2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35
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In 2 days we will begin reading the Book of Jeremiah. I am pointing this out now because what we read today is back ground for Jeremiah. Don’t you love reading this chronologically (or as close to chronological as we can get?) IMHO….it all flows for me reading it this way.
We get a review about King Josiah. He was 8 when he became King. He was 16 when he began to seek The Lord and began to reform Judah at the age of 20. King Josiah followed the ways of The Lord and gave instructions for the Temple to be renovated from all those years unused and neglected. King Ahaz (Josiah’s great great grandfather had nailed the Temple doors shut so no one could enter!!) Ahaz’s son, King Hezekiah reopened the Temple and followed in the ways of The Lord. However, King Hezekiah’s son Manasseh and Manasseh’s son Amon both ignored the Temple’s significance and did not follow the ways of The Lord. Now Josiah (Amon’s son) begins to restore the Temple. During the restoration, the Book of the Law is found. Josiah learned ALL that was in the Book of the Law and realized how far his nation had grown from God. He repented, and humbled himself before The Lord. He was determined to reform his nation, and got rid of all the idols, and statues built to other gods.
Josiah also sent the priest, Hilkiah, who found the Book of the Law to the Prophetess, Huldah who was able to tell them that Judah would end in destruction, in exile, and in captivity BUT she also told them that BECAUSE Josiah humbled himself before The Lord that Josiah would be “gathered to his fathers and buried in peace” so his eyes would not have to witness all the disaster in Judah. LOOK at the difference ONE man can make!!!
Josiah renewed the Covenant with all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem before God in the Temple. The Asherah poles, idols, and all articles made to worship any other gods except the ONE TRUE God were all destroyed. Josiah maintained his focus!! He reinstated the offering plate that God had originally intended for the Temple. The money would pay the workers, the High Priest, Hilkiah (possibly Jeremiah’s father….see the connection….isn’t is awesome!!??) It took reading the Book from the Lord to see how disobedient they were being. Immediately after seeing what God’s law was, Josiah and the priests repented from their ways, humbled themselves and reformed, not just their deeds but their hearts.
I am not sure what all was in the “Book of the Law”, but it definitely included the Book of Deuteronomy with the references to ….you shall love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind….. One thing for sure the “Book of the Law” had been neglected just as the Temple had been. I don’t know if there were multiple copies or just one because Jewish tradition indicates that God’s Word was passed verbally from generation to generation. With so MANY corrupt Kings in Judah (and Israel) most people probably had NO clue what was in the book and the bad Kings did not want them to know. Josiah KNEW the Book of the Law was precious and needed to be taught again…..once he himself knew what was in it. We are so blessed to have such easy access to the Bible, the Word of God. I know we have several Bibles in our home and then there is the wonderful world of all the online Bibles and commentaries. Josiah is a huge example to me in how important the Bible, the Living Word of God is in our daily lives.
We have been reading the Bible together for about 7 months. I am living proof that the Word of God Transforms. But if I did not read it and relied on my past teachings, my own opinions, my own thoughts…… I would get myself into a lot of trouble because I would not know what the Word says. I would be “tossed like the waves of the sea” and possibly open to things that “seem OK in our worldly view” but are totally wrong in God’s eyes. All of us were raised with certain teachings, rituals, traditions, theology, and doctrine that may have NOTHING to do with what the Word of God says. BUT….if we don’t read the Word and ASK God to SHOW us what HIS Word means…..we can never be transformed more into HIS image. Without HIS Word…we will be open to following false prophets, false doctrines, false theology, and having our own idols. I am so glad God has blessed me with a hunger to KNOW HIM more and more each day. AND I am so blessed that each of you are reading this and asking HIM the same things for your lives.
The death of Josiah was so very said; however judgement on Judah by this time was already in motion. When we read the book of Jeremiah, 3 big events will occur during it. They will refer back to today’s readings.
THE BATTLE OF MEGIDDO (609 B.C.) between Judah and Neco, the Pharaoh of Egypt. This is when Josiah was killed.
BATTLE OF CARCHEMISH (605 B.C.) 4 years later, during Jehoiakim’s reign they were being used by Egypt. In this battle, the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, this caused the first deportation of the Jews in 20 years.
We will see the CAPTURE of JERUSALEM BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR. They will capture the city and the Temple and exile the greater part of those who were left to Babylon.
Josiah was one of the greatest kings, yet his own son fell right into step with all the pagan teachings (it says in the reading his fathers…the ones before Josiah). This was a reminder of how critical it is to teach our children or the children in our care God’s Word, so it is ON THEIR HEARTS!! “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Tomorrow we will read Zephaniah and then dive into Jeremiah…so remember what is happening to Judah from today’s reading because Jeremiah lived during the time of the Kings who followed Josiah.
Good news and good readings ahead of us….stay tuned for more of God’s Living Word
Sharing HIS love,