(By Terry Webster)
When we look at the sea of humanity around us, we are overcome by the violence and depravity we see in the news, by the immorality and by the outward hatred toward God we see in our work places and communities, and the despair and hopelessness we see in the faces of people we pass. We know the answer. We know Jesus is the only way, the only hope. We know our nation needs to be saved, we need revival. But what does saving a nation look like? The life of Josiah is an extraordinary example of how the salvation and sanctification of one man saved an entire nation.
In 2 Chronicles 34, we find that Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He did what was right in the sight of the LORD and he walked in the ways of his father David. We see a picture of a young boy who was saved, or first believed in God. He was a good boy and he served God in the ways he saw his ancestors serve HIM, much like our young children outwardly worship as we do. They go to church with us, they pray when they get up in the morning and before bed and meals, and they celebrate Christ’s birth and resurrection with us.
By the time Josiah was sixteen, he was no longer content going through just the motions of worship. He longed to really know God, so he began to seek HIM, and he grew in his own intimate relationship with the LORD.
When he was twenty, Josiah began purging Judah and Israel of the high places and images of other gods. Josiah was a young man who sought the LORD, and when he found HIM, God became the highest priority in his life. Everything in his life that had been exalted other than God had to come down. The same is true for us. The things we had considered important like money, power, affluence, prominence, entertainment, homes, no longer consume us and we find we cannot tolerate sin in our lives, we are not content until we demolish them. These changes in us impact and influence the people closest to us and all the other people in our lives, like a pattern of dominoes when just one is knocked over all the rest begin to tumble.
At the age of twenty-six, the Book of the Law of Moses was found and read to Josiah. His immediate response was to humble himself before the LORD, he tore his clothes and wept. Then he inquired of the LORD, not just for himself but on behalf of all the people in Judah and even in all Israel. There comes a deeper revelation so riveting, an understanding of our depravity apart from Christ and the consequences of sin, not just for us but for all those around us, eternal torment, separation from God.
In HIS great mercy, the LORD told Josiah HE would not bring calamity upon the people during Josiah’s life and that Josiah would live in peace. Because Josiah had listened to the LORD, the LORD had listened to Josiah.
Josiah assembled all the people, from the smallest to the greatest, and read the WORD to them. Then Josiah took a stand and made a covenant with the LORD. He caused all who were in Jerusalem to make a stand as well and they also chose to make a covenant with the LORD. All the days of Josiah, the people were diligent to follow the LORD. Josiah’s entire nation was saved because of his decision to seek and follow GOD.
Jesus has made us kings and priests. We have been given power and influence to turn people to JESUS. May we be a Josiah generation, a generation of people who turn to the LORD with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might, a generation that intercedes for the people close to us and the people far away, a generation that listens to GOD and is heard by God, a generation that saves a nation.