Understanding His story helps us to understand that His-Story is our Story!
Since the creation of the first man, trust has been an issue that has caused many problems. From the moment Eve and then Adam placed their trust in the words of Lucifer and then in the fruit of a tree in order to gain wisdom and become like God, mankind has had severe trust issues. Hurt and negative experiences have taught many people to keep their trust behind a wall that not very many people get through. This can be a problem as it transfers from man to God. People often have such distrust in other people that they hesitate, whether consciously or unconsciously, to trust the Lord. Especially for their eternal future. In my experience, people who cannot trust usually have a major need to try to control their own future.
That is why Bible literacy is so important! In His Word, we can learn to be trustworthy and we can learn to recognize others who also can be trusted. The Scriptures give us some great examples.
Moses trusted Joshua. In fact, Joshua was so trustworthy that Moses handed him the leadership of the entire nation of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. Jacob deceived people a number of times and ten of his twelve sons deceived and turned against one brother. But Joseph! He was trustworthy and everyone could see it! Even idol worshiping Egyptians! How about Caleb and his armor bearer? David could be trusted and he trusted Jonathan, Saul’s son, with his life! How about Ruth trusting Boaz? Boaz proved to be trustworthy. Or how about Esther? Mordecai trusted her with not only his life, but with every Jewish life in the Persian Empire! And she proved to be trustworthy. Hezekiah trusted Isaiah.... We could go on and on.
I wonder who is on the Lord’s list of trustworthy people? I want to be, don’t you?
As we continue to study through God's Word chronologically, we are leaving our study of Hezekiah, Isaiah, Hephzibah, Shebna and King Sennacherib. The ten tribes of the north are in captivity scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire and Judah is hanging on by a thread. Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, became one of the most evil kings that ever ruled in Israel and was the most evil king that Judah ever had. But, he humbled himself and repented after he was arrested and put in jail in Babylon. Put on trial, he is proven innocent and is restored to the throne of Judah. He then made many of the changes that his father had made before him. He removed the idols and restored the worship of Yahweh. Before he repented, he did so much damage to the nation of Judah, that he is still known to this day as an evil king. God made a statement of Grace in that God saw his humbleness and answered his prayer. God forgave him of his sin and restored him and gave him a chance to correct the wrongs that he had done (2 Chron. 33). The Lord is faithful and will forgive those who seek His forgiveness. Even an idol worshiping, selfish, murdering king! If He can forgive Manasseh, we can be sure He will forgive us when we ask Him to. But Manasseh teaches us something else… There are consequences to our actions and Manasseh’s son, Amon, turned out to be a very big consequence of his sinful life. Manasseh was the son of the most righteous king Judah ever had and Manasseh’s son was the most wicked king that Judah ever had. His name was Amon. But here is the thing that you probably never thought of before… Josiah was six years old when Manasseh died and someone had already been pouring the Lord's teachings into him. It makes sense to think that after he repented, Manasseh had a profound effect on his young grandson, Josiah. Josiah would become king only two years after his grandfather’s death at the age of eight (2 Kings 22:1).
Students will gain an understanding of the life of King Josiah, the last good King of Judah and the applications that the Lord teaches through his example.
The Word of God has the power to affect lives and change people’s minds.
God often works ahead of time to prepare people to come to the Lord in repentance.
God always has a remnant of people who serve Him no matter how evil or dark the times may appear.
Introduction - King Josiah’s Father
When Manasseh died, his son, Amon, became king. He most likely had not been raised in the admonition of the Lord. Manasseh probably did not repent until late in his reign as king. Mannasseh reigned for fifty-five years and was king longer than any other king of Judah. Amon was twenty-two when he became king. (As stated above, Josiah would have been six years old when his father, Amon, was crowned King.) Amon had probably spent most of those twenty-two years without someone to teach him about Yahweh. And, if Manasseh turned to the Lord while Amon was in his late teens or early twenties, it may have been too late for Manasseh to lead his son in the ways of the Lord. Amon became a very evil king and persecuted and killed the prophets. We can assume that Manasseh did not repent before Amon grew up. In fact, the Bible introduces us to Amon with these words, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done. For he walked in all the way that his father had walked, and served the idols that his father had served and worshiped them. So he forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.” (2 Kings 21:20-22). His reign as king lasted only two years and the people revolted. He was assassinated by his own servants in 641 BC. 2 Chron. 33:22 says, "…he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them" (KJV). The Scriptures are very pointed about the fact that Amon followed the evil ways of his father and not the repentance that occurred late in his life.
The Jewish Talmud tells us that "Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse] Amon sinned very much." One thing is for sure… There is more to that whole story than we know! The people rose up only two years into his reign and he was killed by those he trusted the most! We can only wonder what he did when he may have been in temporary leadership while his father was on trial in Babylon or what the prior history was between Amon and the people before he became king. What we do know is: Amon was so hated that the people of Judah, people who so easily fall into idolatry and rebellion against the Lord, did not want to follow him. Now that is saying something! But his son is a different story. Josiah!
1. King Josiah Growing Up…
“He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2).
Who was King Josiah and how did he become the godly man he became? His name in Hebrew was actually Yoshiyahu, which means “Yahweh supports him!” He lived from 641 to 609 BC and he was the King of Judah. Once again, we have a very young man that is made King of Judah. Josiah loved the Lord and the people of Judah loved him! Someone was pouring God into the young king as he grew and became a teenager! He reigned thirty-one years, but it was when he was fifteen that he began to fully understand who the Lord was. You have to keep in mind that at this point there were no Scriptures for him to read. He only had the word of mouth passed down through those around him. One of which may have been his grandfather, Manassseh, when he was younger. But the Scriptures tell us that it was, “During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David” (2 Chron. 34:3 NLT).
Like his grandfather before him, Hezekiah institutes major religious reforms. At the age of thirty-six, Josiah begins to restore the Temple. Now it all begins to make a little more sense for us as a network of Godly men and a woman named Huldah are revealed. These servants of the Lord are trusted implicitly by the king! 2 Kings 22:14 says, “So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her.” Josiah never doubts anything that any of these people say to him and he trusted them with what was probably a large amount of money. “Now in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam the scribe, to the house of the Lord saying, “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may count the money brought in to the house of the Lord which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen...” (2 Kings 22:3-5a) No accounting of the money was needed! That is trust in someone who has proven themselves trustworthy. There were probably other godly influences on the young king as he grew up through his teenage years (which are called “still very young” in 2 Chron. 34:3).
Josiah is another example of the importance of training and teaching teenagers the Word of God. Another important fact reiterated here is that it took more than one person to guide and direct this young man and that is still true today with any teenager. They do not think of themselves as “still very young” and today’s world tries to tell us that teens should be allowed to decide about God and morality without being brainwashed by parents or the church. But God commands us to, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). The warning about what the world is teaching parents is also there in Proverbs - “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them” (Prov. 22:5). Thorns and snares… I wonder what things there are that parents and even the church are allowing to infiltrate our children’s (and teen’s) lives that we see as acceptable, progress, or enlightened, that the Lord see as thorns and snares?
That’s a question to ponder and here it is: If God were raising our children, what decisions would he make for them? How would He raise them? --- That’s how we should be doing it! You may ask, “How do we know?” Look at David, Hezekiah, Josiah and others! Learn the Word of God and you can’t help but to learn what God expects when it comes to the next generation. As was stated in the previous lesson, “They need adults to pour into them... It takes a church”. For King Josiah, it looks like it took a Temple, if you will. The godly remnant of leaders that did not become like everyone else during Manasseh and Amon’s reign were the ones who apparently had the most influence over Josiah? What do you think about it?
2. King Josiah and the Missing Book
“‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord’” (2 Kings 22:8).
One thing we can remember is that God always has a remnant of people who follow Him. Even in the darkest times, there were always people who were passing the knowledge of the Lord forward to the next generation. Men like Shaphan and Hilkiah… Hilkiah was entrusted to oversee the repairs of the Temple and he was responsible for removing the money, gold, silver and probably other treasures that have been stored in the Temple as they were received as tithes and offerings from the people. He then disbursed it to the artisans and workman. Hilkiah gives a general report at one point that simply says, “‘Everything that was entrusted to your servants they are doing’” (2 Chron. 34:16). In other words, “Your trust in these people was well placed.” Josiah gave the vision and then waited to see the outcome instead of micro managing the process. The desired outcome was to see the worship of Yahweh restored to the Temple and the people turn their hearts back to the Lord! He knew he had people that knew what they were doing. He knew their character and level of honesty. He knew their hearts were turned toward the Lord and serving Him! It does not even appear that he worried about it at all. I think I might have struggled with hands off more than Josiah did… But the Lord had other things for Josiah to do.
And the Lord gives him the tools he needed to do what God desired of him. The Word of God was found. 2 Kings 22:8, “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it… Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.” Much debate over whether it was the first five books of the Bible which would be the Torah or if it was only the Book of Deuteronomy. Either way, what Josiah gained from hearing the book read to him, was the knowledge that God had sworn that if Israel refused to follow the Lord that He would make their land desolate place (2 Kings 22:19). After he heard the Word of God, he sent his trusted top officials, who were also religious leaders, to a woman named Hildah. She was a prophetess. And the Lord used her to speak the Word of God to these men. She obviously had a reputation for speaking the true Word of God and Josiah absolutely trusted Hildah and believed her words were from the Lord. She told him that God would not bring judgment upon Judah during Josiah’s lifetime. “Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord. Behold, I will gather you to your fathers and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, so your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place and on its inhabitants.”’” And they brought back word to the king.” (2 Chron. 34:27-28).
We can’t be sure which passages affected Josiah the most, but the reference the Lord gives us through Hildah of what Josiah did upon hearing the Word sounds very much like Lev. 26:33-35, “You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. ‘Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it.” The power of the Word of God (see:1 Cor 1:18) had such an effect on Josiah that he rips his clothing in anguish as he falls under conviction both for himself and for his people. Perhaps he heard Num. 11:23, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.’”
When you see the big picture of Josiah’s life you can see that the Lord had been preparing Josiah for this moment all of his life. The Lord put the right people around Josiah. The Lord put him on the throne early in life before he could be corrupted by his evil father. The Lord kept the kingdom safe. It was not unusual for a king to be attacked and tested as soon as he took the throne, especially if the king was eight years old? The Lord allowed the Word of God to be discovered and then read to the king. And Josiah was ready to hear the Word of God! Often times, we look at people we know or know of and think why don’t they believe the Word of God? But sometimes it could be that God has been allowing events to happen to bring them to the point Josiah was at. A place where the heart has become tender and receptive. A place in which they finally realize that there is nowhere else to turn. It is God’s timing and not ours! I had such an encounter just recently with a young man I would have thought would have even spoken to me. We talked for two hours and he is on the verge of being saved. But I had not done any of the work of planting. I watered and I hope to harvest. The power in the Word of God is why we study the Bible chronologically from cover to cover. My job is not to interpret and explain every detail of the Word and I know that I am not right 100% of the time! (Maybe 99.999%? Just kidding!) The Lord knows I don’t even know enough to fill a thimble. His Word is deep and I believe that what the Lord has called me to is to encourage people - you, to see how true the Word is and then dive off into the deep end and learn it for yourself by reading it and hiding it in your heart! We do not need to be quoting modern authors more than we can quote God’s word. Let the power of His Word affect you like Josiah did. The results will be obvious to everyone just like they were for Josiah. I hope you are not studying only from a commentary, preaching or teaching? You could be missing “The Book”! Read the Word!
Just a thought: Why didn’t they go to Jeremiah for a prophecy? Jeremiah began to prophesy in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign. The book was found in the eighteenth year, so Jerimiah was around, but we do not know why he was not in the picture at this time. Jerimiah never prophesies against Josiah. He only mentions him as a starting point for his ministry. Maybe he had not gained public attention for his prophecies yet? We can only wonder...
3. King Josiah’s Reforms and the Idol Worship of the People
Young Hezekiah began to exercise his power as king and repaired the Temple and then he reinstituted the Passover celebrations which had ceased when his great grandfather, Hezekiah, died. King Josiah did his best to lead the people back to the Lord. His list of changes and the idols he removed is impressive. Maybe more than any king, including Hezekiah, had done?
Then the king went back home to Jerusalem and instituted the Passover for the people to observe. He also sent word for all of the people to come to Jerusalem and then he himself stood before the people at the Temple and read the words of the Book to the people. “The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant” (2 Kings 23:3). The people made the king believe they were turning to the Lord, but the idol worship in Israel had deep roots and in spite of having a godly king, it would not be stopped among the people. In fact, it had never stopped at any time from Saul (the Kingdom Era), all the way up to the very last king of Judah (the Divided Kingdom Era).
4. King Josiah’s Mistake
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall (Prov. 16:18 NLT).
Nobodies perfect! Not even good King Josiah! What was Josiah’s mistake? I think it might be summed up like this: He put his faith in people instead of the Lord. It happened when he was thirty-nine years old. You need to remember that he had been given a promise from God through Hildah that his days would end in peace (2 Chron. 34:28). So, when the King of Egypt, Neco, came through Judah headed north to attack the Babylonian army and help what was the last of the Assyrian Empire, Josiah decided to go out and face these superior forces. Perhaps he thought the Babylonians would appreciate his efforts to help them? Perhaps he believed that because of the promise and all of the reforms he had made, the Lord would give them victory? Maybe it was because he thought the people really had turned to the Lord? As we study further in the Scriptures, we will see how untrue that was! Whatever the reason, Josiah would not listen and pride got the better of him.
Neco told him that 'Elohiym told him to go. V. 22 tells us it was God speaking through the Pharaoh. (God can speak through anyone!) But Josiah did not believe him and went out to meet him. As the Egyptians moved up the Mediterainan coast, they met at Megiddo (The future site of the Battle of Armageddon mentioned in Rev. 16:16). On the battlefield, a stray arrow hit just the right spot where two pieces of armor come together and he was mortally wounded. They carried him back to Jerusalem and at the age of thirty-nine, he went home to be with the Lord. Josiah produces three sons who will each become king of Judah for a short time. The King of Babylon will control Judah after Josiah’s death. But that is another lesson.
Study and Application - Finding Jesus in Every Page:
What does this lesson teach us about God? Man? Sin? Grace?
Josiah was loved by the people. “All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentations to this day. And they made them an ordinance in Israel; behold, they are also written in the Lamentations” (2 Chron 35:24b-25). He was the boy king that led Judah in the ways of the Lord. There is plenty of archeological evidence to suggest that idol worship never stopped in Judah. Not even for a little while when Josiah was king. The people really did love him and they mourned for him. But they did not truly follow him. There is so much we could apply to our own lives from Josiah, but if I have to pick one it would be this: I want people to love me! I would like to be admired! I wish no one ever became upset with me… But the truth is what I really should want is for people to see me living for the Lord and be inspired to live for the Lord in part because of my testimony. May my life be an offering to you O Lord! Use it for your glory and may people see the image of Christ when they see me… How about you?
I almost forgot... That promise of dying in peace given through Hildah? Josiah threw that away when he would not listen to the Lord and let his pride dictate his actions… Be careful! That could be any one of us!
God speaks through Hildah, the prophetess, to teach us all that humility before the Lord is what we need.
God acts by protecting and blessing Josiah for all of his life.
God reveals His Grace by giving Josiah a promise of peace and forestalling the captivity of Judah.
How important is it for children to be taught that God is their first priority?
At what age do you think children can truly begin to seek the Lord as Hezekiah did (not just knowledge but begin to understand the deeper spiritual things)?
What did Jesus mean when he said “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:13)? Explain “Do not hinder” - in what ways could a child be hindered?
Answers to: How much do you know?
Copyright © 2018 Michael & Angela Anderson - Prodigalmike.com, Connections Bible Study - Connecting God's Word From Cover To Cover - Finding Jesus on Every Page! "We receive no compensation from any websites listed in this site or from any part of this website. We just love Jesus and want to spread his Word! All opinions in the website are my own! Always check the things we say against what the Bible says and decide for yourself." - Mike & Angie - All Rights Reserved.
STAY CLOSE! STAY CLEAN! READ THE WORD!