Josiah was the last good king in Judah prior to the Babylonian exile. He began to reign at the age of only eight. Even at such a young age, “he began to seek the God of David.” By the time that Josiah was twelve years old he was leading the Lord’s people in the destruction of idols and the removal of false places of worship throughout the land.
When the king was twenty-six years old, a book was found that would help Josiah to serve the Lord even more—the Bible, that is, the “Book of the Law.” The book was rediscovered in connection with the renovation of the temple in Jerusalem.
When the king heard the Book of the Law, “he tore his clothes” in mourning for the disobedience of the Lord’s people. He knew that the Lord’s wrath was upon His people for their disobedience to His Word. The king sought to understand from the Lord what ought to be done now.
God’s response came to the king through a prophetess who lived in Jerusalem. The Lord knew not only the actions and words of the king, but even the inner motions of his heart. The God of Israel gave Josiah a promise that there would be peace during his reign.
The king gathered together an assembly of all the people in order to read to them from the “Book of the Covenant.” Then the king pledged his obedience to the Lord. He also led the entire nation in a renewed commitment to the Word of God.
Josiah was seeking the Lord even before He had read the Book of the Law. Finding God’s Word did not damage the king’s relationship with the Almighty, it enhanced it.
Jesus followed God without sin during every moment of His existence. He did not scoff at the Scriptures, but loved the Word of the Lord. When He fought against the devil, He used the Bible. In the midst of life-threatening controversies with the spiritual leaders of Israel, He plainly affirmed that the Scriptures could not be broken. He did not came to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. His death on the cross was not only a fulfillment of biblical prophesy, it was a payment of our debt to God because of our disobedience to biblical commandments.
We are called to love and obey the Lord God whether or not we have access to any of His writings. But when we hear His Word, we need to be like Josiah. We should let the Word of God expose our sinful ways. We should then repent of our sin and plead to God for mercy through His provision of grace for us in the life and death of His Son. This is the way for true disciples of Jesus to find joy in a dark world.