Summary: Josiah became king at a young age. One of his staff found a copy of part of the Old Testament, and read it to him. After Josiah got right with God, he got busy, taking prompt action to correct some of the wrongs around him.
Introduction: (Outline for a sermon preached at Prairie Home First Baptist Church, Prairie Home, MO on 5-26-2019) The Bible has stories of many memorials. Some of these include the altars built by various people, such as Abraham; others would include the Tabernacle and the Temple itself. Joshua was commanded to build a pair of memorials, one each on the land and in the bed of the Jordan River!
These all had one thing in common, and that was they were created. As such, they would eventually need repairs or decay into rubble eventually. There were also some things, that should never have been constructed and those memorials needed to be removed. Josiah, the last good or righteous king before what was left of Israel was carried off to Babylon, was aware of this and took some prompt action once he knew what to do. Let’s look further:
Text: 2 Kings 22-23, selected verses (omitted to conserve space)
The memorials to remember:
--The altars of stone: Abraham built several. He offered sacrifices to God and left the altars in place as memorials. Isaac built some and Jacob also built a few.
--The Tabernacle, designed to remind Israel of God’s leadership and providence. He got them out of Egypt and directly to the Promised Land.
--Solomon completed the Temple in Jerusalem and made sure it was dedicated to God Himself (2 Chronicles 6). Every time an Israelite came to worship, he or she had a chance to remember what God had done for Israel.
--Even the handing down of Israel’s history in both verbal and written form was a memorial. The children, if not taught truth from their parents, can and sometimes did fall easily for any number of lies and temptations.
--The constructed memorials had one thing in common—all would need repairs.
The memorials to repair:
--Josiah had heard the word of God when Shaphan the scribe read the “book of the Law” to him (see 2 Kings 22:8-13). The king had commanded the craftsmen to repair the Temple.
--Before this time, good kings like Joash and Hezekiah had made repairs to the Temple. Of note, these repairs all took place after the reigns of evil monarchs.
--Even Elijah rebuilt an altar to the LORD on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). God honored this.
--But God did not honor some of the memorials people constructed.
The memorials to remove
--2 Kings 23 tells how Josiah took prompt action to not only repair the Temple, which was needed, but also get rid of the junk his own (ungodly and idol-worshiping) father had put in the Temple itself. Josiah knew judgment was coming, and he got moving.
--Dismissed the pagan junk, priests, etc. and cleansed the Temple.
--Then he went to Bethel and destroyed the altar built by Jeroboam many years before. He fulfilled the prophecy of the “man of God from Judah” in” 1 Kings 13:1-4.
--Sadly, Josiah didn’t live to see his full potential but he gave us an example to follow:
Remember what God has done for us (oh, so much for so long!)
Repair what needs to be fixed
Remove the stuff, the junk, which needs to go!
May the LORD give us the grace and gumption to do what is right and pleasing in His eyes!
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).