Josiah - Thy Word was Found

Read Time: 10 Minutes

What was your reaction when you found the Word? You may have read it before. You may have been taught from the Word before. But, when you found it, when it finally lightened your life and became living and real, what was your reaction? Some of us grew up with the Word taught to them but there is always a time when the light comes on.

Josiah, who began to reign when was eight years old (about 531 B.C.), didn't have the written Word to live by. We know this because during the 18th year of his reign, when he was having the house of the Lord repaired and cleaned up, the Word of God was found. Prior to this time Manasseh reigned for over 50 years and even though he repented Judah was not wholly converted back to believing God. They didn't have the Word of God to follow; they didn't have the directions. We know this by the great extent to which Josiah had Judah cleaned up.

II Chronicles 34
:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign,
    and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD,
    and walked in the ways of David his father,
    and declined neither to the right hand,
        nor to the left.
:3 For in the eighth year of his reign,
        while he was yet young, [16 years old]
    he began to seek after the God of David his father:
    and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places,
        and the groves,
        and the carved images,
        and the molten images.
:4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence;
    and the images, that were on high above them, 
        he cut down;
    and the groves,
    and the carved images,
    and the molten images, 
        he brake in pieces,
        and made dust of them,
        and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
:5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars,
    and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
:6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh,
    and Ephraim,
    and Simeon,
    even unto Naphtali,
        with their mattocks [a type of double ax/adze] round about.
:7 And when he had broken down the altars
        and the groves,
        and had beaten the graven images into powder,
        and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel,
    he returned to Jerusalem.
:8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign,
        when he had purged the land,
        and the house, [that took 6 years, Josiah is now 26 years old]
    he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah,
        and Maaseiah the governor of the city,
    and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder,
    to repair the house of the LORD his God.

Josiah begins cleaning up Judah in his 12th year and Jeremiah begins his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah. They have a lot of work to do physically, and it takes them 6 years to do it. Spiritually there is much to overcome as well.

Jeremiah 2
:4     Hear ye the word of the Lord,
            O house of Jacob,
            and all the families of the house if Israel:
:5     Thus saith the Lord,
            What iniquity have your fathers found in me,
                that they are gone far from me,
                and have walked after vanity,
                and are become vain?
:6     Neither said they,
            Where is the LORD
            that brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
            that led us through the wilderness,
                through a land of deserts and of pits,
                through a land of drought,
                    and of the shadow of death,
                through a land that no man passed through,
                and where no man dwelt?
:7     And I brought you into a plentiful country,
            to eat the fruit thereof
            and the goodness thereof;
        but when ye entered,
            ye defiled my land,
            and made mine heritage an abomination.
:8     The priests said not,
            Where is the LORD?
            and they that handle the law knew me not:
        the pastors also transgressed against me,
        and the prophets prophesied by Baal,
            and walked after things that do not profit.
:9     Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD,
            and with your children's children will I plead.
:10   For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see;
        and send unto Kedar,
        and consider diligently,
        and see if there be such a thing.
:11   Hath a nation changed their gods,
            which are yet no gods?
        but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
:12   Be astonished,
            O ye heavens, at this, 
        and be horribly afraid,
        be ye very desolate, 
            saith the LORD.
:13   For my people have committed two evils;
        they have forsaken me
            the fountain of living waters,
        and hewed them out cisterns,
            broken cisterns,
            that can hold no water.

Even after all of the great things God has done for His people they had forsaken Him and made their own religion. They had given up on God and built their own methods of sufficiency. However, God is the only true supplier spiritually and physically, anything man does will be inadequate.

Jeremiah 10
:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself:
    it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
:24 O LORD, correct me,
        but with judgment;
        not in thine anger,
            lest thou bring me to nothing.

When man goes about trying to figure it out himself it will not work or be sustained. Only God has the answers and the supply. When we realize this and turn to God we will see results.

Jeremiah proclaimed the salvation of the Lord and consequences of Israel and Judah's disobedience. Even though God said there would be opposition to his words he persisted. When the scrolls containing the Word of God was found there was much distress for they realized that they had not been doing God's Word.

II Chronicles 34
:14 And when they brought out the money
        that was brought into the house of the LORD,
    Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.

:18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying,
        Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book.
    And Shaphan read it before the king.
:19 And it came to pass, 
        when the king had heard the words of the law,
    that he rent his clothes.
:20 And the king commanded Hilkiah,
    and Ahikam the son of Shaphan,
    and Abdon the son of Micah,
    and Shaphan the scribe,
    and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying,
:21   Go, enquire of the LORD for me,
            and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah,
        concerning the words of the book that is found:
            for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us,
            because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD,
            to do after all that is written in this book.

They inquire of Hilkiah a prophetess and she delivers the message from God saying that even though evil will come upon Judah because of their transgressions Josiah will live in peace because his heart was tender toward God.

:27   Because thine heart was tender,
        and thou didst humble thyself before God,
            when thou heardest his words against this place,
        and against the inhabitants thereof,
            and humbledst thyself before me,
            and didst rend thy clothes,
            and weep before me;
        I have even heard thee also, 
            saith the LORD.
:28   Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers,
        and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace,
        neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place,
        and upon the inhabitants of the same.
    So they brought the king word again.

Josiah's reaction, initially, was distress because he realized they weren't really doing the Word of the Lord. After God tells him he is forgiven because his heart was right before God he took action:

:29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah
    and Jerusalem.
:30 And the king went up into the house of the LORD,
        and all the men of Judah,
        and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
        and the priests,
        and the Levites,
        and all the people, great and small:
    and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant
        that was found in the house of the LORD.
:31 And the king stood in his place,
    and made a covenant before the LORD,
        to walk after the LORD,
        and to keep his commandments,
        and his testimonies,
        and his statutes,
        with all his heart,
        and with all his soul,
    to perform the words of the covenant
        which are written in this book.
:32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem
        and Benjamin to stand to it.
    And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God,
        the God of their fathers.

Josiah did the only right thing after the Word of God was found. He had it read among all of the leadership and people. He had it proclaimed everywhere so that the people could know and believe. In our own lives we must do the same.

Jeremiah's reaction to the Word of God being found:

Jeremiah 15
:16 Thy words were found,
        and I did eat them;
    and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:
        for I am called by thy name,
            O LORD God of hosts.

Many of us have bibles aplenty around us. The Word is readily available, you can even read it online. Imagine a time when there was no written copy that you could read. Imagine the joy and rejoicing when the Word was found. Jeremiah just devoured it. We eat to sustain our physical bodies. Devour the Word to sustain our spiritual relationship with God. You cannot live by the Word and have the Word live in you if you do not devour it. I am not saying be fanatical but put it on, renew your mind to it, think the Word, live the Word, speak the Word—it is quickening, it is life.

Josiah continues to clean out the workers with familiar spirits (devil spirits) and wizards and the images and idols out of Jerusalem and Judah and causes the people to observe the Passover in his 18th year (chapter 35). God gave him peace all his years. Even though he is surrounded by huge superpowers they left him alone because God protected Judah.

Josiah reigned 31 years in Judah. His end was untimely, a mistake on his part. He was told that he would have peace all of his days, but he let circumstances influence his actions. Necho King of Egypt came to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates. Now, Egypt is southwest of Judah and the Euphrates River is Northeast. Necho's army has to go through Judah to get to Carchemish (see the map of Abraham's Journey). When Josiah came out against Necho he told him that he did not want anything to do with him.

II Chronicles 35
:21 But he [Necho] sent ambassadors to him [Josiah], saying,
        What have I to do with thee, 
            thou king of Judah?
        I come not against thee this day,
        but against the house wherewith I have war:
            for God commanded me to make haste:
            forbear thee from meddling with God,
                who is with me,
                that he destroy thee not.
:22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him,
    but disguised himself,
        that he might fight with him,
    and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God,
    and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
:23 And the archers shot at king Josiah;
    and the king said to his servants,
        Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
:24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot,
    and put him in the second chariot that he had;
    and they brought him to Jerusalem,
    and he died,
    and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers.
    And all Judah
        and Jerusalem
    mourned for Josiah.
:25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah:
    and all the singing men
        and the singing women
    spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day,
    and made them an ordinance in Israel:
    and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. [not the book of Lamentations that is different]
:26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah,
        and his goodness,
        according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
:27   And his deeds, first and last,
    behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

God says of Josiah:

II Kings 23
:25 And like unto him was there no king before him,
        that 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;
    neither after him arose there any like him.

Josiah is the last believing king of Judah, much to their demise.

Let us find the Word and eat it.

Jeremiah 15
:16 Thy words were found,
        and I did eat them;
    and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart:
        for I am called by thy name,
            O LORD God of hosts.

Let the Word be the joy and rejoicing of our hearts.