2Kings 22-23

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 22, 2002


We've been looking at the reigns of the various kings of Israel. We are now in the home stretch, with the last of the good kings, Josiah. He becomes king when he is eight years old, after his father had been assassinated (2Ki.21:24; 22:1).

JosiahYo’shiyah – “whom Jehovah heals”

We live in times that aren’t too different from that of Josiah.  Josiah lived in a time that was filled with great wickedness.  He lived in a critical point in history when God would soon be bringing His judgment.

We too live in a time of great wickedness, and we are living in a time very, very close to when God will be bringing His judgment on the world.

Josiah was a man who a measure of revival, one last revival, before the time of judgment.

I wonder if God wouldn’t be looking for a few Josiah’s today – people who would be used by Him perhaps for one last revival.

Seven Qualities of an Extraordinary Person

(2 Ki 23:25 KJV)  And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

1. An Extraordinary Person Knows the Lord (2Chr. 34:3)

(2 Chr 34:3 KJV)  For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.

It started when he came to know the Lord.

When the Lord wasn’t just “his father’s god”, but was now “his God”.  He didn’t go to church because his parents made him go; he went because he wanted to.

You know it was real because of the changes that began to take place.

Changes don’t necessarily mean that a person really knows the Lord, but if there are no changes, then you ought to be questioning if it was real or not.

I know that for some of you, Jesus is “your father’s god” or “your friend’s god”.

You’ve heard about Jesus.  Perhaps you like what you hear.  But you don’t know Him.  If they weren’t around, you wouldn’t be here.

The gospel – Jesus died on a cross to pay for your sins.  He wants you know Him.  He wants you to know God.  He wants to forgive your sins.

2. An Extraordinary Person Discovers the Word (2Kings 22:8-11)

We pick up the story of Josiah in the 18th year of his reign, when he is now 26 years old (2Ki. 22:3).  Josiah has ordered that the Temple be refurbished. While the workers are cleaning out the Temple, a discovery is made.

:8  I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.

The book of the law refers to the writings of Moses, the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).

Some feel that because of the wording in the parallel passage, that this might have actually been Moses' own copy of the Law:

2Ch 34:14  Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD [given] by Moses.

It is thought that during the reign of Manasseh, all the copies of the Scriptures had been destroyed, except for this one copy, possibly hidden by someone in the temple.

As Hilkiah’s work crew begins the restoration work, someone comes across the hidden Scriptures.

:10  Shaphan read it before the king.

I wonder how much he read. I think he at least read Lev. 26 or Deut. 28. That's where God's promises of judgment are given to the people if they don't obey His laws.

:11  he rent his clothes.

Josiah is so terrified with the promises of judgment in the book, that he goes into mourning, tearing his clothes.


Rediscovering God’s Word.

For some of us, perhaps we’ve lost a little of the wonder that comes from reading through the Bible the first time.
God still wants to show you things, some for the very first time.
For me, there’s been a couple of gems this week that I’ve never noticed before:
(Psa 126:5 KJV)  They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

I’ve always looked at this as if “sowing in tears” simply meant crying a lot.  But I’ve come to see that it means that we need to be planting seeds, even if we are going through a time of sadness.  Don’t “stop with tears”, but “sow in tears”.

(Psa 134:1-2 KJV)  Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. {2} Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

I usually just think of songs that are based on this text.  But it hit me that the command is to bless the Lord, even if you’re standing at “night”, going through dark times in your life.

Ask God to speak to you as you read your Bible.  Open it up expecting Him to speak.  Pay attention to Him.  Discover His Word.

3. An Extraordinary Person has a Tender Heart (2Kings 22:19-20)

:19-20 Because thine heart was tender …

tenderrakak – to be tender, be soft, be weak; to be timid, be fearful; to be softened, be penitent; soft like wax, impressionable.

thou hast humbled thyselfkana‘– to be humble, be subdued, be brought down, be low, be under, be brought into subjection


A tender heart

If we’re not careful, we can allow our hearts to grow callused.  We get hurt by circumstances in life.  We get hurt by people.  And we can allow our hearts to grow stiff and hard.  Jeremiah the prophet wrote around this time:
(Jer 4:3-4 KJV)  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. {4} Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
God pays attentions to hearts that are tender towards Him.
David wrote:
Ps 51:17  The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (AV)

4. An Extraordinary Person doesn’t change everyone  (2Kings 23:1-3)

:3  all the people stood to the covenant.

This is their way of agreeing to obey the covenant.

We are told:

2Ch 34:33  And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that [pertained] to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, [even] to serve the LORD their God. [And] all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers. (AV)

Josiah brought about a reformation among the people.  Or did he?


Not everyone is changed.

During Josiah's time, the nation got rid of lots of idolatry.  Some did this because they wanted to, other did it because they had to.
Josiah would rule for 13 more years from this point until his death (he ruled for 31 years, this is his 18th year ...)
But after Josiah was gone, some of the people went back to what they REALLY wanted to do.
The prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 26) tells us that after Josiah died, the people simply went back to their evil ways because that’s what they wanted to do all along.
(Jer 26:2-3 NLT)  The LORD said, "Stand out in front of the Temple of the LORD, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. {3} Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will be able to withhold the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.
We can have an influence on the world around us, but we shouldn’t be surprised to find that not everyone will truly follow the Lord.
This is why we need a little reserve in our response when a person “accepts” the Lord.

We hope and pray that it’s a true conversion.

The test is what happens over time, and whether or not the person actually allows God to make changes in them.

Are the changes in your life real, or are they “enforced”?
What do you do when nobody's around?

5. An Extraordinary Person is Moved by the Word (2Kings 23:4,7,10,14)

After Josiah has read the Word, he gets to work making changes.

:4 out of the temple

These things that were used for the worship of Baal and Asherah had been kept INSIDE God’s Temple!  This is kind of like stashing dirty books inside your Bible.

:7  the houses of the sodomites,

There had been male temple prostitutes who lived right next door to the temple. Josiah put them out of business.

:10  he defiled Topheth … the valley of the children of Hinnom,

This was the place where the Molech worshippers offered their children to Molech.

The valley was on the south side of mount Zion. It would become a city trash dump, where refuse was burned in piles.  It was later known as “Gehenna”, and became a picture of hell.

:14  filled their places with the bones of men.

This is the best way to “gross out” the “gods” of these places of idol worship.

It’s kind of interesting to think that Josiah had been cleansing the land of idols for six years (since his 12th year), and all this stuff was still left!

Before, it would seem that he was operating according to his conscience.

Yet now he’s operating according to God’s Word.


God's Word brings deep cleansing.

We can certainly grow a lot as we simply learn to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.
But the problem is that the Holy Spirit has to work through a sinful person, you.
We don't always like to be as honest with ourselves as we ought to be.
We tell ourselves, “Ice-cream is really a health food!  It’s made of milk, and every body needs milk!”

We can be pretty easy on ourselves.

But when we stay in God's Word, it doesn't mess around with us!
(Heb 4:12 NLT)  For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
God's Word gets right to the point.
(2 Tim 3:16-17 NLT)  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. {17} It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
This is why, after Josiah has now spent time in the Word, that he begins to find that he has LOTS of work to do!

6. An Extraordinary Person Influences His World (2Kings 23:15)

:15 the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin,

Bethel – “the house of God”

This was the big sin that had contributed the most to the fall of the northern kingdom.

Jeroboam felt that if his people were allowed to go back to Jerusalem to worship during the regular feasts that they might end up leaving his country for good.

So he devised a counterfeit religion, to keep the people satisfied, and they worshipped golden calves in the cities of Dan in the north, and Bethel in south of Israel.

But the odd thing is that Bethel wasn’t a part of Josiah’s “kingdom”.  Bethel was a part of the northern kingdom.


God wants you to affect your world.

(Mat 5:14-16 KJV)  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. {15} Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. {16} Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Where the gospel goes, lives are changed.

7. An Extraordinary Person has a Purpose in Life (2Kings 23:16)

:16  according to the word of the LORD

Hundreds of years earlier, when Jeroboam had set up his false worship, a prophet came up to Bethel and warned that it would be destroyed by a person named Josiah.

(1 Ki 13:2 KJV)  And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

And now, hundreds of years later, a king with the right name shows up and destroys the altar.  Amazing!


God has a plan for you.

Josiah isn’t the only one that God has had a plan for.
(Eph 2:10 KJV)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We are God’s “made-things”, His “poema”, his works of beauty. God has “good works” which He was already set up ahead of time for us to do. All we have to do is do them.

Joseph –
He was a young man with dreams.  God had even given him the special ability to interpret dreams.  But his brothers grew jealous of him and one day they seized him and sold him as a slave.  I imagine life looked pretty tough to Joseph as he settled into his new life as an Egyptian slave.  But God was still with him, and God blessed him, even as a slave.  Then the day came when his master’s wife began to make advances towards him.  When he refused to commit adultery with her, she ended up accusing him of raping her, and Joseph now found himself in prison for a crime he didn’t do.  Talk about bleak!  Yet God was with him and even in prison he could see God’s blessings.  When Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer landed in his prison, he helped them by interpreting their dreams, yet even after they were released, Joseph was left in prison, forgotten, for two more years.
It’s at this point in our lives where we begin to wonder what kinds of plans God must have for us!
But there came a day when the Pharaoh needed someone to interpret his dreams, and Joseph was called to do so.  In the end, Joseph became exalted to the place of second ruler over Egypt.  And when a time of famine hit the world, Joseph was in a place to rescue his whole family from starvation.
Joseph was even able to forgive his brothers because he could see that God had used all of his life’s circumstances to get him to the place where he could save his family and the world.
How do I come to find out what God’s plans are for me?
(Prov 3:5-6 KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. {6} In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.