2 Kings 23
-The radical and complete reforms of Josiah to straighten the land of Israel out are chronicled in this unique and informative chapter of Scripture. Josiah makes a covenant before God and the people of Judah and Jerusalem “to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant (2 Kings 23:3).” What happens next is a tirade of breaking down all the idols and false gods that could be found in the land (2 Kings 23:4-20). In this remarkable turn of events, Israel is revived from all the paganism that had infiltrated and dominated in so many ways during the era of the kings. Josiah fulfills prophecy in burning the bones of these false prophets in Bethel on the foreign alters that Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made (1 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 23:16). He reinstates the Passover to celebrate to the LORD their God. Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, the teraphim, the idols, and all the abominations that were in the land of Judah and Jerusalem. He followed through with what he committed to the LORD (2 Kings 23:21-24). The Bible states, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him (2 Kings 23:25).” So Hezekiah was known for his unsurpassing faith (2 Kings 18:5), and Josiah was said to be the greatest in following the law of Moses in obedience.
-*Application* These were the two greatest kings in Judah because of their reverence to the LORD their God. They were leaders who feared God rather than being worried about pleasing men. Their strong stand incurred the favor of God during otherwise lean times in the national history of Israel. Be that king of servant of your King!
-The key contrasting term “however” starts off the 26th verse of the chapter. The LORD did not end up turning “from the fierceness of His wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh (Josiah’s grandfather) had provoked Him (2 Kings 23:26).” He began events in the nation which would cast Judah from His sight for a time and Jerusalem was cast off as His city for Temple worship. The time of the Gentiles, as prophesied, was now coming and soon Egypt was allying with Assyria to combat the rising power of Babylon, who would end up taking Judah captive. Egypt is the first captor of Judah in part as Josiah is killed in battle at Megiddo (the place of the battle of Armageddon in Revelation). His son, Jehoahaz, is anointed king in Jerusalem, but is carried off to Egypt as a prisoner only three months later. He did evil in the sight of the LORD as many of his fathers had done. Egypt began to take gold and silver from the government and the people in Judah during this time. After Jehoahaz was taken away, a puppet king, Eliakim (or Jehoiakim by Egyptian naming), who was another son of Josiah, was set in the place of rule in Judah. He continued the process of supplying Egypt with funds of gold and silver by taxing his people. Jehoiakim also was known for doing evil in the sight of God. The spiral downward to exile had begun (2 Kings 23:26-37).
-*Application* When God’s patience runs out, it becomes painfully evident. Remember, there are always consequences for disobedience. The prophecies had been made in a time of rebellion against God in the days of Manasseh, and when His prophets speak, not a word will fail. Be careful to live in obedience to the LORD and serve only Him. He is wonderfully patient, but He does have His limits as we see in the text of Scripture.
Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 23:3, 25