…to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how 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 also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’ –2 Kings 22:18b-20a
Josiah inherited a kingdom in shambles. His grandfather Manasseh undid all the good his father Hezekiah had done for the nation of Judah. Hezekiah was a king filled with zeal for God’s glory Manasseh was a king filled with the zeal to satisfy his own lust. Hezekiah tore down the high places and established the proper worship of God in Judah. Manasseh brought corruption and sin to the nation of Judah. He rebuilt the high places His Father tore down and established all kinds of pagan worship, even the offering of children to the false god Molech. Manasseh himself sacrificed some of His children to Molech.
God saw all the evil of the Jews and decided he would judge them. Manasseh was defeated by the Babylonians in war and was dragged to Babylon with fish hooks in his nose. This was used by God to humble Manasseh and in the irony of God’s sovereign grace, Manasseh repented. Despite his repentance, God was still determined to judge all of Israel. Manasseh’s son who took his place died at an early age, leaving Josiah at age 8 the heir to the throne of Judah.
Josiah inherits the mess made by his father and grandfather and now rules the kingdom of Judah. Rather than follow his father and grandfather, Josiah by the sovereign grace of God repents and turns to God for forgiveness. Josiah’s heart was so broken over the sins of his people that he literally tears his clothes. God hears Josiah’s cry and forgives him and lets Josiah reign in peace and the judgment will come on the day of his death.
I believe this old testament story shadows the gospel in 2 ways. Josiah both shadows those who cry out to God in repentance and faith. He also shadows Christ, our King, who holds back the wrath of God from being poured out for us.
Dear reader, you need to know that God gives grace to the humble. No matter your past, family, or position God will forgive every repentant sinner. If you turn from your sinful ways and trust in the saving work of Christ he is faithful and just to cleanse you from all your unrighteousness. Just as Josiah cried out to God and found peace, so I beckon you to cry out to God and be reconciled to Him through faith in Christ.
As long as Josiah lived the judgment of God was withheld from Judah. Is not Christ the greater Josiah? Eventually, Josiah died and judgment came upon the nation of Judah. Yet our King, Jesus Christ, lives forever and ever. Those who are found in Christ never have to worry because we have an everlasting King that will never perish, who pleads for his saints, and who will lead us into life everlasting.
Place your faith in the King everlasting.
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