King at Eight Devo
Daily Reading: (2 Chronicles 34:1-2):
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 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.”
These verses are a quick life summary of Josiah. He was only eight when he became king. And it seems like his kingship must have started suddenly, because who plans to king a boy at eight? If this was your initial thought, you’d be right. Life doesn’t generally go according to plan. Josiah’s father Amon was assassinated after reigning for only two years (2 Kings 21:19-24).
For one hundred years, ever since the time of Ahaz, Judah had been a vassal of the Assyrian empire. Their homage and allegiance is with the Assyrians. Cultic practices had been imposed on Judah that suppressed or obscured their religious identity. There is an opportunity at this moment in history, for a restored identity in the Lord as the Assyrian empire had fallen into chaos.
In the midst of an entire nation who had done evil, the Lord raised up a boy who would not follow the false gods of the pagan nation of Assyria, instead follows the ways of his ancestor David. That is a real influencer right there. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but a true Godly influencer will follow after Truth (2 Chronicles 34:2).
Josiah is eight when he starts to reign, and he does right immediately, but his relationship with the Lord takes some time to develop another eight years. “In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3a).
So, what grand thing has Josiah done yet? Other than following after Truth, nothing is recorded yet. It takes him eight years as king, until he actually seeks God. Four more years of following the Lord before any recorded action, what does this mean? He is resting in relationship with God. He doesn’t make things happen for the sake of making things happen. He is growing in relationship with God and God is preparing him for what comes next. An absence of activity can simply be the preparation that is needed for a breakout at the right moment. Think of the ocean tide, when a tidal wave of God’s activity is about to burst forth, there is first a longer absence of the waves. Be excited for those periods of rest and growth because it will bring forth something incredible for God’s glory.
“Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 34:4-8).
Josiah means “Jehovah heals”. What God did through Josiah was to heal the nation, to remove the idols, and restore the covenant between God and His people. Even in the name of the king that God raised up, He was pronouncing what He would do, bringing about healing to His people.
The incredible thing is that while the Law foretold death and judgment, Josiah will introduce the people to hope, the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35). This is God’s ultimate plan of salvation, Jesus as our Passover Lamb. Josiah first needs to reinstated the Old Covenant Law with the people before he will offer the Passover Lamb and that is what he does.
Now in 2 Chronicles 35 is the pinnacle to me of Josiah’s accomplishment. “Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah provided for all the lay people who were there a total of thirty thousand lambs and goats for the Passover offerings, and also three thousand cattle—all from the king’s own possessions” (2 Chronicles 35:1,7).
Josiah instituted back the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35:16-19) to remove the sins of the people which points us to Christ. But in Josiah’s death, we are pointed to Christ once again. Josiah was great, one of the greatest Old Testament kings it seems, but even he could not save his people. Jesus succeeds precisely where Josiah failed. By taking God’s wrath on Himself, Jesus delivers His own people from it. He is a king with no limit to his ability to save. Through Josiah and all that he tried to do we are shown the greatness of the Lord Jesus – our King who can and does finally and fully reconcile us to God forever.