22/5/2016 LESSON 12
JOSIAH: A CATALYST OF REVIVAL
Quarter’s Theme: PORTRAITS OF JEWISH KINGS
Unit 3 – Portraits Of The Kings Of Divided Kingdom (Lessons 5-12)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 212, 362
Devotional Reading: JER. 1:1-10
Topic For Adults
TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN
Topic For Youths
NOW THAT YOU ARE YOUNG
Topic For Intermediates
NOT A QUESTION OF AGE
2 KGS. 22:1-10, 13-20; PS. 85:4-7
(SOUL WINNERS CROWN COMPETITION MONTHS)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man (Eccl. 12:13) KJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
God Rewards Faithfulness
2 Kgs. 22:18-20
2 Kings 22:18-20King James Version (KJV)
18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;
19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.
20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.
God owes no man. He rewards obedience. He honours faithfulness. His reward system is perfect and adequate. As a reward for their services to be rendered in the house of God, God gave the Levites the tithes. God told Moses, “Thus speak to the Levites and say to them when you take of the children of Israel the tithes that I have given you from them for your inheritance then you will offer up a heave offering from it for the Lord even a tenth part of the tithe… And you will eat it in every place, you and your households. For it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the assembly” (Num. 18: 26 & 31). For Josiah, God promised to spear him the ordeal that would come upon Judah. He would not experience it; it would not happen in his life time. This was his reward for doing what was right in the sight of the Lord and walking in all the ways of David his ancestor. To him, God declared “Behold therefore, I will gather you to your fathers and you will be gathered into your grave in peace. And your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place” (2 Kgs. 22:20). God cannot forget your labour of love; He will reward you abundantly. Therefore, keep doing what is right in His sight.
Point of Emphasis: God rewards the faithfulness and obedience of His children.
Prayer Point: Lord, whether it is difficult or not, help me to obey You and be faithful in doing your work at all times.
Our focus this week is Josiah, a king who ascended the throne at age eight. As a
child he must have been under the influence of experienced, God-fearing and
wise persons who provided guidance. His mother, Jedidah must have exerted some positive influence on him as his son. Josiah made a clear departure from the bad antecedents of his grandfather Manasseh and Amon, his father both of whom were evil and were condemned by God. His exploits in bringing reforms and revival to Judah are our pre-occupation in this lesson.
NOTE ON THE TEXTS
PART 1: JOSIAH WALKED IN THE WAYS OF DAVID (2 KGS. 22:1-2)
Josiah was eight years old when he was crowned king over his people, God’s people. He was king for thirty-two years. He has been described as a young king that brought revival. But he had a grandfather Manasseh who was an idolatrous king. His own father-Amon- was the king before Josiah. He was evil in the sight of God just as Manasseh was. Josiah, however, broke away from his last two predecessor kings and took his cues from David. It is recorded that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of David his father and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. He obeyed God completely and carefully followed the godly example of David, the king.
There is no express account of those who exerted positive and godly influence on the young king to do what was right in God’s sight. The Book of the Law had been lost, so he might not have access to it to know the mind of God. The two previous kings did not help matters at all. It is not confirmed whether his mother, Jedidah, played any such role. After all, Amon’s mother’s name was mentioned in his own account, too. So the mention of the names of the women cannot be a ground to opine that they exerted any influence on the persons of their children who became kings. The word of God says that “But ye have an auction from the Holy one, and Ye know all things” (1 Jn. 2:20) and in verse 27 of 1 Jn. 2, the Bible says “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you and ye need not that any man teach you but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him”. Every man has an inbuilt divine instinct that helps to know and move towards God. Job expresses this truth when he says “But there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32: 8). Josiah put his own God-given instinct to good use. Do not suppress your own God-given instinct and inclination to obey your Maker.
David had performed so well as a king that he became a visible model to subsequent kings. His act, obedience to and love for God, became the yardsticks for measuring the performance of subsequent Kings in Israel. However, it was the personal choice of each subsequent king whether to follow his way(s) or not. Josiah chose to follow his ways and he was approved of God. Adults are enjoined to leave good examples for their children and younger ones. The young ones are advised to watch and take cues from godly leaders in church, family and the society. Always remember that choices have their natural consequences.
PART 2: JOSIAH’S YEARNING FOR GOD (2 KGS. 22:3-10)
There seemed to be a divine urge inside of Josiah that propelled him towards God. It was a vacuum that had to be filled only with God’s presence. Josiah longed for God in his spirit and this yearning prompted him to order the repairs of the house of God. He caused money to be released to the workmen. His workmen were adjudged to be faithful people. In the process of the repairs, the Book of the Law was found and sent to the king. He caused the Book of the Law to be read to him and upon hearing the grave sanctions against the apostasy and evil of Judah, the king tore his clothes in lamentation, remorse and repentance (v. 13). When the word of God is presented to us in whatever form, we must show our great respect for the word and demonstrate our obedience thereto. When you encounter God through His word, there must be a transformation. The word should move you towards repentance. Josiah quickly dispatched his men to Huldah, the prophetess, to find out what could be done to avert the wrath of God that was hanging on the nation like the sword of Damocles. It is all a manifestation of Josiah’s yearning to know God and to do His biddings. The prophetess did not attempt to play down the seriousness of Judah’s offence against God. No. Even when she knew the team came from the king, she fearlessly declared the judgment of God. See particularly 2 Kgs. 22:16-18.
God always shows mercy to a man of contrite heart. When you repent and forsake your sins, God shows His tender mercies to you. Verse 19 expresses God’s tender mercies towards Josiah. God had regard for his repentance and remorse and heard his prayers. God postponed the looming evil to a time after the regime of Josiah. You can escape God’s wrath only if you repent and become born- again. We must realise that Josiah did not thereafter relax and feel complacent; he embarked on far-reaching reforms. He returned Judah to true and pure worship of God. The people of Judah knew that real change had come under Josiah, the young king. Is there any change in your life since you claim you were born again? Think about it.
PART 3: AGENTS OF REVIVAL (PS. 85:4-7)
In the days of King Josiah, there was great revival in Judah. He dealt a death blow on idol worship and idolatrous priests; he destroyed all the shrines called high places; he observed the Passover after many years of its neglect; he led the people back to God. He even carried the reforms as far as cities of Samaria. It was zero tolerance to anything that was pro-idol. The reforms are recorded in 2 Kgs. 23.
Looking closely at the atmosphere of revival that pervaded the land of Judah under Josiah, we could see that, the revival was driven and sustained by identifiable agents. First is the Spirit of God Himself. Only God can bring about revival. In Psalm 85:6, God is recognised as the inspirer of revival. So, if you want revival, return to God and pray to Him to bring revival. Human efforts, ingenuity and enthusiasm cannot bring revival. Only God can. Secondly, King Josiah was another agent. He allowed God to work through him to effect tremendous and far-reaching change in Josiah. He practically took the front seat driving the reform as inspired by God’s Spirit and word. Third, Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan the scribe and other persons mentioned in 2 Kgs. 22:12-14 played key roles in the process of bringing revival into Judah. Fourth, the fearless prophetess Huldah must be seen as a part of the process. She courageously pronounced the verdict of God upon Judah; no fear, no favour.
Whilst the place of God is well-recognised in any revival campaign, it should be stressed that for revival to occur in our churches, we must work together. Each person has a key role to play. Play your own role well. Let the revival start with you. Be an agent of revival and indeed, age is no barrier at all.
Josiah was young: just eight years old when he was made king. He connected with God right early in life. He finished well and strong. His reforms returned Judah to pure worship of God. The celebration of Passover which had long been abandoned was restored. All shrines within Judah and up to Samaria were destroyed. The priests who were devotees of idols were eliminated. The king allowed revival to happen in his time. The word of God was practically the basis for the revival. For revival to happen and be sustained, the word of God must be embraced and obedience given to it. We must constantly work together to keep the fire of revival aglow.
- What impact did the discovery of the Book of the Law have in the revival campaign in Judah?
- How important is age in serving God?
- Mention two things that helped Josiah to do well in God’s sight.
- Describe the character of Huldah in today’s lesson.
- Mention three persons that featured in the revival process in today’s lesson.