2 Kings 23 vs 25 - 26
“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, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”
We are well into the heart of autumn now, the trees on our road are shedding their leaves with every breath of wind and on the footpaths outside our gate they lie ankle deep, a multicoloured carpet. The summer has passed all too quickly. The days of lockdown and glorious sunshine when the pace of life slowed refreshingly for most of us anyway, are a passing memory but the prospect of another lockdown in the dreary dead of winter now looms large as a possibility. Time passes, seasons move on and some things come to an end. It is the nature of life.
In Judah as well things moved on. The brief spring and summer of Josiah’s reforms came rapidly to an end with his sudden demise. He died in battle defending the borders of his kingdom, little Judah having been caught up in the clash of ancient superpowers. His son Jehoahaz became king but embraced the ways of his ancestors rather than the faith of his father and the people of Judah took their lead from their king. The bible’s verdict though on Josiah is remarkable “Neither before or after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did.” That included King David often held to be the ideal king and still celebrated as such even today.
As a Christian how would you want to be remembered? We may not turn the world upside down, the influence we have may not be great or go much beyond our family or immediate circle of acquaintances but in the end it is not about how many people have taken their cue, or their example of faith from us, it’s about our faithfulness to Jesus and how we have shown our love for him. Josiah was a brief bright star of faith in the darkening skies of judgement and God commended him as one who lived wholeheartedly for his glory. The same is true of the parable Jesus told of the servants and the talents of gold. It is not the profit made which is the important lesson but the faithfulness of the servants in the light of their master’s return. That’s what earned the commendation, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
In the end people are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus not by our efforts. Conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit it does not depend on our powers of persuasion. Until Christ returns our calling individually and together as the church is be consistent in our witness and live faithfully in our discipleship. He will do the rest; his kingdom will flourish even though in a spiritual sense we may have to pass through winter before spring comes.