2 Kings 22

2 Kings 22
Pastor Lawrence

Having the heinously wicked kings Amon and Manasseh for his father and grandfather, one would assume that Josiah would naturally follow in their footsteps, but the Lord had mercy upon him. Josiah became king when he was only eight years old after his father was assassinated. When he turned sixteen, the Lord opened Josiah’s heart and he began to seek the Lord. Then when he turned twenty, he began to tear down all the high places throughout Judah where the people worshipped idols crushing those idols into powder and burning the remains. He was twenty-six years old when he ordered the temple to be cleaned, repaired and restored in order to reinstitute sacrifices unto God.

Apparently, his advisors remembered the faithful ministry of his great-grandfather Hezekiah and had guided him to carry out this restoration and reformation in the land, for up till that time, Josiah did not have a copy of God’s Law himself, which was the expectation of God for all the kings of Israel and Judah. But somehow, over a span of fifty-seven years during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, God’s Word was suppressed by the king and even forgotten by the holy priests. Because God’s temple had been all but abandoned and left in a horrid state of disrepair, even those charged with teaching God’s Word had no idea what the Scriptures actually taught since they had never seen it with their own eyes. When Josiah’s secretary Shaphan reported that Hilkiah the priest had found the Law of God, notice that he didn’t say that “the” book had been found, but rather “a” book had been found, giving us the impression that at least the secretary had no idea that such a book even existed. And there is nothing in the text to suggest that Josiah was aware of the book either.

But similar to a new believer who had not grown up under the teachings of Scripture, when Josiah first heard the Word of God, he was immediately convinced of its truth and his heart was convicted of his sin and of the sins of his people. Because the sacrifices had not yet been reinstituted in the temple, there is no mention of an immediate sacrifice made, but the Passover is reinstituted in the following chapter. Instead, there is only mention of Josiah desire to keep the law of God and to continue to purge the evil from the land.

As believers today, when we hear God’s Word, we likewise come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit not only to look to the sacrifice that can cover over our sin, which is the sacrifice of Christ, but also to long to keep God’s law. In the Christian faith, it is not enough merely for a believer to know that his or her sins are forgiven, but also to be convicted of the truth, wisdom and power of God’s Word to transform our lives by the renewing of our minds. God did not save us from sin merely that we might thank God for our salvation, but so that we would be free to serve the Lord and be empowered by the Spirit both to desire and to do God’s good works. We see this very plainly in Josiah’s life, which was summarized not merely by what he believed, but also by what he did. In v.2 we’re told that “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.” This is exactly what James means when he says that “faith apart from works is dead,” for Josiah’s faith in the Lord was evidenced by good works, just as his father’s unbelief was manifested by his evil works. Indeed, the good news of the gospel frees us from the burden and guilt of our sin, but it also empowers us to serve our savior and to love God’s law.