As the ashes were being spread over the graves of Judah’s people Josiah stared to the north.
Shaphan looked at the king. “I do believe that’s the last of the Asherah poles in Judah. Shall we return to Jerusalem?”
Josiah pointed to another hill. “I see another Asherah pole in our brothers’ high place. Let’s continue the LORD’s work by ridding the entire land of idols. They should have no other gods before them, either.”
Shaphan squinted at the pole on a distant hill. “But, that’s in the land of Israel. You’re the king of Judah. God has judged them already. They’re not your responsibility. This is enough. Let’s go home.”
Josiah lowered his eyebrows as he slowly turned to face Shaphan. “They are every bit as chosen to be God’s people as you and I. It will please the LORD to give them assistance in returning them back to Him.”
Shaphan glanced back at the men. They were gathered near with nodding heads. “Very well, let’s continue to do the LORD’s work.”
A cheer rose as Josiah led the way.
After the crusade to rid the land of idols was complete Josiah called a meeting of top advisers. “Now that the exterior of Judah is clean I think it’s a good time to do some personal housecleaning, as it were.”
Maaisiah, Jerusalem’s mayor, stood. “Whatever your heart’s desire is, King Josiah, we’re behind you 100%.”
Josiah smiled. “The LORD’s glory has been neglected far too long. It’s time we cleaned the Temple. Restore it to its grandeur.”
A few days later Shaphan came to Josiah with some men. “King Josiah, the temple work is coming along nicely. We’ve found an excellent source for stone.”
Josiah smiled. “That’s great news, but, I expected as much. Why are you giving me such an early progress report?”
Shaphan motioned for Hilkiah to approach. “While cleaning the temple Hilkiah found the book of the Law of the LORD as given to Moses.”
Josiah leaned forward. His hands gripped the armrests on the throne. “The preserved words of God…please read them to me.”
Four men stepped forward. Each held an end of the scroll and carefully unrolled it. Shaphan’s voice trembled as he read God’s word. The message of prosperity was the reward if God’s people followed Him with their whole hearts. Impending doom was promised for falling away from this one true God.
Josiah tore his robes and fell to his knees. “Please, implore of the LORD for me. The nation of Israel has already been judged. Our fathers have been no better. Find out if it’s too late for us to save the nation of Judah.”
The next day Shaphan returned with Hilkiah. “The prophetess Huldah says the judgement of God on His people is imminent, dear king.”
Josiah buried his face in his hands. “I was afraid of that.”
Shaphan placed a hand on Josiah’s shoulder. “She also said that because you tore your robes and shed tears of grief you will not see this doom in your life. God will forestall His wrath until after you are dead.”
Josiah stood. “Assemble the people as soon as possible. I must read this to them. They must know how awesome our God is. His ways are sure.”
King Josiah, the last of the good kings of Judah. His reign began at the tender age of eight.
We met his grandfather last time, Manasseh, the bad-king-turned-good.
I think Manasseh’s son, Amon, was quite fond of the earlier version of his dad. He did evil in the sight of the LORD according to the Bible. He reigned all of two years before he was assassinated by his aides.
I’m pretty sure Manasseh poured himself into his grandson in his later, God-focused, life.
Josiah’s mom was probably a significant influence, too. She was likely so impressed with the changes in her father-in-law that she continued to school Josiah in the ways of God.
Those are my guesses as to why Josiah was so fervent for the LORD when nobody else was. God even led him to expand the borders of Judah to include parts of the former nation of Israel.
His downfall came from his apparent possessiveness of his nation. He didn’t want to let Egypt cross his borders to fight the Babylonians. In defiance he took a stand and was shot with an arrow.
Some would claim his death was “untimely,” but God knew Judah’s time for judgement had come. Since He promised it would wait until Josiah’s death it needed to happen when it did.
These Egyptians would make Judah a vassal state and set up who they wanted as the king until the Babylonians would carry all of the people off in bondage so the land would have the sabbath rest God’s chosen people never gave it according to His laws.
I’ve met a few people who feel the United States has crossed the point of no return as far as God rejecting us as a world power. I don’t see it that way.
Sure, we’ve done some horrendous things that should bring judgement. Who hasn’t?
But, the God of grace can bring about a change of heart in our leadership and the people to turn us around. If it’s His will.
I’ve read the Bible enough to recognize what is the more prevalent theme occurring in our lifetime. The clock of impending judgement on Satan and his followers is winding down.
It won’t be long before Jesus returns to establish the kingdom His disciple thought was going to happen when He came to earth the first time.
The patience of God does have a limit. I’m not setting a date here. I’m merely pointing out that it could happen at any time now.
I pray you restore your relationship with God through Jesus while you still can. When Jesus comes back again He’ll be all business.
Trust me, you don’t want to be on the business end of God’s wrath.
I’ll see you later. Wade