This week I’ve been studying about the life of King Josiah of Judah and contemplating on what a remarkable man he was. He was one of the youngest kings to ever rule over God’s people, and did much to turn their hearts back in the direction of God. Josiah’s grandfather was the notorious King Manasseh, who for much of his life ‘did evil in the eyes of the Lord’ (2 Kings 21:2).
This was not the legacy left behind by King Josiah though. ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left’ (2 kings 22:2). Scripture tells us that that there was no king before or after Josiah who was so radical in his zeal for God, and for this he is known in God’s ‘Hall of Fame’.
When the Book of the Law was found in the Temple and presented to King Josiah, his response to what he heard was immediate and heart-felt. He tore his royal robes and humbled himself before the Lord. Josiah was deeply convicted concerning God’s pending judgement and didn’t delay in gathering the people.
After personally reading the Law out to them, he renewed the covenant with God and led the people to do likewise. He then instigated a ruthless spring clean throughout the kingdom of Judah, removing everything that was detestable and vile in the eyes of God. Altars were torn down, sacred stones smashed, high places desecrated, idols and household gods removed and mediums, spiritists and ungodly priests were ‘got rid of’ (2 Kings 23).
He showed no mercy in such matters as he was determined to remove all snares out of the path of God’s people. These sinful practices invited God’s judgement and violated the Covenant God had made with the people.
I wonder, are we as ruthless to deal with sin in our own lives, as King Josiah was in his time? Are we willing to let the Holy Spirit do a ruthless spring clean of our lives, remembering that it is okay to be ruthless when it comes to dealing with the vile and the detestable (not with people though).
It takes courage to open up our lives in that way, because it inevitably means change, and a humbling of ourselves. It can only produce good fruit though, and lives more fully consecrated to the Lord. Do we dare to pray like King David did in Psalm 139? He prays ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart…test me… see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ (Psalm 139:23-24).
Prayer: Spirit of the Living God, I welcome You to come and uncover all that’s not pleasing to You in my life, so I can repent and be changed. I want to be set apart as ‘Holy unto God’, separated from all that is vile and detestable. Have Your way in my life today. I submit to You. Amen.
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