Israel did right and it went well for them. They did wrong and were captured.
Nineveh did right and conquered many lands. They did wrong and were beaten.
Judah did right and survived massive attacks. They did wrong and…you get it.
Judah’s kings have started doing what is wrong in the eyes of the LORD. Manasseh, their king, led them into this downward spiral. His son, Amon, continued the trend. When Amon’s son, Josiah, took over, things changed.
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years…He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. (2 Kings 22:1-2 NLT)
I find it interesting that, once again, the people of Judah are brought back to God through a child. (Remember Joash?) We can speculate the reasons, but the bottom line is that Josiah did well. He led a remodeling project on God’s temple that turned up a scroll that everyone had forgotten about. It was called, “The Book of the Law.” Josiah had it read out loud in his presence.
When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest… "Go to the Temple and speak to the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the LORD's great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do." (2 Kings 22:11-13 NLT)
Josiah recognized immediately that he and the kingdom of Judah were not walking together with God. He also recognized that there were blessings and curses that were detailed in the Book of the Law. They deserved the curses. Josiah’s response? He turned to God.
So Hilkiah the priest…went to…the prophet Huldah…She said to them, "The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 'This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For My people have abandoned Me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.'
(2 Kings 22:14-17 NLT)
No, you’re not reading this wrong. The true prophet of the LORD in this instance was a woman. She speaks the Word of God just like all the male prophets we have shown in the pages of Scripture. She’s not the only female true prophet we are shown, either. The prophet Anna spoke about Jesus on the day he was presented at the Temple (Luke 2:36-38). That’s because walking with God is not limited based on gender. It’s not limited based on age. It’s not limited based on anything. All people are human beings made in the image of God and are designed to walk together with God. When we choose to walk together with God, the LORD honors our choice by empowering, equipping, and encouraging us to walk with Him.
"But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the LORD and tell him: 'This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 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. And I have indeed heard you, says the LORD. So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.'" So they took her message back to the king. (2 Kings 22:18-20 NLT)How about you? Do you see God’s desire for your life? Or, do you see limitations holding you back from experiencing a walk together with God? Like Josiah, you can start walking with God more and more with each new day. It’s not too late.