An eight-year old boy by the name of Josiah became king of the Southern Kingdom of Israel over 2,600 years ago and would rule his kingdom as the godliest king since David the giant slayer. You may have heard about David, the boy who killed a giant with only a sling shot and a stone. But how do I know the story of the boy king named Josiah or the story of David? Because I read about Josiah in the Bible, a book that God gave all of us to read so that we might know Him. The Bible is full of stories about God and His people, but also about people who refused to obey God.
The world of Josiah was nothing like ours for it was a time when there was no television, no computers, no radio or telephones, cars or jet planes, no bicycles or scooters; not even a stove or washing machine. Men walked where they needed to go if they couldn’t afford a beast to ride on. They fought their wars with swords and clubs instead of guns and bombs. This was a time when great beasts roamed the country side, and the only defense was strong legs to run or a sword, axe or club to slay the beast. Life for most people was more like a camping trip, which may sound like fun to us but in those days, every day was a struggle for survival. The kings lived better than their subjects but being king required constant diligence because there were enemies just beyond the next hill or across the nearest river or sea. You see there were many kings and many kingdoms in those days, and they grew rich by killing and stealing from their neighbors, and although the nation of Israel should have been different because it was God’s chosen, the reality was that they too fought to gain wealth and power just like their ungodly neighbors. Even Israel, God’s chosen people, was divided into northern and southern tribes who were often in conflict and jealous of each other.
This was the world Josiah was born into, the son of an evil king and grandson of Israel’s most wicked king, Manasseh. Josiah’s father, Amon, was killed by his own household servants after serving as king for only two years, because he was evil and wicked like his father before him. So what hope did Josiah have in becoming a good and godly king at the age of eight; how might he survive and prosper his people? Josiah would not follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps but instead “did right in the eyes of the Lord God.” Josiah chose instead to follow the guidance of his loving mother Jedidah and would do things of greatness that could not be measured by wealth and the riches born of battle and strife.
Josiah was only a teenager, when God spoke to his heart and told him to destroy all the statues of the evil and wicked gods that had invaded the kingdom of Judah years before. God also told Josiah to rebuild the temple of the only real and true God of Israel, whose name was so holy that it should not even be spoken. That’s right, the people of Israel were not even to say the name of God, it was so special. What made God’s name so special then and still today? It was because God created all the earth and everything that lives in and on it, above and below it. God didn’t need tools or lumber, brick or stone or anything else. All God needed to do was say the word and it was done. In fact, God created the earth, sun, moon and stars in only four days and then finished His work creating every living thing by the end of the sixth day. By the seventh day, God was finished and declared all that He had made as good and good it was. This is what makes God’s name so special.
Well, it was now time for Josiah to get down to work and start the rebuilding of God’s temple. Now in those days a temple was much the same as a church is today; a special place where people go to worship God. What is worship? It’s our way of telling God thank you for everything He has done for us, like creating the world in which we live. But, it’s so much more than that. God created something that is more important than all the stuff in the world, much more important than all the toys we received for Christmas or on our birthday, the homes we live in, the cars we ride in, the beautiful trees, mountains, lakes and seas. Do you know what it is? You can’t touch it, but it touches you, you can hear it in people’s voices and see it in what people do. Do you know what it is yet? It is the most important thing God created. It’s the one thing we all want and if we don’t have it, life isn’t worth living. I’ve made a list of things below, can you pick out which is God’s greatest creation.
Is it good food, having fun, being smart, being handsome or pretty, having a brother or sister, being free to do what we want, or is it… love?
(2Kings 22: 1-23:30; 2Chronicles 34:1 – 35:27; Genesis chapters 1 and 2)
Tomorrow we’ll learn more about how Josiah, the boy king, would rebuild the temple and a very surprising discovery he and his friend’s made