The 26 year old monarch had established himself as a refreshingly godly kind of King. For the majority of his conscious life he ruled the kingdom of Judah and endeavoured to do so in a way like David the standard of kings.
So it was understandable that he would have a concern for the temple of the Lord. His request for the house of God to be properly maintained was very similar to the last godly king of Judah, his great grandfather Hezekiah. On this occasion, however, the extent of the disrepair of the house of the Lord and reflecting the state of the nation, the priest discovered something that had seemingly been disregarded for a long time. The book of the law – the written basis of the covenant relationship between God and His people. Not only did the priest feel it was worth his while reading it but that this young monarch should hear what it has to say.
It is the response of this young man that leaves such a strong impact on this reader. He heard the Word of God and he tore his robes. An utter and abject sense of the state of the people in such a sorry condition in comparison to the requirements of their Lord and Redeemer. The outward expression of the inner despair. This was not something to take lightly or glibly. Such was his heart to God that hearing His Word and being only too aware of the state of the people compelled him to a state of godly sorrow.
The prophetic word that followed it confirmed his reason for such anguish. Judah, like the northern kingdom of Israel, had gone too far. Their failure to worship the true and living God who had delivered them from slavery and abide by the covenant was to bring about the necessary consequences. God would render His judgment and Judah would face His anger.
And yet …
The contrite, sensitive and repentant response of King Josiah was enough to spare him from the impending judgment. The response to God’s Word enabled this young man to be found favourably in His sight and have the assurance of ending his days in peace on the throne of David.
For some this would be reason to relax, but as we will see this would be the foundation for something truly incredible. All this, however, started with a godly character concerned with the place God chooses to dwell in and a resultant sensitivity to the Word of the Lord. Such a set up are the ingredients God can use to do great things.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden