Josiah was the child king who proved to be more of a man than many of his predecessors. He was a young king who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2)
At the age of eighteen, he was troubled by the neglect and ill-repair of the Temple, and he took action to rectify the situation. (2 Kings 22:3-7)
Some weeks later he was introduced to a portion of Scripture that had been neglected and lost. Immediately he had the text read to him, and following this reading he sent his servants to find the female prophet who would teach him what to do next. (2 Kings 22:8-20)
Then, upon receiving the word of the Lord from from Huldah, Josiah played the role of the honorable servant and leader. He served God by gathering all the prophets, priests, elders and men of the region and had the sacred text read to them. Then, following this reading, he recommitted before the people to worship according to the covenant; he encouraged others in the worship service to do likewise. (2 Kings 23:1-3)
Then Josiah left the building and busied himself becoming the purger of Israel. Verse after verse of the 2 Kings 23 shows him cleaning house and taking out the trash. He removed the Asherah pole which had been erected inside the Temple; it was broken, beaten, and burned to dust. He then commanded the High Priest and his subordinates to bring out of the Temple all the vessels made for Baal, Asherah, and other deities. These artifacts were burned and their ashes were carted away from the holy city. He deposed the priests who were ordained to make offerings at the forbidden high places. Mediums and necromancers were put out of business. Then, that which began in Jersualem, was continued throughout the other cities of Judah. He demolished competing houses of worship, and any unrepentant priests were “sacrificed” or “slaughtered” in the name of the Lord. Then, following the purging, came the proclamation, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” That which was wrong was removed and replaced by that which was right and honorable. (2 Kings 23:24-24)
And for his diligent worship, Scripture gave him this eulogy, “Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
Josiah was an honorable public servant. He was a good leader. He was a honorable man. And what was his defining characteristic?
Josiah was a hearer and a doer of the Word of God
Josiah took action in restoring the Temple. Following this he was found busy reeducating himself and the leaders of his nation. Then he took action by “walking the aisle” and publicly recommitting himself to the covenant of God. This was followed by his passionate work in reforming worship both in the church and all throughout the land. For Josiah, holding the Word of God was not sufficient, reading the Word of God was not sufficient, and learning the Word of God was not sufficient. Josiah was not content until he, and all who fell underneath his authority, were doing that which God desired and required. Josiah was both a hearer and a doer of the Word of God.
So the application seems simple, doesn’t it? The Apostle James, who spoke for God, tells us that blessing comes from hearing and doing the Word of God. Therefore, let us not be satisfied with having multiple copies of God’s Word. And let us not be satisfied with hearing, reading, and singing the sacred text. Let us not even be content when we obtain a mastery of God’s Word that allows us to teach others. At this point, all we have become are really pretty Pharisees. No, what Christ desires is to have disciples who have, hear, sing, and do the Word of God, and because of their faithful worship and obedience they find themselves increasingly improved and blessed.
Therefore friends, what has the Lord been saying to you through your personal devotions? What did you learn from the sermon last Sunday? Do you have friends who are “sharpening you” with the Word of God over some area of your life? Enough hearing! Enough talk! Enough coming to worship and singing about God and his will! Now is the time of action, so prove your allegiance, please your Heavenly Father, obey his instructions and find yourself blessed. Knowledge puffs up and leads to sin, but godly action pleases the Father and leads to the blessing of you, your family, and your neighbors.
Let us be like Josiah. Let us be like Jesus. Let us do God’s Word and be blessed.