In the reform of King Josiah, the priests who were commissioned to repair the temple found the book of the law. When the discovered book was read to the King, he was so greatly affected that he tore his clothes. He then convened a commission to look into the matter. The prophetess Huldah, the wife of the keeper of the priest’s wardrobe, was consulted. Her report, captured in 2 Kings 22:15-17, said, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, thus says the Lord, “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.”.’”
Huldah also had a personal word for King Josiah in 2 Kings 22:18-19, “Regarding the words which you have heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord.”
In 2 Kings 23:1-3, we are told how King Josiah responded when it was reported to him what the prophetess Huldah had said. Apparently, he was not discouraged by the message at all; He clearly understood the heart of God. Instead of being despondent over what he had heard, it intensified his resolve to reform the nation. Although the message explicitly said that the disaster would not occur in his lifetime, he was still concerned about what would happen to the nation. How unlike King Hezekiah was he! Second Kings 20:19 shows us a somewhat similar situation. The Prophet Isaiah had warned Hezekiah of a future judgment that would come upon Judah because of his pride – He had shown some envoys from Babylon all that the nation possessed. When warned that the nation would be carried into exile in Babylon in the distant future, Hezekiah was somewhat nonchalant. His thoughts and attitude were, “If it would not happen during my watch, it is alright with me.” What a myopic man!
In 2 Kings 23:1-3, we see how different Josiah was. Although he was told that the disaster that would happen to Judah would not occur in his lifetime, he did not live myopically. He took steps to reform the nation. He immediately summoned all the elders from Judah and Jerusalem. He also went up to the house of the Lord and called for an assembly. All the men of Judah, all the inhabitants who dwell in Jerusalem with him, the priests, the prophets, and all the people regardless of status, came together at the temple. They came to hear the content of the book of the covenant made known to them. Josiah wanted them to hear about the basis of the reform he would undertake. So there at the gathering, the king and all the people renewed their commitment and covenant with the Lord. Verse 3 said, “The king stood by the pillar 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 all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered the covenant.”
Josiah had shown himself to be an unselfish king. He could have said to himself, “Since the disaster would not happen in my lifetime, why worry!” But he obviously was not. His primary concern was to get the nation into the right relationship with God and to walk obediently to all His instructions. His aim was to get them to amend their wrongs. He himself would set the pace for the change and get the reform going. What an attitude to emulate! Like Josiah, our concern must always be for God and His desire. We must seek to bring about the best attitude of people toward God. May the word of Paul in Philippians 2:3-4 shape our attitude towards God and one another. May it be that we will “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Monday – Proverbs 16:3
Commit your works to the Lord,
And your plans will be established.
Tuesday – Proverbs 15:22
Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counsellors they succeed.
Wednesday – Luke 12:20-21
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Thursday – Proverbs 19:21
Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the Lord will stand.
Friday – James 4:13-14
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
Saturday – Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
Sunday – Luke 14:28-30
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
All Scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995.
By Ps Clarence Goh