2 Chronicles 33, 34
Focus Verse: And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. – 2 Chronicles 34:2
Big props to Josiah right here. I mean, when this kid became king, he was not playing. He was dead serious about following God.
Josiah’s determination and dedication to following God is such a big deal because: (1) his immediate family background was not super Godly by any stretch of the imagination, and (2) he was only an eight-year-old.
Focusing on point one, let’s back up to the previous chapter (33) in which we are introduced to Josiah’s granddaddy, Manasseh, and his daddy, Amon. Manasseh was just about to hit his teen years when he started to reign in Judah at the age of twelve. But unlike Josiah, Scripture says, “he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” He built altars to false gods. He worshipped the sun, the moon, and the stars. He burned his sons as an offering. He used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery. He had dealings with mediums and with necromancers. Not only did Manasseh do evil, but he led his people to do evil, as well. He did so much evil that God was angered by it.
Manassah, stop your evil, God warned him. Or something really bad is going to come of it.
But Manassah did not pay God any attention. He went right on doing evil.
So, God had another king – the king of Assyria – to capture Manasseh with hooks and bind him with bronze chains. He was taken from his kingdom of Judah and forced to live like a prisoner in the king of Assyria’s kingdom of Babylon. Now, God had Manassah’s attention. Now, Manassah knew that God was God.
O God, I’m so sorry for doing evil, Manassah cried. O God, please hear me. Please save me.
Did God hear him? Did God save him?
It may be hard to believe, but even after all the bad things Manassah had done, God did hear him and God did save him…because God is awesome like that. He didn’t stay angry at Manassah. He still loved Manassah. And because Manassah was truly sorry for doing evil, he was allowed to return to Judah. Once he returned to home sweet home, Manassah tore down all altars to false gods and he no longer worshipped the sun, the moon, and the stars. For the rest of his days, he only worshipped God. When he died, his son, Amon, became king.
Amon was twenty-two-years-old when he started to reign in Judah. You would think that after seeing all his daddy went through, Amon wouldn’t even think about doing evil. But, no. Amon took the sins of his daddy to a whole nother level. He was so bad that the Bible doesn’t even bother to elaborate on his badness. I’m guessing that Amon’s servants didn’t want to put up with another bad boy extraordinaire because after two short years they conspired against Amon and killed him. This act was unfortunate, but it cleared the way for Amon’s son, Josiah, to become king.
Now, Josiah was smart. Daddy and granddaddy, I love y’all and all, he said. But I’m wearing the crown now and I don’t have time to repeat y’all’s mistakes. I gotta be about doing what’s right.
Focusing on point two, Scripture says that Josiah was eight-years-old when he started to reign in Judah. Can you imagine: One day, you’re just struggling to keep up with third grade homework assignments, and the next day, you’re told that your daddy has been murdered and you’re responsible for running his kingdom? I know. No big deal. Right?
Right, Josiah said. I got this.
Even though he was just a kid, Josiah was already dedicated to doing what was right in the eyes of God. He was already determined to follow the good example of David and not the bad examples of his daddy and granddaddy. He was already devoted to practicing righteousness and would not be turned aside to the right or to the left.
One is never too young to seek God, to have a heart that is tender to His Word, and to have a spirit that is humble before Him. You do not have to follow what those before you did or what those around you are doing. Follow God. Determine to walk after Him and to keep His Word, with all your heart and with all your soul. In the words you say, in the things you do, and in the ways you love, set an example for others…then no one will look down on you because you are young.