Reading the books of I and II Kings is depressing as they begin with the death of King David and end with Judah in captivity. One of the bright spots in these books is the story of young Josiah who became king of Judah when he was eight years old. Here was a young boy whose father and grandfather were evil. Yet he did not follow in their footsteps. In fact, some three hundred years before Josiah appeared on earth’s stage, his birth was prophesied by a man of God to evil King Jeroboam of the northern kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 13:1-2).
With his ancestry, I’ve always wondered who influenced Josiah to do right in the sight of the Lord – to walk in all the ways of his father David (2 Kings 22:2). We need to encourage our children with the story of young Josiah – they are never too young to have a righteous influence on others.
But the lesson I want us to gain from this article occurs when Josiah gives instructions to repair the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. Josiah was in his 18th year as king in Jerusalem when this repair work began. In the process, the high priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law. Shaphan the scribe read this book to Josiah who then tore his royal clothes in sorrow because Judah had failed to obey the words of the book. Oh, that we would have a similar reverence for God’s word! To make a long story short, Josiah instituted a series of reforms to restore true worship. One of the first things on the docket was to observe the Passover. Take time to read about it in 2 Chronicles 35:1-19. He also removed the idolatrous places in Judah and Samaria – the latter as foretold by the man of God to King Jeroboam. Josiah is a great example that anyone can do what’s right with a little encouragement!