This morning as I flipped open my Bible I landed on 2 Chronicles 34. In 2 Chronicles 34 I have 3 distinct words marked. These three words explode off of the page every time I turn to this text
2 Chronicles 34:1 tells us “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem”. Wow! Eight years old and king…that is incredible. My son is 5 and I could not imagine him to be prime minister at 8 years old.
To understand why he became king when he was so young we need to set the historical context. Do you know Saul; he had all kinds of problems as king and then David came on the scene and became king. David wanted to build God a temple but God said you’re not going to do it, but I will let your son Solomon do it. So Solomon built the temple after he got the temple built we see in 2 Chronicles 9:31 that Solomon died. After Solomon died his son Rehoboam becomes king, the people came to him and asked if he was going to make like difficult for them with taxes now that the building projects are done. Rehoboam went to the elders and leaders and asked their advice and they said let up on them, after that Rehoboam went to his younger buddies and asked what they thought and they said lay it on them, make it more difficult for them then your father did. So Rehoboam went back to the people and said I am going to lay it on you and make it even more difficult than before. At that point the kingdom split into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The Northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes and the Southern Kingdom consisted of two tribes.
Rehoboam became the head of the Southern Kingdom and Jeroboam became the head of the Northern Kingdom. In order for you to see this I want to show you something hold your finger in 2 Chronicles and turn back to 1 Kings 13. In verse Kings chapter 12 will see that the king of the north makes a statement that he didn`t want the people of the northern kingdom to go to the southern kingdom to attend the feast and make sacrifices to the God as they might not return. That is vs. 12:27 to the beginning of verse 13. In his fear he built alters for people to worship in the northern kingdom 1 at Bethel and the other at Dan. He built two golden calves and told the people that these are the golden calves that brought you out of Egypt. So that gives us the setting, so here is Jeroboam getting ready to dedicate the alter at Bethel. Take a look at 13:1 “a man of God from Judah, from the southern kingdom travels to Bethel and arrives at the dedication service by the word of the Lord, in other words, God told him to go. Vs. 2 the man of God cried out against the alter, by the word of the Lord. “O alter O alter. Make note that the man of God is not talking to the king he is talking to the altar. The man of God says two things 1. Behold a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name. 2 he says on you alter he (Josiah) shall sacrifice the priest of the high places who burn incense on you.
The point of all this is that this scene here is 931 BC. The man of God gave a prophecy.
We are at verse where at 8 years old Josiah became king. If you read chapter 33 you would see that Josiah was born. There are two people in chapter 33 that will help you understand this chapter what is going on. One is Manasseh, he did evil in the sight of the Lord, he built alters to Baal, he sacrificed his sons, he practiced witchcraft. He was an awful king. When Manasseh died Amon became king and he did evil just like his father and he lasted 3 years and then the servants killed him. When Amon died Josiah became king.
Here is what I want you to see here. When was Josiah prophesied to be born (931BC)? When we are looking here at 2 Chronicles 34 it is 640 BC.
I’ll do some quick math here. Josiah was 8 years old he becomes king so in 648 BC Josiah was born. He was prophesied in 931 BC. 931 – 648 = 283 years. In other words before Josiah was born God said he would arrive on the scene and 283 years later Josiah steps out on to the stage of history ready to do what God had created him to do. We know he was going to destroy all the alters, he is going to burn the bones of the priest. What I want you to see here is that God created Josiah for a purpose. When things were looking bad God sent a man of God to prophecy the day is coming when Josiah will come and make things right. So at 8 years old Josiah becomes king…8 years old…very young.
In 34 I see three key words that I believe apply today. The first is that Josiah began to SEEK the Lord, vs. 3. Later in verse 3 we see that he began to PURGE, and the third is found down in verse 8. Josiah began to REPAIR the house of the Lord.
Take a look at 34:3 “in the eighth year of his reign he began to seek the Lord. So at 16 years old something happened to cause Josiah to seek the Lord.
What motivated him to seek the Lord? The Bible says in Romans 3:10-11 No man seeks God, no man understands God. So how do we get to God if we don’t seek Him? John 6:44 says no man can come to the Father unless He draws him. Did you know that there were several prophets speaking at this time, there was Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk. Go back and read Zephaniah 1 and you will see the message that was brought by Zephaniah, God is going to rule you and judge you for your disobedience to God.
I believe that Josiah heard the message of these prophets and began to seek the Lord.
Let me quickly ask you a question, was it not the Word of God that grabbed you and caught your attention. 1 Peter 1 “you were born again of the living word…The word of God had an act in our rebirth experience. We studied the word, we were taught through Sunday school, youth group etc. That Jesus died for our sins. We learned about God. When we began to process that information and the Holy Spirit began to work in us we started to transform. I believe the word of God took root in Josiah and he began to seek the Lord.
In the 12th year he began to purge, cleanse, and purify the temple of all the false idols. I think there is a relationship here…that when people begin to seek the Lord they begin to transform and change, they begin to purge the old things, they clean their act up and quit doing things that held them from getting close to God.
Think about your own transformation, when you first accepted Christ you started to purge the old sinful things from your life.
As we begin to transform we have to surrender our whole life to him, a process to seek him and purge what is keeping us from drawing near to God.
There is a process here, God sent people into Josiah’s life to help him through the process.
Where are you in this process are you seeking God, are you cleaning up and purging the things from your life.
God wants you to give him all those things that cause you to not move forward in this process, He wants you to completely surrender everything to Him.
The third thing is Josiah begins to repair the temple, Josiah was sending money to the priests to fix the temple but they were taking the money. In his 18th year they begin to repair the temple and found the book of the Law, this is seen in 2 Kings 22. They find the book of the law and Josiah send his men to find out what that is all about and he learns that they were going to face judgement for not following the book of the law. So Josiah in 34 19 shows us that Josiah tears his clothes and exposes himself and repents to God for not being obedient.
In that entire process of Josiah seeking the Lord, Purging the Temple and then repairing we see that God took him through a process.
Think quickly back to Abraham, he was told to leave his country and leave everything behind and go to a land he will show you, when he left he picked up and left he followed part if God instructions by leaving but he took his father and Lot. When he was told to leave them behind, after his father died it was just him and Lot, when Lot and Abraham had an argument and separated, the minute they separated God came to him and said, now that you have fulfilled my purpose this is what I want. When you have time go back and read the passage in Genesis.
Maybe God is taking you through a process today. I do know that you were created for ministry. My question is what is your ministry?
We saw that Josiah’s ministry was to bring people back to God, and change a nation what is your ministry.
Vs 31. Josiah made a promise to keep the Lord’s commandments and testify.
When God gives you your ministry it is going to be a ministry that brings people to the Lord. Did you know that Daniel and Ezekial were raised up during this time of revival?
Josiah impacted Ezekial and Daniel..Let me ask you, who you have an impact on. Whose life are you transforming at work, at school, in the community?
You were made for ministry; you were created for a special purpose.
In order for you to discover your ministry you might have to go through a process, but I hope and pray that you will understand that we all have a ministry in this church; each one of us has a part to play in this church. You need to understand that our time is now…the world is in a mess, the church in North America is in a mess, families are in a mess, our time is now let’s just do what we do, don’t try what others did, lets just do what God created us to do.