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In the book of the Kings of Israel we encounter one noble hearted king by the name of Josiah who set his heart to the task of purity. When the Word of God was found he commanded that it be read, and upon hearing the Word of God he tore his clothes in anguish at the lack of obedience and trust that was present in his country. And the King set himself to the task of removing the idolatry.
The Scriptures record:
And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. (2 King 23:13)
What is interesting here is that we have a record of idolatry that dates back to the days of Solomon. How grave and sad that this country should have been plagued for so long by an untrue heart that would not fully commit itself in faithfulness to God.
But even more shocking is their refusal to honor the memory of God’s most miraculous deliverance:
“And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.” (2 Kings 23:21–23, ESV)
We have a history of idolatry dating back to the days of Solomon, but we do not have any history of celebration or remembrance of the goodness of God, and this sad tale dates back even before King David to the time of the Judges! I was shocked to read that not even the great-hearted King David commanded Israel to keep the Passover. As I was reflecting upon King Josiah I thought to myself, "Surely, King David is the first and last true faithful King. Surely the Scriptures will point from Josiah back to David." But they didn't. As hard to believe as it may be, as great a man as King David was, the Passover was neglected from the time of the Judges. What was proscribed by the Word of God was ignored by the great King David, himself. So sad...
Truly King Josiah was a great King, worthy to sit at the same table as the great King David. Perhaps Josiah should sit at the head of the table of the Great Kings. He removed the corruptions of idolatry and ordered the return to faithful Worship. In fact, the Bible makes this special mention of this special King:
“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, ESV)
King Josiah stands alone in the book of the Kings of Israel. What distinguished him was a two-fold approach to honoring God. First, he removed all temptations to idolatry from his country and from among his kin. Second, he pursued the correct and prescribed worship of God by keeping the Holy Days and Worship observances as commanded.
Let us strive to be faithful. Let us remove the hindrances and temptations from our lives. Let us agressively pursue the worship of God. Let us be like Josiah.