Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left.
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images. Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and he chopped down the shrines that were above them. He shattered the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images, crushed them to dust, and scattered them over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. He did the same in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and on their surrounding mountain shrines. He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the shrines throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 34:1-7
Josiah was known as a great reformer in Judah. He ascended to the throne at a young age after his father, who had been an evil king, was assassinated. He was the last of the kings of Judah who honored Yahweh and followed His commands. He was also a king that was anticipated from the very beginning of the split between the ten northern tribes of Israel and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south.
In 1 Kings 13, we read an account of a prophet from Judah who entered Israel during the reign of Jeroboam I. This man delivered a prophecy against the altar and idol that Jeroboam built in Bethel as an alternate worship site for the northern tribes of Israel. In his prophecy, he mentioned a coming child named Josiah who would restore the worship of Yahweh and burn the bones of the priests of the Bethel altar on the same altar someday.
Though he was a king of Judah, Josiah’s reforms extended into the land of the now exiled northern tribes. He tore down the places of idol worship as far north as the land of Naphtali, one of the northernmost tribes. His reforms became a foreshadowing of the day that God would bring the twelve tribes of Israel (and many other nations) back together under their One True King, Jesus. For an eight-year-old child, this was a heavy calling to fulfill and one he was not probably fully aware of when he first took the throne.
We never quite know what God’s destiny is for us. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are greater than ours. We simply need to be open to letting Him guide us through every decision we make.
- Are you open to listening to God’s plan in your life, even when it is beyond what you could even imagine at this point?