Yesterday I was reading the account of King Josiah in my Women’s Devotional Bible and was really disturbed by reading about how he died (2 Chron. 35:20-25). It’s been on my mind since then, and since it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
I have never really focused before on the death of Josiah, only on the great accomplishments of his life. As a child, I was encouraged by the story of the boy who became king at the young age of eight years old. In spite of the wicked examples of his father and others before him, Josiah began seeking the God of his forefather David at the age of sixteen. At the age of 20, he began to purge the land of all its false idols, altars, priests, and images. At the age of 26, he began to repair the temple of God, during which time the Book of the Law was discovered. This discovery in itself shows the abandoned, forsaken state of the temple at that time. Upon discovery, the Words of the Law were read, and Josiah immediately sent to inquire of the Lord.
I love the fact that the men that were sent to inquire of the Lord went to a woman, the prophetess Huldah. Upon receiving her response, Josiah immediately gathered together all the people, and they renewed their covenant with God and pledged to serve Him. Next, there was a great celebration of the Passover such as had not been observed since the time of Samuel the prophet.
Yet, after all this good that Josiah had accomplished, at the age of 39 Josiah died needlessly in a battle that wasn’t his to fight. Neco, the king of Egypt had approached to fight the king of Assyria, and Josiah went out to meet him in battle. Neco warned him against it, at God’s command. Instead of listening, or even inquiring of God for himself, he bullheadedly disguised himself and engaged Neco in battle anyways. He was fatally wounded by archers and taken back to Jerusalem where he died. It became a tradition for the singers to commemorate him with laments for years to come.
Such a sad ending to such a great life! What happened? What changed? Why did Josiah’s life end so tragically when it began so heroically?
After reflecting on this story, I am taking to heart the following thoughts for my own life:
• Don’t see others as imagined enemies.
• Choose your battles wisely.
• Don’t question who God can speak through; He once used a donkey.
• Pray before making reckless or rash decisions.
• Don’t allow arrogance, pride, stubbornness, or self-importance to ruin your life.
• Ask “Will this decision/choice/action allow me to finish my life well?”
I couldn’t help but contrast Josiah with the Apostle Paul, who started out badly with his cruel persecution of the early Christians, but at the end of his life could say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim. 4:7