King Josiah Renews the Covenant
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 34:1-33, 2 Chronicles 35:1-27, Psalm 1:1-3
BY Ginny Owens
Listening has immense benefits. We listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music that teach us new insights and encourage our hearts. We listen to our loved ones and friends to know their joys and heartaches and to understand how we can love them better. As a blind person and a Christian, listening is my lifeline. I daily have to tune my ears and mind to verbal directions and traffic movements to navigate New York City safely. And I have to spend time tuning my heart to the Lord’s voice each morning so I can see Him in the details of my day.
Josiah listens to God, and as he does, God moves in his heart and mind, leading to actions that reflect his friendship with God. And his leadership, albeit temporarily, brings Judah and the remnant of Israel to center their hearts on the Lord again.
Second Chronicles 34 tells us that Josiah became king at age eight, sought the Lord as David had done, and “did what was right in the LORD’s sight” (2Chronicles 34:1–2). We can’t miss the beautiful, powerful truth here: everything changes when God moves into your heart. Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret counsel of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he reveals his covenant to them.”
Josiah’s seeking led to his doing—beginning by eliminating all obstacles between God and His people. He removed all physical idols, places where they were worshiped, and desecrated the remains of those who had administered their worship (2Chronicles 34:3–7). In friendship with God, no change is off-limits. He wants our hearts, and thankfully, he gives us insight and strength to remove and release anything standing between Him and us.
Josiah then rebuilt and restored the temple, where God lived among His people, though His people had forgotten (vv.8–13). Many scholars believe that God had not been worshiped well not only because of Israel’s numerous idols but because His book had been buried in the bowels of the temple until it was discovered during the restoration (vv.14–15). The words there, words God spoke to Moses, predict that God’s people would reject Him until His judgment mercifully ended their self-destruction. Upon hearing this, Josiah was repentant for his people and sought the Lord again (vv.19–21). God saw that listening to His words had led Josiah to a humble, repentant heart and promised to delay His judgment (vv.23–28).
Josiah continued listening well to God’s words, reinstating the Passover and making a covenant to follow God—all in the presence of God’s people (2Chronicles 34:29–35:19). However, the story sadly ends with Josiah not listening to God’s words, reminding us that there was only one King who could perfectly change the course of God’s people. With His life, Jesus paid for the wrath God’s people (including us) deserved.
I pray that as we see these truths unfolded in Josiah’s story, we are greatly encouraged that God our Father desires to change us—and our corners of the world through us—as we listen to Him, our dearest and most perfect Friend. Let’s respond to Christ’s unbreakable covenant with the wholehearted joyful pursuit of His ways.