Josiah - Changed By The Word

Read: 2 Kings 23:1-9
Text: 2 Ki 23:3 (KJV) And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
Theme: The word of God transforms lives.

Josiah, as the last good king of Judah, had two distinct periods in his life.
There are lessons to be learned from both periods, but the key lesson of his life is that the word of God transforms lives.
It brought personal revival to Josiah, and public revival to his people.

I. Josiah, before the Word of God.

A. Important events in his life.
1. Began to reign at 8 years of age. - 2 Kings 22:1, 2 Chr. 34:1
2. Began to seek God at 12 years of age. - 2 Chr. 34:3
3. Began to purge his country of idolatry at 16 - 2 Chr. 34:3
4. Decided to restore the temple at 20 years of age - 2 Kings 22:3, 2 Chr. 34:8
5. Word of God was found in the temple - 2 Kings 22:8, 2 Chr. 34:15
B. Questions about these events:
QUESTION - When do you think Josiah was saved?
QUESTION - Could he have been saved at age 16 when he began to seek after God? (but cf. Rom 10:17 (KJV) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." - Isn't the word of God vital for salvation?)
QUESTION - If he didn't have the Bible yet, what godly influences WERE present in his life? (Father Amon - w Chr. 33:21-24 - BAD KING; Grandfather - Mannaseh - 2 Chr. 33:1-2, 12-13 - BAD KING, but saved late in life; Great-grandfather - Hezekiah - one of the GREATEST kings - 2 Kings 18:6)
QUESTION - Is it possible that Josiah's grandparents and great-grandparents were a greater influence on him than his own parents? What does this mean to us?
QUESTION - If he wasn't saved at age 16, why might he have tried to institute reforms and seek God? (cf. Acts 18:24-26 - Apollos desire to serve, before totally understanding the gospel.)
C. Summary
QUESTION - How would you sum up Josiah's life and character before finding the Word of God?
QUESTION - What can we learn from Josiah about living a godly life in an ungodly environment?

II. Josiah, after the Word of God.

When the word was found, it changed Josiah's life. Notice some of the things that happened when he found the Word:

A. He read it. (2 Kings 22:10, 2 Chr. 34:18)
QUESTION - Is there any value in possessing Bible? (ANSWER - Not unless they are READ!)
B. He rent his clothes. (2 Kings 22:11, 2 Chr. 34:19)
QUESTION - Why? What did this mean? What does it tell us about his response to the Word? Should our response to the Word be similar?
C. He prayed - (2 Kings 22:13, 2 Chr. 34:21)
QUESTION - When we read the Word of God, does it increase or decrease our desire to pray? Why?
D. He shared - (2 Kings 23:2, 2 Chr. 34:30)
QUESTION - When we read the Word, does it increase or decrease our desire to witness / share what we have read? Why?
E. He got serious - (2 Kings 23:4f, 2 Chr. 34:33)
NOTE - From age 16 he had been cleansing the land of idolatry.
NOTE - But at age 26, he began with renewed vigor, and notice the amazing list of idolatry and sin that was still present to be cleansed! (2 Kings 23:4f)
QUESTION - What does this indicate about the level of his commitment to God BEFORE hearing the Word?
QUESTION - What does this indicate about how the Word influenced him (and influences us) to get serious in our committment to God?
QUESTION - What do you think of this statement: "A result of the word of God in my life is that it makes me want to clean out every vestige of sin and idolatry from my life and from all around me."
F. He worshipped more correctly. (2 Kings 23:21, 2 Chr. 35:1 - passover)
QUESTION - According to scripture, is there a right way / wrong way to worship God?
QUESTION - Does the Word of God teach us how we should worship God today? How?

Josiah was a godly individual all through his life.
However, the finding of the Word of God was a crisis point for him.
It began a period of personal revival in his life, which sparked a national revival of immense scale.

The key lesson from Josiah's life is that the Word of God transforms lives.

Josiah didn't know where the word of God is, but we do.
May God help us, who know where it is, to read it, allowing it to transform our lives, and the lives of those around us.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.