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Josiah


    The heavy ancient scroll crinkled beneath his fingertips as Josiah began to unroll the Book of the Covenant. The people of Judah were still gathering before the temple. From the least to the greatest they assembled to hear their king read from the sacred pages which had been lost for many generations.

    Josiah stood by the northern pillar of the temple, the appropriate place for a king. He glanced at the scroll and then looked south to the other pillar. The once bronze-covered column bore the name Jachin, which means, "He establishes."

    He considered the strength of this monument, a poignant reminder of the power of the Lord God. It was not by man’s strength that this nation had been brought into existence. Yahweh had established this nation and had placed David, his ancestor, on the throne.

    The bronze had been stripped from the pillar and Josiah was saddened by the desecration. Evil kings and foreign rulers had ransacked the treasures of the temple, dishonoring the sanctuary of Yahweh. The pine paneling which had been covered with gold was exposed like the sins of the people. He glanced down at the words of the covenant and sighed. Was Judah beyond the favor of the Lord? Had they sinned so profoundly and welcomed the foreign gods so willingly that God would reject them forever?

    Josiah became king when he was eight, after the murder of his idolatrous father, Amon, and he lacked instruction in the ways of the Lord. Having no living example, he walked in the ways of his forefather, the great King David. Now, the words of the prophetess, Huldah, were the encouragement that Josiah needed. Through Huldah’s words, Josiah had been reassured that God had not rejected him. "‘Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,’ declares the Lord" ( II Kings 22:19).

    This northern pillar under which Josiah stood was called Boaz, or "by Him is he mighty." It was right that Josiah stood here, under the canopy of God’s protection, to proclaim the covenant of the Lord. Like King David, Josiah’s heart was set to rule Judah in a manner honoring to the Lord. He would carry out the commands of the Law with the strength Yahweh would give him. Though he stood amidst the desolation of the temple, there was a foundation within him that could neither be shaken nor destroyed. So Josiah read from the ancient manuscript with confidence. He committed himself to follow the Lord, keeping all His mandates and decrees and renewed the covenant of his forefathers. All the people before him, from the least to the greatest, pledged themselves to the Lord as well.

    Josiah’s reforms throughout Judah and Samaria were extensive. In fact, his obedience was so great that he stands out in Scripture as one of the most faithful kings. "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" (II Kings 23:25).

    Though there may be destruction and despair surrounding you, there is a foundation which stands as a mighty pillar that will never fall. It is God’s strength and your reliance upon God’s trustworthy character that will sustain you when everything else begins to crumble. The Lord did not accept Josiah because he had attained the most wealth or military victories.

    Josiah was mighty in spirit because he was obedient to God’s instruction. He put all of his trust and hope in the covenant that Yahweh had established, knowing that the Lord would honor His Word. When you trust in the faultless character of God and allow His Word to dwell in you richly, you will have a foundation established within you that will not be shaken.

    No matter what trial or opposition you face, the foundation of the Lord’s love and Word in your heart will endure, and, like Josiah, He will help you. Make your heart tender, and humble yourself before the Lord. He will establish you, and by Him you will be mighty.