Posts Tagged ‘King Josiah’

A Faithful Life of Service

July 10, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from July 8th,21012.

Introduction:  I have been reading recently in II Kings.  The story of King Josiah stands out to me.  He was the last godly king of Judah prior to its’ conquest by Babylon.  He became king when he was only eight years old.  When he was twenty-six he oversaw the cleansing, and restoration of the temple.  During the process, a copy of the book of the law was found.  Evidently, the children of Israel had strayed so far from the Lord that the revealed word had been set aside, and literally forgotten.  When King Josiah heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes in humble repentance.  He recognized how far Israel had fallen away from their service to God and he set about to make things right.

I.  A Time of Restoration

II Kings 23  Now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord.

Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.

First, I am impressed that the people listened to all the words of the Book of the Covenant.  This book may have been Leviticus, or possibly even the entire Pentateuch.  Today’s congregation may lose interest if a scripture readings goes for more the ten verses.

Second, this was no idle reading or commitment.  The king set about a methodical cleansing of the land of all foreign gods, altars and temples.  He was serious about his desire to restore true worship and the process continued throughout his life.

II.  King Josiah Lived a Life of Faithful Service.

II Kings 23  24 Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.

Notice that it is said that no king was like him..ever.  Not even King David, who is normally considered the greatest king.  We all know that King David had his  faults.  Apparently King Josiah was completely committed to serving God, faithful throughout his life.

III.  The Unexpected, Tragic End

II Kings 23 28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him. 30 Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.

Why did God not protect King Josiah in battle?  God had delivered his people many times in previous years, why was this occasion different?

God has a plan.  He knows how the events of this world are going to unfold.  King Josiah served a very important role in restoring worship to the Jewish people.  Prior to his reign the focus was clearly on the temple, and on sacrifice.  After his reign there was a renewed emphasis on the study of the Word of God.  When the children of Israel were exiled to Babylon, they gathered together to study the word, for worship and for prayer.   It was a necessary change in focus for the years that were to come.

King Josiah reigned for thirty-one years.  He died at thirty-nine.  You might consider this an untimely death, or you could think of it as an early retirement.  Remember that for the people of God, our true reward is not in the things of this life, but in the life to come.

Conclusion:  We all have a part that we play in the plan of God.  We are called to faithfully serve, and we can trust that God knows what He is doing.  God does know what he is doing. we simply need to be faithful in our service to Him.  Our reward may come in various things of this life, but even more important is when we stand before the Lord to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Clearly, the best is yet to come.