The Passover Josiah Remembered
I found Josiah's life amazing in 2 Kings 22, as I am reading through the history of Israel in the Bible. There aren't many kings who were "right" in the Lord's sight or walked in all the ways of his ancestor David. When the book of the law was found in the Lord's temple, apparently missing for some time, Josiah tore his clothes when it was read to him. He realized that the Lord's wrath was great against Israel because they had not obeyed the works of the book. When they inquired of the Lord, the prophetess reported that because Josiah's heart was tender and he humbled himself before the Lord when he realized how they had abandoned the Lord, worshiping and sacrificing to other gods, and even wept before the Lord, the Lord put off the disaster to come. (v. 14-20)
Josiah, who was 8 when he began his reign, began to turn to the Lord when he was 16, and began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem when he was 20, still a youth (2 Chronicles 34:3). He proceeded to completely change the nation by destroying all the altars to other gods, even down to household idols (2 Kings 23:24). It was said that "there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him." (2 Kings 23:25) "Throughout his reign (Israel) did not turn aside from following the Lord God of their ancestors." (2 Chronicles 34:33)
But the saddest thing to me was that previously "no such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah." (2 Kings 23:22-23, 2 Chronicles 35:18-19) So since Samuel the Prophet, even through David and Solomon's reign, there hadn't been a Passover celebration like this, when Josiah was 26 years old! This deficiency must have grieved the Lord's heart, because it broke my heart to read. After discovering the instruction to celebrate the Passover every year, Josiah actually did it, and did it up big, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 35. The Passover was to be the highlight of the year, a memorial as a permanent statute (Exodus 12), remembering how the death angel passed over the houses of Israel in Egypt, but those who didn't believe and trust in the Lord, according to His instructions, were put to death. It was a commemoration of salvation and the door to freedom, as the blood of the slain lamb was put on the doorposts and lintels, providing the covering/protection to those in the house who believed (Exodus 12). It was a picture of the redemption to come through Jesus paying the price for our freedom from sin, by his blood, as a covering over the iniquities of those who believe.
I remember hearing a wonderful story of the Jews being released from a prison camp after the Holocaust. As the freedom fighters escorted them via trucks down the road to a hotel, they realized it was Passover and insisted on stopping, camping out on the side of the road, even though they were almost at their destination. It was nearly sundown and the Jews wanted to honor the Lord for their freedom to worship more than they wanted the comfort of a nice meal and a soft bed. That was amazing.
Do we weep over the sins of our forefathers, our nation, our world, ourselves? Do we tear our clothes over our selfishness and the sins that so easily entangle us? Is the life we are living the life that God wants for us and the world? Does God still reward those who follow Him and punish those who don't? I think much of it comes through natural consequences, as God was the one who set up the system, and He knows what works best for us, giving us a profitable and stable society if we follow His instructions. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." My advice - seek Him! Follow Him! Give yourself to Him! Your life and the life of your family can be transformed by Him. He is good and worthy to be praised!
King Josiah makes me proud. What a godly man! How can we be more like him and inspire our children and grandchildren to be like Josiah and do what is right in the Lord's sight?
Passover begins this Saturday evening, March 27th, 2021. Perhaps you would like to celebrate, like we have done many times in our family, incorporating Jesus the Messiah as "completed" Jews who celebrate Passover do, and remember the Lord!