Readings: 2 Kings 22:1-2, 2 Chronicles 34:1-7
We have us a child king in Judah now, at the ripe age of 8 years of age. His poor father was assassinated. The prophet Jeremiah began his counsel when our king was 21 years old. I do wonder who took care of business during this period until the king was ready to govern? There must have been a positive influence. Was it his mother? A very positively influential regent? We do know that in 2Chronicles 34:1–3 it states that “In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the [a]high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.” So there must have been some type of positive influence.
The interesting point in our readings today, is that Josiah took it upon himself to influence the people not even in his region, the people of the north, the northern kingdom. In 2 Chronicles 34: 6, it states that he did the reforms in Manasseh, Ephriam, Simeon, and even as far as Naphtali. These were northern kingdom territories, the land that had been carried away by the Assyrians. The only people left there were non- Israelites gentiles. Have we found our first missionary to the gentile world? The scriptures focus on the destruction of the religious artifacts of these towns, but from what we come to learn about Josiah’s nature, I cannot imagine that this young king did not also reach out to the people of these lands about the good news of his Lord. We know that he was pleasing to the Lord, all his days of his life. I have to imagine that he influenced others for his faith.
If we are to correlate this to our lives today, I have to ask the question, who among you are reaching out to people beyond your borders for Christ? What makes a 12-year-old boy innocently move beyond his borders to reach others and purify these lands? Is it his innocence and nativity? Jesus spoke several times about the trusting nature of a child. Mark 9:36 – 37, “Jesus put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”
And then in another circumstance, people were bringing children to Jesus in order for him to touch them. It states in Luke 18: 16-17, “And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
I imagine King Josiah saw his own kingdom very much in the eyes of a child, a fearless innocence, receiving God with no restraint and willing to share his Lord with anyone willing to listen, even those beyond his borders. We are called to have the same faith, a child-like faith as Josiah. Often it’s those that have child-like faith that are able to effectively reach out to others unlike them, the oppressed, people of different skin color, different race, different class hierarchy. Thank you, Josiah, for your example; a young leader of faith, a child of 12 years old.