Then the king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and the priests, and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. The king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, regulation, and law with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
2 Kings 23:1-3 (NLT)
This sounds like something that happened in Solomon’s day. Surely these are the actions of a great and wise king in a long line of God-fearing kings.
But it’s not.
This is Josiah. He was eight when he ascended to the throne and reigned only thirty-one years. He didn’t even make it over the hill. Wisdom and faith were not traits that were common in his lineage. In fact, he came after a long line of evil and rebellious kings. Yet somehow, he understood the importance of a covenant with the Lord.
Though previous kings had sought to honour God, Josiah was the first to utterly destroy pagan worship in Israel—the idols, altars, shrines, and priests. Then he reinstituted the Passover which had not been celebrated as such since the time when the judges ruled in Israel (2 Kings 23:22).
I say all this so that we can learn from the kid who became king. Age does not equal wisdom. Wisdom is simply the proper use of knowledge. Josiah had already commanded that the Temple be rebuilt and when the Book of the Law was rediscovered, Josiah suddenly had a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips.
The Book of the Law had all but disappeared from tradition in Judah. Josiah could have chosen to leave things as they were and not stir up trouble during his reign. But instead, he chose to apply his newfound knowledge. Because of the wisdom of a young man, a nation was saved from destruction.
“You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people, that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. So I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. I will not send the promised disaster against this city until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this place.”
2 Kings 22:19-20 (NLT)
Don’t assume that all things from the aged are wise and don’t dismiss the words of a youth. God can bring forth truth and wisdom from anyone willing to see and pursue it.
Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 23-25, John 7:1-31