Josiah was the sixteenth king to rule in the Southern Kingdom; his dates were 640-609 b.c. He became king at the age of eight, after more than half a century of moral and spiritual decline under his father (Amon) and grandfather (Manasseh), two of the most evil kings in Judah. Josiah’s reign lasted for thirty-one years.
Unlike his ancestors, however, Josiah
did that which was right in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 22:2), despite an environment that worked against him.
Born of a wicked king, beset with temptations to follow in his father’s steps, and with few counselors to encourage him in the right way, Josiah nevertheless was true to the God of Israel. Warned by the errors of past generations, he chose to do right, instead of descending to the low level of sin and degradation to which his father and his grandfather had fallen. He ‘turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.’ As one who was to occupy a position of trust, he resolved to obey the instruction that had been given for the guidance of Israel’s rulers, and his obedience made it possible for God to use him as a vessel unto honor.-Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 384.
Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-33. What were the components of Josiah’s reform, and why would they be central to any attempt at spiritual reformation, be it corporate or personal?
Josiah’s reform consisted of two main components: First, it was getting rid, as much as possible, of anything and everything that smacked of idolatry. That is, he worked to remove the evil practices that had arisen in the nation.
But that was only the first step. An absence of evil or wrong practices doesn’t automatically mean that good will follow. Second, after hearing the book of the law read to him, the king made a covenant before the Lord
to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book (2 Chron. 34:31).
Read 2 Chronicles 34:32-33. What do these verses tell us about the power of a good example, especially among people in positions of power and influence? Think long and hard: What influence do your words and actions exert on others?