Summary: In the life of King Josiah he did all he could do to bring Judah back to worshiping and obeying the Lord God of Israel even to the point of calling them together to recommit to faithfully serving the Lord. Did they really commit??? Let's find out.
Today we’ll be talking about Josiah and his striving to bring Judah back into fellowship with the Lord God Almighty and out of idolatry.
Where does Josiah fall in the timeline of the history of Israel?
- The Lord chooses Abram
- The patriarchs
- Bondage in Egypt
- Moses and the Exodus
- Wandering in the wilderness – the Lord provides
- Into the Promise Land with Joshua
- The time of the judges (Samson, Gideon, Deborah, Samuel, etc.)
- The time of the kings
- The divided kingdom – northern kingdom (Israel) – southern kingdom (Judah)
- The Assyrians take the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity
- Josiah is king of the southern kingdom Judah
- Josiah dies and Judah immediately goes back into idolatry
- Three months later Judah is oppressed by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt
- Within a few decades Judah is in exile after three invasions by Babylon
So, when we speak of King Josiah we know where he falls in the history of Israel
Please turn in your Bibles to 2 Kings 22:10-23:3 which we will read in a few minutes ...
Give brief history of the life of Josiah from 2 Kings 22, 23
- King at 8 years old
- At age 16 he starts seeking the Lord
- At age 20 he starts purging Judah of idolatry
- At age 26 he starts clearing and repairing the temple of the Lord
- The book of the covenant is found in the temple
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read 2 Kings 22:10-23:3
(Expound on this passage as you read through it.)
Did you know that the Prophet Jeremiah was a contemporary of King Josiah?
Jeremiah was actually King Josiah's father-in-law!
Even though the hearts of the people of Judah were steeped in sin it must have been wonderful for him to have served with a king like Josiah!
In 2 Chronicles 35:25 NIV we see that when King Josiah died ...
“Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments.”
The Lord appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet when Josiah was 21 years old.
Please turn in your Bibles to Jeremiah 3:6-10 which we will read in a few minutes ...
Now remember, Josiah tore his robes and wept when he heard what was written in the book of the covenant. Then he called all of Judah together to pledge their faithfulness to the Lord and His law.
With that in mind let’s read Jeremiah 3:6-10
Jeremiah 3:10 NIV
“‘In spite of all this, [Israel’s] unfaithful sister, Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but only in pretense,’ declares the Lord.”
“In spite of this …” In spite of what? In spite of seeing Israel’s unfaithfulness and the destruction that came upon them because of their spiritual adulteries …
Listen to how the Amplified Bible translates Jeremiah 3:10 AMPC
“‘But in spite of all this, [Israel’s] faithless and treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me in sincerity and with her whole heart, but only in sheer hypocrisy [has (Judah) feigned obedience to King Josiah’s reforms],’ says the Lord.”
My goodness! What a wonderfully awful piece of history!
Wonderful because of King Josiah's heart of obedience for the Lord and awful because the people of Judah only pretended to have changed their hearts and instead kept worshiping idols.
What can we possibly learn from this?
What’s the main point we want to get from God’s Holy Word today?
Obedience to the Lord cannot be made mandatory by fiat or decree!
Righteous King Josiah repented – many of the people faked repentance
The people all pledged to follow the Lord faithfully but as soon as King Josiah was dead they returned to worshipping idols
That's not the only time a king tried to force faith upon their people.
On February 27, 380 AD Roman Emperor Theodosius decreed in the Edict of Thessalonica that all Roman citizens were now Christians!
Really? Were they instantly all followers of Jesus?
Does John 3:16 say that God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that if any King, Emperor, President or Prime Minister decreed that all of the people in the country are Christians that they then become Christian?
Absolutely, positively, NO!
At the judgment throne of God will we be asked what country we lived in so that the Almighty can check to see if we lived under enforced Christianity or not?
Absolutely, positively NO!
Just look at this part of the verse we just read, “‘… but only in sheer hypocrisy [has (Judah) feigned obedience to King Josiah’s reforms],’ says the Lord.”