“Moreover the altar that was at Beth–el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.” – 2 Kings 23:15-16
The story of King Josiah can be found in 2 Kings 22-23, and again in even greater detail in 2 Chronicles 34-35. It is an amazing story of how God uses the least likely people to do His greatest works. Josiah became King of Israel at only 8 years old, after the death of his father. Josiah’s father, like many generations of Israelite Kings before him, did great evil in the sight of the Lord. He built alters to other gods in high places, groves for pagan rituals, allowed places of child sacrifice (abortion), houses of sodomy (homosexuality), he even built graven images, statues, and idols and placed them in the houses of God to be worshiped in place of God. Yet even being raised under all this wickedness, young Josiah, at only 8 years old, took the thrown, took a bold stand for God, and changed the nation.
Scripture tells us that God pours out His grace on the humble, and to this end He uses the least among us, saying that those that are considered least in the kingdom of men are considered most in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, though scripture clearly states multiple times that God is no respecter of persons and will use whom He will use, it is also made clear that He is a respecter of obedience, which is always rooted in humility.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6
You see, the story of Josiah is a story of the power of humility. The humility of a child made King to submit to the will of God above his own. The humility of seeking the instructions of the Lord and not trusting in your own logic or even your upbringing. The humility to receive those instructions and words from the Lord through a woman, the prophetess Huldah. The humility of repentance, and the humility of obedience that saved a generation lost in the idolatry of their fathers’ teachings and practices.
It is surely a story worth reading, but a condensed version goes like this. Josiah was made King of Israel at 8 years old after the death of his wicked father. Immediately scripture records that, unlike his father, Josiah served God and did what was right in His sight. Possibly a testament to his mother at this young age. By the time he was 15-16 years old he was working to undo the damage his father’s had done to the house of God. He ordered that funds be allocated to repair and rebuild the temple of God. During the restoration a book of the law of Moses was found. God’s own people had gotten so far off track into idolatry (even in the house of God) that they no longer even knew what was written in God’s book.
When the book was read to King Josiah and he realized all the ways they had sinned against the commandments and very nature of God, he wept, rent his clothes, and repented. Then he humbled himself and sought God, to hear from the Lord concerning what he should do. Therefore, the priest, the scribe, and the Kings men were sent unto the prophetess Huldah, who ministered from the college in Jerusalem the word of the Lord.
(Side note: The prophets heard directly from God then delivered His words, instructions, and ordinances to the priest and Kings to preform or enact. Therefor, though men might choose kings, only God chooses prophets and because God is no respecter of persons but rather of humility and obedience, the prophets (threw both the Old Testament and the New) were often female, as well as male. Deborah, Miriam, Huldah, Noadiah, Isaiah’s wife, Anna, and the daughters of Philip to name a few.)
Upon receiving the Word of the Lord from Huldah, Josiah proceed to tear down every idol in Israel. He destroyed, the high places and the groves, the houses of sodomy, the places of child sacrifice and killed all the priest thereof. He even dug up the bones of the idolatrous and compromising priest, and burned them to ash on their own alters.
In Josiah’s short life, because he humbled himself to God and was obedient to not only reject but to uproot and dismantle the works and teachings of his deceived, corrupted, and compromising father’s, he completely cleansed Israel of all its idols, repaired the alters of God and the house of God, restored the Word of God to the people and the nation, and brought back the Passover in a grander form then ever was before, or ever was since. He brought the people to a place of realizing the error of their fathers, and of humbly repenting of it. Therefore, God’s judgment passed over them in their generation. That is the power of humility.
“Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.” – 2 Kings 22:19