2KI 23: 25
Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did– with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah. His father, King Amon was assassinated by his own officials at a young age of 24, and so Josiah was crowned king to replace his father. Josiah was the 14th king of Judah, and was one of the best kings Judah ever had. He ruled the kingdom with the help of his mother, Jedidah.
Before him, there were only three kings who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, while the others, including his own father, worshipped idols and did not walk in the ways of the Lord.
In 2 Kings 22, we read that on the 18th year of his reign as king, while he was 26 years old, King Josiah undertook an important project: the restoration of the temple of Jerusalem which had been destroyed for many years. One day, King Josiah sent his secretary , a man named Shaphan, to the temple to speak with the High Priest Hilkiah about temple collections that were intended to be used for the project.
While in the temple, Shaphan learned from the high priest Hilkiah that they had accidentally found the Book of Law in the course of the restoration.
The Book of the Law, which contains all the instructions given by God to Moses , was a very sacred religious artifact for the Israelites that may have been lost during one of the military attacks done against Judah.
The High Priest Hilkiah gave it to Shaphan, who in turn, immediately read its contents. When Shaphan returned to the palace and he gave King Josiah an update about the temple restoration, he also said, “Hilkiah the High Priest also gave me a book,” and immediately, he read the Book of the Law before the presence of the King.
When Book of the Law was being read before King Josiah, a powerful spirit of conviction fell upon him, and he began to tear his robes, a biblical expression of deep remorse, grief and conviction.
Fearing the wrath of the Lord for his entire kingdom for all the sins they had done based on the Book of the Law, he sent five of his top officials to the prophets of Judah to inquire of the Lord.
“To inquire of the Lord” in biblical language means to receive a word of revelation from God through the intercession of the prophets.
King Josiah instructed his leaders, “Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the Book of the Law. They have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
Through a prophetess, a lady named Huldah, King Josiah received a revelation from God. God said through the prophet, “I will destroy the descendants of Judah because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods… But because your heart was responsive and you humbled before the Lord, I have heared you.”
Immediately after receiving the revelation of God, King Josiah ordered all the elders of the land, all the important officials of Judah, all the priests and prophets and all the people in the land from the greatest to the least , to gather in the Temple. There, King Josiah, led his entire nation in the presence of God.
King Josiah personally read before his people the Book of the Law, and led his countrymen to renew their broken covenant with the Lord–to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and his soul…
What followed was an unprecedented cleansing of the whole nation. He ordered all his temple officials, headed by the High Priest Hilkiah, to destroy all the articles in the temple that were used to worship idols. Throughout the kingdom, King Josiah desecrated all the places that were used to sacrifice other gods. He put to death all the pagan priests who did not worship the God of Israel. He destroyed the shrines for male prostitutes which proliferated in the kingdom and he desecrated Topheth, a mystical place in Judah where people would sacrifice their own sons and daughters to a god named Molech in exchange for wealth and fortune. King Josiah also made sure that all the mediums and spiritist were put to death. Finally, King Josiah ordered the entire kingdom to celebrate, for the very first time again, the Passover, a sacred celebration of worship that commemorated the supernatural escape of the Israelites from the Egyptians by crossing the Red Sea.
In 2 Kings 23: 25 we read, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength in accordance with all the Laws of Moses.”
My prayer for our newly elected Philippine President Noynoy Aquino and Vice President Jejomar Binay, and for us who consider ourselves leaders in our respective spheres of endeavors is that we shall all learn from the life of this great King Josiah.
He knew how to listen to the voice of the Lord. He had the courage to cleanse his nation from spiritual filth. He respected the voice of the prophets. He wanted his leadership to be pleasing to the Lord, first and foremost.
King Josiah reigned in Judah until he was 39. He was fatally wounded during a war with Egypt that abruptly ended his reign.
Even after his death, King Josiah was revered by his entire nation, and his memory as a great king never departed from the hearts of the people he served well, and the Lord whom he turned to with all his heart, soul and strength.