Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3

2 Kings 22:3-23:30; Acts 21:37-22:16; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 18:11-12

I love Josiah.  What is there not to love?  His introduction from yesterday pretty much says it all: "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left" (2 Ki. 22:2). Today's reading expounds on that commendation.  Josiah responds to the written word of God immediately and fully, and he's passionate about cleansing the land of idolatry and impurity.

My favorite part about Josiah, though? His integrity.  He's confronted by the law and sees the failure of the nation (which cannot be attributed to him), and yet still accepts the responsibility for making change.  He is warned that disaster is imminent and unavoidable.  "My anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched" (2 Ki. 22:17), the Lord says.  Destruction and exile are Judah's future, but Josiah himself will escape "because [his] heart was responsive and [he] humbled [himself] before the Lord" (vs. 19).  He's off the hook.

Here's the great moment, though.  JOSIAH DOESN'T STOP.  He doesn't rest on his laurels, on the good work he's already done, nor does he sit back, as other kings have, saying "Oh, well, as long as I avoid the disaster" (as we saw Hezekiah do just yesterday).  No.  Josiah sees that things are wrong in Judah (and Samaria, see 2 Ki. 23:15-20) and sets out to right them.  Not for the sake of appeasing God and not for the sake of ensuring his own security, but because it is necessary and right.  He goes to great lengths to follow God's law, both in cleansing Jerusalem (vs. 2-7) and in driving out evil from the rest of the land (vs. 8-14), but also in celebrating the Passover, the remembrance of God's great act of redemption (vs. 21-23, especially vs. 22).

Josiah does everything right, and he does everything right because that is what God required.  Even with the truth of 2 Kings 23:26-27 ("Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger..., [saying] 'I will remove Judah also from my presence'"), Josiah remains faithful.  He knows the end of the story - knows that it's an unpleasant end for his nation and his people - but he doesn't waver.  He's not faithful for what he can get out of it; he's faithful in spite of what will come.

How truly commendable.  Makes me wish I had another son to name.

- Sarah Marsh

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1 comment:

  1. My 5 yr old grandson is named Josiah Paul Rose. What good strong names he has. I want him to know these stories of King Josiah's faithfulness to God & how he was was pleasing to the Lord.