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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.”—2 Kings 22:11 (HCSB)
Do you remember what you were doing at eight years old? Learning to multiply and divide? Playing video games? Managing a lemonade stand? Whatever you were doing, Josiah probably has you beat! According to 2 Kings 22:1 (HCSB), “Josiah was eight years old when he became king.” That’s right, friends, Josiah, a descendant of King David and an ancestor of King Jesus, became king over God’s people at the ripe, mature age of eight! He hadn’t even reached Bar Mitzvah age yet, but he was crowned king. And get this, he was actually one of the few who had a heart after the Lord.
His reign came after several years of neglect. A lot of rebuilding had to be done, starting with the temple. It was in shambles, so Josiah initiated a program to restore the temple to its former glory.
This young man was one of the most important kings to have ruled over God’s people. A revival took place under his leadership, which for a short while turned the people’s hearts back to the Lord. By all accounts, Josiah’s reign was a success. But as we shall see, his political career was what it was by virtue of his character.
As the workmen began to clear away the debris from the temple, they came across something so vital and indispensible to the people of Israel, something that had been discarded and forgotten: a copy of the Scriptures. They dusted it off and started to read it to King Josiah. As God’s Word was being shared, Josiah became aware of how far he and his people had strayed from the Lord (2 Kings 22).
The king was so convicted by God’s Word that he did what so many kings before him failed to do: He made the Word of God visible again. Then he did a thorough “house cleaning” by sweeping through the kingdom and ending the practices that were contrary to God’s ways. Next, he saw to it that the entire kingdom celebrated the Passover Feast. This young king pulled out all the stops to make sure that the people of God were properly honoring God, as He deserves to be honored (2 Chronicles 35).
Everything in the kingdom changed dramatically, all because of the discovery of God’s Word. The Scriptures had a radical effect on Josiah and once they were taken into his heart and mind he would never be the same.
In John 1, we read that when the fullness of time had come, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NASB). God made His Word visible for the entire world to see in the person of Jesus Christ!
The Christmas season is a time to rejoice and celebrate because it is the moment in time where God sent the light of the world, the Word in the flesh, Jesus, to restore us to a right relationship with Him. And just like it did for young King Josiah, God’s Word should so deeply impact our hearts that it moves us to action!
It should be the source of life-change that convicts us to the core and causes us to take sin so seriously that we “clean our house.” It should also be that dynamic that inspires us to pull out all the stops as we remember and celebrate who God is and all that He’s done for us. And it should bring us to the place where we are moved to see it take hold in the lives of the people around us; our families, loved ones, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and anyone else we come into contact with.
Over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, do like Josiah: make the Word of God visible for the people in your life to see. Allow the light of the world to shine brightly through you, letting it guide people to Jesus!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.