. After going your own way and justifying your sin in your own mind, when you hear the truth, do you turn your ears toward it? Many of us cast it to the side. We rationalize it. We have our own versions of it. We say, like Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
King Josiah tore his robes and then asked the priests to inquire of God for him and the people. The King grieved over the sin of himself, his forefathers, and his people, and then he humbled himself to inquire of God for direction. No wonder he did right in the eyes of God. Josiah’s humble response to truth was what Judah needed to turn away from sin and toward the Lord.
Watch for truth in your life. And when you hear God’s truth, turn toward God and not further away…