Josiah the Boy King

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.

4 They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars which were above them he cut down; and the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images he broke in pieces, and made dust of them and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.

5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.

6 And so he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali and all around, with axes.

7 When he had broken down the altars and the wooden images, had beaten the carved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

The story of Josiah is one of the great stories of the Bible. Josiah became a great king of Israel and one of its best. Instead of becoming one in a long line of bad kings Josiah had what it takes to step out of the pits of human depravity and to stand for God. It would have been so easy to fall into the compromise of the day. Worship how you wanted to and let everyone worship how they wanted to. But that had not worked. Instead considering Jehovah worship equal to worship of other gods, the worship of Jehovah had been abandoned while the false worship and continued to increase.

There had been the evil king Ahaz who had done wickedly and worshiped the most vile of the pagan gods. Then there was a short time of revival under Hezekiah but the revival seems only superficial. Then came king Manasseh who reigned longer than any other king, 55 years. The only problem was that he was also the worst of all the Kings of Judah. After 22 years of his reign the worship of Jehovah was completely abandoned. The ark of the covenant had been taken from the temple and an image to a pagan deity erected in its place. God gave the nation a reprieve, instead of destroying them then and there. He would wait another generation. Instead He inspired the king of Assyria to take Manasseh captive to Babylon where he sincerely repented and was returned to Jerusalem where he re-instituted the worship of Jehovah in the temple although the ark was still not restored.

Amon then followed his father as king. He was bad as his father ever had been, returning to the worship of Moloch, "the name of the national god of the Ammonites, to whom children were sacrificed by fire. He was the consuming and destroying and also at the same time the purifying fire." Easton Dictionary. But Amon was murdered in a conspiracy.

His son Josiah was only eight years old when he then became king. For the first eight years it was the high priest that had control over the county. But the text says that when he had reigned eight years (16 years old) that he began to seek after God of his father David. Sixteen is a young age to become king, but he did very well. What was the basis of his success?

  1. He sought the God of David.
    1. Psalms 105:4 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore!
      1. It is sort of like exploring a cave.
      2. When we were in Alabama a few years ago we went to a cave close by Huntsville.
      3. The opening of the cave was tremendous, one of the worlds largest openings I believe.
      4. We went back into the cave and just kept going, with each step there was more and more to see.
      5. To know God you must continue to seek Him out all of your life.
    2. Proverbs 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all.
      1. God gives wisdom to those who press hard after God.
      2. That is what made king Josiah such a great king.
      3. Wisdom and understanding come from God.
    3. Deut 4:29 "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (NKJ)
      1. It is not that God is hard to find, He is impossible to find.
      2. He is only seen by those to whom He reveals Himself.
      3. If you seek Him intellectually, you will never succeed.
      4. He must be sought out with the heart.
      5. That is why the young are particularly should seek Him, they have such heart, but often for the wrong things.
  2. He demanded a proper worship of the one true God.
    1. Early Americans understood that each person ought to be allowed to worship God as they understand Him.
    2. But they never believed that all ways and forms of worship were equal.
    3. Although there are many different groups worshiping God, yet God does not recognize them all as valid.
    4. In Josiah's day some thought very pluralistically.
      1. Even in the temple they had removed the ark of the covenant
      2. They had erected an idol to the god of the Philistines.
      3. The male and female temple prostitutes to that god had been built onto the very temple itself.
    5. But Josiah went back to the Word of God and therefore destroyed all those false idols and killed their priest and desecrated their altars.
      1. Not only in Judah and Jerusalem but even over into what used to be the northern kingdom of Israel.
      2. Some scholars believe that was a six year campaign.
      3. He destroyed some of the pagan temples that had been there since the days when Solomon built them.
    6. He reestablished the worship of Jehovah.
      1. He had the temple cleaned out.
      2. They removed all the pagan idols from the temple and burned them to the east of Jerusalem.
      3. He collected money for the repair of the temple.
      4. He even
  3. When they found the Word of God, he accepted it as such.
    1. During the period of cleaning and repairing the temple they found the book of Deuteronomy that had become lost.
      1. When the man read in it he brought it to the king.
      2. When Josiah heard the curses that God had declared to bring on the nation if they turned to worship other gods, he tore his clothes in great sorrow.
    2. He accepted the word of God as the word of God.
      1. Today they would call in the scholars who would dismiss it all.
      2. The biggest problem that we have in Christianity is the minimizing of the Word of God.
      3. In this nation we have not only removed the Word of God as an authoritative guide but we have removed it from the churches as well.
      4. If you want to here what the scholars say then you'll need to go somewhere else.
      5. I have not come to work out a compromise between you and God, I am here to tell you that God requires an absolute surrender.
      6. If you think there are many ways to God and that one religion is as good as another then I may rub you the wrong way.
    3. Young person, you do not need to wait until someone finds a long lost Bible.
      1. Get one and use it.
      2. Get involved in a Bible Study, either personally or in a group.
      3. If you go off to a big university, there will be several campus ministries, get involved in one.
      4. If you do not learn to stand for the truth of God's word you will fall for the lie of the deceivers.
  4. He repented and caused the nation to repent and did his best to comply with full obedience.
    1. He changed in response to the message of God's word.
      1. That is the real test of faith.
      2. Does it change you from the inside out?
      3. James 1:21-27
        1. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
        2. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
        3. 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. NKJV
    2. He caused the message to be proclaimed to the entire nation.
      1. He was not only concerned about himself but his people.
      2. They followed their king.
      3. The nation was spared during the days of Josiah.
  5. Part of the problem, part of the cure.
    1. Each student here today has the opportunity to be either part of the nations problem or part of the cure.
    2. I don't think there is much neutral ground.

I give you a challenge. Use your life for God. God has given you great blessings and privileges. Can you give back more that He has given you? I think not.

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at