2 Kings 22-23 is the account of Josiah the 8 year old king of Judah and how he grows into a man of God. When we left off Kings Hezekiah was sick and asked the Lord to heal him and extend his life. God hears his prayers and grants him 15 more years to live. The are not productive years, for he acts foolish during those years with prideful boasting of the riches in the Temple. He also has a son names Manasseh, the most wicked immoral king Judah ever had. He worshipped the god Molech and makes Judah sin by throwing their sons into the fire to appease Molech. Now it makes you wonder sometimes, if it would have been better for Hezekiah to have died earlier instead of getting a longer life? We would not have had Manasseh or Amon the two wicked idolatrous kings rule over Judah; but then again we would have had Josiah as king either. Amon doesn’t reign very long as king, I suppose the people got tired of all the idolatry. Anyway Josiah becomes king at 8 years old. At 18 we read that he tells all the money collected in the Temple tax from the people to be used to restore and repair the dilapidated Temple of Solomon. Incidentally; Jeremiah begins his prophetic ministry during this time. [See Jeremiah 1]
A sad commentary happens when the priest Hilkiah tells Shaphan the scribe that he has found the “book of the Law” in the ruins of the Temple. Now before you get to thinking too far in advance – the Temple had not been attacked by outsiders, but had been neglected by the people of God. I have seen this happen in my time as pastor, where the Church facility had become a disgrace to the Lord and the public because it had not been cared for properly. Some may be saying right now that the Church isn’t the building – sure but it is the place of worship and people come to it to worship – what statement does your church facilities say about your commitment to God? The community does notice such things. The sad thing here is the Temple [Church] is in ruins from neglect, yet there was plenty of money to do what was necessary – in fact they didn’t even keep strict accounting of what was spent! Back to the Book of the Law, most likely it is the Book of Deuteronomy. When it is read Josiah tears his clothes in sorrow and repentence.
I have an outline for you here:
Remember, read, repent, restore and reform.
This is what happened when Josiah heard the Word of God. It sound like it could be a prescription for revitalization and revival. Josiah this child King will bring glory back to the House of the Lord, and begin tearing down the “high places” that his grandfather and father built and maintained. It is said that Josiah did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord. Josiah had to tear down the high places that even Solomon built for Ashtoreth and Baal. The reason they were built was Solomon married many foreign women as a means to keep peace on his borders; but the result was apostasy for Judah.
Josiah does extensive reforms during his short time as king [31 years]; the problem was that it was a result of Josiah coming under convictions and repentance not the people. For as soon as Josiah dies [because of an ill-advised war] the people and priesthood return to idolatry with Baal.
In chapter 23:21 a very confusing statement – Josiah commands that the Passover be reinstituted, for it had not been observed since the time of the Judges. What is the world? That’s over 500 years of failure to remember what God did miraculously at the Red Sea and Egypt? Scripture also tells us that Josiah removes the “mediums, spiritisms, teraphim, idols and all the abominations.” How low Judah had fallen; yet we cannot say much because if we look at our own churches and nation, we will be indicted for our idolatry – oh that we would remember the Word of the Lord, Read it and Repent of our sins, begin to restore the glory of God back to His place of worship and institute Reforms for the Church and the Community. Sadly, Josiah was the las king to have favorable comments from the Lord about him.