It’s hard to imagine what I might do in his place. I’m not sure if I would have the fortitude and the wherewithal to make the decisions that he did. I’d like to think I would stand boldly in the face of adversity and right the wrongs of my father and grandfather or even stand up as the leader of a perverse nation and not worry about public opinion in order to change the profane into the godly, but I’m not so sure I’m at that point of maturity as of yet. That is what is so amazing about a man in the Old Testament who was well beyond his years and yet was one of the most mature children of God that we have the pleasure of learning from through the Word.
Josiah was nothing short of amazing, in my estimation. Not only did he start leading a country at such a young age (8 years old to be exact), he also started turning that country back to God in the same year (2 Chronicles 33:1-2)! I wish I could have lived during his reign. To be able to see such a young man turning the people of God around would be great. But one thing that we need to realize is that it doesn’t have to be something that happened long ago! If Josiah teaches us anything, it’s that age is irrelevant when discussing a leader of the faith.
I didn’t come from a cookie cutter family that would have fit perfectly on the pages of a movie script. I have a feeling that you didn’t either, and neither did Josiah. His father, Amon, reigned for only 2 years because he did evil in the eyes of the Creator (2 Chronicles 33:21) and that seems to have been the norm in his family, based on his grandfather’s evil ways (2 Chronicles 33:22). So, not only did Josiah faithfully serve the Father, he did so in contrast to his family’s beliefs.
The great thing is that we are never alone when trying to follow the Lord. When our family is off going at it on their own, someone out there is struggling like we are, and being profitable in doing so. Josiah probably felt as though he were standing all alone in the pulpit, as it were, but the fact is that there were other men doing the same thing and trying to bring Israel back to God during that time. While the country had given themselves over to idols, Jeremiah and Zephaniah were there, although not in places of prominence like their younger colleague, preaching and putting boots on the ground for God (Jeremiah 1:1-2, Zephaniah 1:1).
By the time Josiah was sixteen years old he was well on his way to restoring the Mosiac worship commanded by God. But he wasn’t doing it all alone. There were prophets in the nation working for God, but more importantly in the case of Josiah, he was leading other people in their faith and obedience to God. At twenty, he was breaking idols in pieces to restore the hearts of the people and had the priests working to restore the formal worship of God (2 Chronicles 34:3-5). And like a true leader, as we all can be regardless of age, he first made sure he was right and then made sure not to micromanage those who he was leading.
And then it happened, while rebuilding the Temple and getting things in order to worship, Hilkiah found a very old looking manuscript. It was the Bible, at least what parts of the Bible that God had completed by that time. So eighteen years after Josiah began his work of restoration, he finally had the standard! He wouldn’t have to go back and talk to the old priests who remembered how it was or go to the uninspired history books to see what David did, he had the Word of God to lead him (2 Chronicles 34:15-18). So, when Josiah heard what that old book had to say, he sent the priests to go and finish the restorative work that he had started many years before (2 Chronicles 34:19-21).
There’s many other things we can learn from Josiah, but what I’d like to point out is that this young man forsook the beliefs of his family, took it upon himself to bring a country back to God, led the people even though he probably felt all alone in doing so, made sure to be a godly leader (keeping himself in check before telling others how to live their lives), took the standard very seriously, and restored the faith of God Almighty! That is a real man! That is a real child of God! Never forget, when you’re facing a mountain of a task, whether that task is personal righteousness, evangelism/teaching of God’s Word to the world, being a role model for others in faith or even something outside of spiritual matters like being the captain of your sports team or section leader in your band, you’re not alone and you’re doing some of the best work you can ever do.
One more thing: you’re not too young! NEVER let anyone make you think that your age hinders you from being able to be a leader for God or being strong through Him.
- Lee Snow, ThePFP.net