King Josiah! I like this guy! You can read about him in 2 Kings 22, but I'll tell you plain and simple why I like this guy.
Because God liked Josiah!
What do you mean, you might ask? Doesn't God love all of us?!
Yes, He does. But I don't think He always likes us. How can you like a person when they choose to sin against you? When they choose to disobey you? When they mock you and call you names? When they deny Who you are and the authority you have over them? It kinda reminds me of the line in a book I enjoyed reading to my boys when they were little:
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be!"
The thing is, I don't think I would "like" my kids if they constantly disobeyed me and did exactly the opposite of what I'd asked them to do. What if they showed me total disrespect and called me names when I tried to discipline them? I'd love 'em, yes, but I don't think I'd like 'em.
And that's kinda how I think God our Father feels. He loves us, so much so that He sent His one and only Son to take our sins upon himself so we could have eternal life. But He does not like it when we sin. It makes Him angry!
And that's where we find the kingdom of Judah in 2 Kings. In sin. And God is angry! King after king has not obeyed God. As I mentioned a few posts back, their lives were defined simply by one of two words: evil or right. They either did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord or they did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
My man Josiah did what was right! (22:2)
And not only did he do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he never wavered in it! Verse 2 goes on to say he walked in the ways of his father David, "not turning aside to the right or to the left." That's a big stinkin' deal! So many of the kings before him, as well as the kings of Israel, wavered. They allowed the people, often encouraging them, to worship other gods. Even the few that "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord" didn't do so completely.
But Josiah was different!
When the Book of the Law was found in the temple--apparently it had been missing for decades!--and was brought to him, Josiah tore his clothes and wept because he realized how utterly sinful the people had become. He knew God would be angry but he didn't cower. He wanted to know exactly what God had to say about it all. (22:11-13)
And ya know what God said to Josiah?
"Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place (Judah) and it's people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place." (22:19-20)
The disaster referred to here is the destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar. But not in Josiah's time. Because God liked Josiah! He looked into Josiah's heart and liked what He saw. Chapter 23 goes on to tell how Josiah went on a rampage throughout Jerusalem and Judah destroying everything that was evil and detestable in God's eyes, basically cleansing that land of decades and decades of sin. But even though that was the right and good thing to do, God did not turn away from the heat of his anger. (23:26)
But Josiah, who was later killed in battle, had this said about him in verse 25:
"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength."
God liked Josiah!
I know God loves me. The Bible tells me so.
But I really, truly want God to like me too!!