By anyone’s estimate, Josiah is one of the top five kings of Judah. His youth, his devotion to God, and his aggressiveness in reforming the nation is impressive — even more so, considering he had virtually no examples to look to for guidance.
His father Ammon was an incredibly wicked king — one of the worst that Judah ever served.
His grandfather Manasseh was arguably the worst (although he did have a period of repentance at the end of his life that Josiah could’ve emulated).
The only substantial source of integrity in his family line was Hezekiah, but considering Josiah was six when he became king, he most likely didn’t know much about his great-grandfather. At least, personally.
In more ways than one, Josiah’s reign truly stands alone. At a time when most of the nation was pessimistic about their relationship with Jehovah, Josiah hit the reset button and reminded them what being God’s people was truly all about.
The Power of Reformation
Every year, we should engage in at least a little bit of reformation. We take stock of our lives, measure them against our own hopes and dreams, and reorient our lives in that direction.
The same applies for the spiritual. If we wake up on January 1 (or any other day of the year) and see that we’ve drifted away from God, we need to re-familiarize ourselves with Scripture and see where we need to get back on track.
Reform is not just a good idea — it’s a necessity for Christians.
Josiah understood that in order to get his nation where they needed to be, he had to shake things up a little bit. He did that by asking three very important questions in 2 Chronicles 34.
Where’s the Bad?
You can’t start fresh if you still have things plaguing your life, so King Josiah begins his reforms by asking what needs to be removed first.
Looking around Jerusalem, he was sure to see lots of options.
Pagan altars to false gods scattered throughout the empire.
Cultic prostitution on every street corner.
Improper Jehovah worship by so-called priests.
Mediums and spiritists practicing openly.
Where’s a reformer king to begin?
Fortunately, he did it all. He smashed idol worship, cast out soothsayers, destroyed the shrines and every high place, and even dug up bones from dead idolatrous priests just so he could burn them in the open.
Why? Because Josiah knew that if you wanted to kickstart a revival, you have to begin by purging your nation of all the bad.
Where’s the Good?
From there, Josiah worked to repair the Temple. He found the book of the Law (thanks to Hilkiah) and set about instituting proper worship. Carpenters, workmen, scribes — they all turned out to begin the work on the House of God.
One of the biggest actions he took was to reinstitute the Passover. It had been celebrated in the past, but not nearly up to the standard that it deserved. By making it a focal point of Jewish life moving forward, King Josiah pointed the people forward by reminding them of what God had done in the past.
This is the beginning of the restoration work from King Josiah, but it’s nowhere near the end. He still needed to do one more thing.
Where’s the Better?
There’s no way Josiah’s reforms could have been done on his own. A “revolution” by only one person is wasted unless you can get more people on your side.
That’s exactly what Josiah called on the people to do.
Well after the reforms were underway, Josiah stood and demanded the people make a commitment to God alongside himself.
It wasn’t just about the Temple worship and getting rid of the abominations; now, these people needed to be cement who they would be going moving forward.
That’s how you create a nation-wide religious movement that sticks: Not by hoping you’ll change, but by committing to the change.
The Three Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves
It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is, we all have the power to press the reset button on our spiritual lives and create a much-needed reform movement.
It begins the same way that it did with Josiah — by asking ourselves three very simple questions.
Where’s the Bad?
Usually, when we consider the “bad” in our lives, we focus on sin.
Rightfully so. If you have sin in your life, you need to get that out of your life ASAP.
But what about the temptation that is in our life? If you want to create long-lasting reforms, you need to make a commitment to rid yourselves of the temptations that are encouraging you to sin just as much as you do the sin itself.
If you wanted to lose weight, for instance, you’ll not only need to make a commitment to eating healthier and working out, but also finding a route home from work that takes you away from Taco Bell. I speak from experience.
Consider the difference between David and Daniel. Daniel decided very early in the exile that he would not defile himself with the king’s food. Done. No questions asked.
David allowed himself to be tempted. First, he went up on his roof. Then, he “gazed” at Bathsheba. After that, he “inquired” about her. Before he knew it, she was in his bed. Eventually, those little compromises would cost the lives of two people that were very close to him.
Consider the bad in your life, and remove it as far from your life as you can.
Where’s the Good?
What kind of Godly habits can you create in your life?
All of us have areas of our life that we can improve on. Maybe it’s reading the Bible every day. Maybe it’s involving yourself in other peoples’ lives. Maybe it’s inviting a friend to services.
Maybe it’s making the commitment to be present at more services, including Wednesday nights. After all, if Hebrews 10:25 says that it had become a “habit” for some to skip the assembly, can’t we make a new habit to be there?
Proverbs 27:19 is remarkably precise: “As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.”
What does your heart reflect? You’ll see it in your daily life.
Where’s the Better?
None of us can do this alone. What gives me strength on Monday through Saturday is the strength from the assembly on Sunday. I know that there are people I see every single week that will keep me going when times get tough. That fellowship is invaluable.
But if the fellowship falters, dominoes can start to fall. If I know that the people in services aren’t very committed to God, then I’ll start to doubt my own devotion at times. My strength suffers when others’ commitment runs dry, and vice versa.
We need each other. We need to make a commitment today that we will stand firm together, so that we all gain the strength we need on an everyday basis.
That’s exactly what Paul asked the church at Philippi for. When he told them he had two paths available — depart and be with Christ, or stay and be with them — he made the decision to stay based on the benefits for that church.
But he asked for something from them in return: Courage.
He asked that they would stand firm in the faith and not be deterred by the events around them. Let their faith hold in stressful times, because the most important thing we can do as a group is hold the line.
Without a commitment to standing strong for God together, any reform falls flat.
Will you stand with me?Last modified: January 10, 2022