Oh to Have Such Devotion!

Posted on December 9, 2022


By David Ettinger

Nearing the End
The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been banished into exile by the powerful Assyrian Empire a century earlier (2 Kings 17:1-6). The Southern Kingdom of Judah had just a few decades remaining before encountering the same fate.

It would have been reasonable for righteous Jewish men or women of the day to look around at the rampant iniquity infesting the land and surrender all hope. Knowing the fate of their sister to the north, these few righteous ones had to have known that if Judah’s unbridled sin did not end soon, they were next.

These righteous ones needed a king who would stand for the God of Israel, who would observe his commands, seek to do His will, and have a heart to lead his people back to their God.

For 57 years, the people of Judah endured the wickedness of the long-reigning monarch Manasseh followed by the brief administration of his son Amon. So great was the vileness of Manasseh that 25 years following his death and in the midst of a period of revival in Judah, we learn: “Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger” (2 Kings 23:26).

Judah desperately needed a king who would be totally devoted to God; and for a short, shining stretch of time they had one.

A Man of Great Devotion
Josiah was born into a terrible legacy. He was the son of Amon and grandson of Manasseh. But somehow, someway, in God’s unfathomable sovereignty, Josiah was nothing like his ancestors. In fact Josiah was nothing like all the combined kings of Israel – both Southern and Northern Kingdoms – with the exception of two (David and Hezekiah).

Josiah came to the throne of Judah at age 8. At age 16, “he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). At age 20, “he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols” (same verse). At age 26, he ordered his royal officials “to purify the land and the temple” (2 Chronicles 34:8). Such was Josiah’s dedication to the God of Israel and the influence with which he inspired his people that it is written of him: “As long as he lived, they [his subjects] did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors (2 Chronicles 34:33).

Tragically, Josiah died at the young age of 39, and his obituary was this: “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” (2 Kings 23:25).

Oh For Such Devotion!
Josiah came along at Judah’s darkest period and did everything he could to restore the hearts of his people back to their God. He was obedient as no man in Israel at the time was; had a heart which burned with zeal for his Lord; and possessed a devotion to God rarely seen in any world leader before or since.

Oh that we had world leaders such as Josiah whose hearts would be unabashedly and single-mindedly focused on the God of all Creation!

Oh that all believers the world over would strive to emulate the steadfast and unflinching devotion to God demonstrated by Josiah!

Oh that I had such a devotion for my Lord Jesus Christ is these suffocating and perilous last days – days in which the world God so loves is denying, despising, and desecrating His great Name as never before!

May God give all of His children the burning devotion of Josiah, and may our God, in these last days, raise up many more Josiahs that they may turn a multitude of hearts to our great and glorious King, Jesus Christ our Lord!