King Josiah 2 Chronicles 34-35 "A Reign of Reform"

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–The New Yorker had a cartoon where a young boy in math class is standing at the chalk board with other students. The teacher has written the problem on the board for each student: 7 x 5 = __ . All the other students have the answer right: 35. But this boy has written 7 x 5 = 75. The teacher has obviously told him it’s wrong, and he says to her, “It may be wrong, but it’s how I feel.” That is a perfect metaphor of our culture. Responding to the cartoon’s message, Stephen Carter, a professor of law at Yale University says, “Faith is dead, reason is dying, but ‘how I feel’ is going strong.” We are not interested in the Word of God because we are not interested in the truth. We are not interested in God’s will, because we are wrapped up in our will and doing what we want to do. We want to go by our feelings which are much more to our liking. Many peoples God is their feelings.

If you live in a graveyard too long you stop crying when someone dies.

King Josiah “A Reign of Reform”  2 Chronicles 34 & 35

2 Kings 21:24-23:30

Manasseh 55 years, Amon 2 years, 57 year span from Hezekiah to Josiah  57 years ago, March of 1952 who was president of US? Harry Truman, Eisenhower would  be elected in Fall.

15th King, 16th Leader (Athaliah)  31 year reign  Reigned 640- 609 BC   Great Grandson of  Hezekiah

Jeremiah begins his ministry, Zephaniah also begins his ministry (Great-Great Grandson of Hezekiah) seems to be a prophet of preparation, Nahum prophecies destruction of Nineveh,(Jonah would be pretty excited) Habakkuk’s ministry will soon begin,

2 Kings 23:25   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.

A Righteous Reign

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

Josiah was just a youngen when he came to the throne. What were you doing when you were 8?

He is compared to the greatest King. King David and he walked rightly. His 31 year reign there is  nothing said that is negative on his character, nothing.  

Reform of the Land

3 For in the eighth year of his reign(16) while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year (20) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images.

Josiah begins his great reformation of the land. He begins to make changes, drastic ones.

The Zeal of the Reformer

4 They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.

 5 Then he burned the bones of the priests on their altars and purged Judah and Jerusalem.

 6 In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins, 7 he also tore down the altars and beat the Asherim and the carved images into powder, and chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah is serious, he has a zeal, a burning desire to get rid of all this junk, all the idols, and horrid things that were worshipped. He is on fire to take care of these things. He grinds the images to powder. There’s nothing left of them.  He even burns the bones of the priests that had offered  up & been involved in this wicked worship.  His zealousness for The Lord takes him out of Judah and into some of the cities of Israel.  All the way North to Naptali. He is wripping and tearing down everything false and all the idols are history.

          Notice his firsthand involvement. Then he returned to Jerusalem, after he layed waste to all these horrible items of false worship.  You may  have read of Shermans march through the south during the civil war, here we have Josiahs march through the countries.

          Josiah is an example of something we don’t often see to much of anymore. A person who is zealous for God.   

A little girl saw a sign in a church and was crying. It read, “The zeal of Thy house hath consumed me.” An elder asked why she was crying. “I’m afraid of the zeal.” He answered, “Don’t worry little girl; there’s no zeal in this place.”

He sadly nailed the truth. In many Churches today, there is no zeal for God, no burning passion for Him. Boldness & courage for Christ demonstrated in how we live.

Today so often "We are content to be the keepers of the aquarium, rather than be fishers of men."

Romans 12

9  Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.

     10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

     11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

Fervent in Spirit, to bubble, to boil over. Josiah was bubbling over! How about you?

Where is your spiritual temperature? Are you boiling over or froze over?

“Story as a young Christian”

Restoration & Repair of the ruins

8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah an official of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.

9 They came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the doorkeepers, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 Then they gave it into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord used it to restore and repair the house. 11They in turn gave it to the carpenters and to the builders to buy quarried stone and timber for couplings and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had let go to ruin.  (Break)

Other surrounding buildings were delapatated as well. The Temple and it’s surrounding structures had been neglected.


Rediscovery of The Word

Hilkiah Discovers Lost Book of the Law

14 When they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. 15 Hilkiah responded and 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.

16 Then Shaphan brought the book to the king and reported further word to the king, saying, “Everything that was entrusted to your servants they are doing. 17 “They have also emptied out the money which was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hands of the supervisors and the workmen.” 18 Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, “Hilkiah the priest gave me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.

19 When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes.

It’s remarkable that the Book of the Law should be lost in the temple! That would be like losing the Bible in a church building and not missing it for years. This scroll was probably all five books of Moses, but Shaphan “read in the book”; that is, he read the king-selected passages, perhaps from the Book of Deuteronomy. Shaphan gave the king a report on the building program and then, almost as an afterthought, told him about the newly discovered book. It’s to Josiah’s credit that he desired to hear what the book said, and when he heard it read, he was smitten with fear and grief. How people respond to God’s Word is a good indication of their spiritual appetite and the strength of their desire to please the Lord.

If indeed Shaphan read from the Book of Deuteronomy, then what Josiah heard read from chapters 4–13 would convict him about the wicked things the nation had already done. Chapters 14–18 would disturb him because of what the people had not done, and the covenant spelled out in chapters 27–30 would warn him of what God would do if the nation didn’t repent. In the terms of His covenant, the Lord made it clear that the nation would be punished severely if they disobeyed His law. So deeply moved was the king that he tore his robes and ordered the high priest and several officers to inquire of the Lord concerning Judah’s spiritual condition. Josiah was only twenty-six years old and had been seeking the Lord for only ten years, yet his response to the Word of God was that of a mature believer.

Most likely all the other copies of the scriptures had been destroyed by Manasseh and Amon. The two horribly wicked Kings. The scriptures have been under attack for centuries. SO many men have attempted to destroy the scriptures. All have failed.

Isn’t it interesting in our land how the Bible has been set aside. You can’t teach in school. It’s no longer a text book in our public schools, but, it is the one book you can get when you are in jail. Amazing isn’t it! Maybe if they had the book be the book of study again in school the prisons wouldn’t be so overcrowded! What logic!

Bible - not in schools but in Jails

Amos 8:11  “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord. 12 “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, But they will not find it.

Response to The Word & Responsible Servants

20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 21“Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord which is poured out on us because our fathers have not observed the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.”

Josiah sends for word from a prophet, a prophetes of  The Lord. He clearly understands the ramifications and consequences for the nations disobedience.

All of these men listed are good and godly men that surround the King. Jeremiah mentions these men and their children in his writings. These are the kind of good and God fearing people that are good to be around.  Men seeking to do the will of God. The kind of people we should surround ourselves with. (D’ship Groups, small groups etc)

Response from The Lord

22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had told went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, the keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her regarding this.

23 She said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to Me, 24 thus says the Lord, “Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the curses written in the book which they have read in the presence of the king of Judah.

25 “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and it shall not be quenched.” ’

26 “But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus you will say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel regarding the words which you have heard, 27 “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.

28 “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.

We see The Lord’s anger with the people.

Notice Vs. 26&27  look at how our Lord responds to Josiah, Josiah humbled himself, his heart was tender, (teachable,moldable) God responds throughout the scriptures to a humble heart. We see it over and over just here in 2 Chronicles.

•God consistently responds to those with repentant and humble hearts

Psalm 51:16  For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;

You are not pleased with burnt offering.  17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Response to the message from The Lord

29 Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The king went up to the house of the Lord and all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites and all the people, from the greatest to the least; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.

Josiah responds to what he has heard from The Lord. It moves him to further action. Josiah calls everybody together and they read the word of God together. A revival meeting.


 31Then the king stood in his place 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 with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant written in this book.

32 Moreover, he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand with him. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 Josiah removed all the abominations from all the lands belonging to the sons of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the Lord God of their fathers.

A recommitment to follow God and obey His Word. Judah and Israel.

Chapter 35

“Remember the Passover”

1 Then Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover animals on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He set the priests in their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. 3 He also said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it will be a burden on your shoulders no longer. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.

Apparently, the ark had been removed, possibly for one of two reasons: (1) It had been removed from the Most Holy Place during the reign of one of the preceding wicked kings, either by a king himself of by the priests to protect it from the king by hiding it; or (2) it had been removed while the Temple was being repaired.

The Right Worship – Just as prescribed in The Word of God

10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood at their stations and the Levites by their divisions according to the king’s command. 11 They slaughtered the Passover animals, and while the priests sprinkled the blood received from their hand, the Levites skinned them.

12 Then they removed the burnt offerings that they might give them to the sections of the fathers’ households of the lay people to present to the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. They did this also with the bulls.

13 So they roasted the Passover animals on the fire according to the ordinance, and they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans, and carried them speedily to all the lay people.

14 Afterwards they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron.  15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were also at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the gatekeepers at each gate did not have to depart from their service, because the Levites their brethren prepared for them.

16  So all the service of the Lord was prepared on that day to celebrate the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord according to the command of King Josiah.

17 Thus the sons of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days.

 18 There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

19 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign this Passover was celebrated.

This Passover was even greater than the one celebrated in Hezekiah’s time because “all Judah and Israel … were present”. Hezekiah’s Passover lasted two weeks, celebrated in the 2nd month.  Josiah’s Passover  was celebrated in the first month & the people offered almost twice as many sacrifices. At least 37,600 small animals were offered, plus 3,800 bulls (17,000 sheep in Hezekiahs passover).  It had been almost four hundred years since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings had held so great a Passover in all that time (30:26).

They get it right again.

Our Worship & devotion to God is to be first and foremost. Everything else comes in and tries to attack that. We have been created to worship God. We will be worshipping Him forever.

Worship must be right. Our hearts and minds ready to worship. No unconfessed sin in our life.  

The one Wrong in The Reign

 20 After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him.

 21 But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you.”  22 However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo. 23 The archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am badly wounded.”

 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in the second chariot which he had, and brought him to Jerusalem where he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

25 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. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and his deeds of devotion as written in the law of the Lord, 27 and his acts, first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

Josiah’s one mistake cost him his life. God’s way of taking him out before Judah is taken into captivity.  Here after it is down hill for Judah Josiah’s sons and grandsons are terrible leaders.

          Some of us can’t help but think  of where our own country is headed when we look at the state of our country today. It certainly doesn’t look that great.

Although the apathy of some Christians and the wickedness of society are discouraging, we should pray and remain confident. William Wilberforce was a great Christian and vigorous opponent of the slave trade during the early 1800s. As he surveyed the terrible moral and spiritual climate of his day, he did not lose hope. He wrote, "My own solid hopes for the well-being of my country depend, not so much on her navies or armies, nor on the wisdom of her rulers, nor on the spirit of her people, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the gospel of Christ. I believe that their prayers may yet prevail." Within a few years after he made this statement, the country he loved experienced one of the greatest revivals in modern times. We sometimes think we can’t make a difference. WE CAN!  Our Prayers matter! Our life lived for The glory of our God matters!

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