It took a LOT of work to overhaul the land of Israel and get out all those idols. SO MUCH SMASHING! Hauling everything to Kidron, sorting through dead bodies for common folk bones… Nasty work, but important work, which the LORD certainly honored.
How discouraging to see the next king quickly turn the car around to get back on the ol’ path of destruction. It doesn’t take long for things to tumble out of control. The LORD was ready to put this one down.
I thought it was interesting that Josiah’s Passover was the first since the beginning of the judges period. That means David, for all his “after God’s own heart”-ness, never had Israel celebrate Passover.
It’s also interesting to me, how seriously Passover was observed during the life of Jesus. Jews got pretty hard-lined about rules and festivals post exile.
All this says to me, is the heart of the people and the influence of government is a strange relationship. It says over and over that Jeroboam “caused Israel to commit” idolatry. He told them the golden calves in Bethel and Dan represented the God of Israel. He manipulated them. The LORD repeatedly held him responsible for this. Over time, the people got real comfortable with the gods of Ammon, Sidon, Moab, etc. It makes you wonder which percentage of the population were rolling their eyes or even crying over the reforms of Josiah. It really doesn’t say a lot about the attitude of the people. All we know is that they all joined the covenant in 23:3. We also know Josiah’s son was immediately ready to push the reset button.
Leaders are accountable to where they lead their people, but, you know, we’re in the New Covenant and the Law is now written on our hearts. We’re able to understand the Scriptures, now, because of the Holy Spirit. He’s taken our hearts of stone and exchanged them for hearts of flesh. Personal responsibility is a thing.
No matter who our next President is, we’re all responsible to the LORD. What is written on our hearts? Loving our neighbors? Serving the poor? Trusting the Word of the LORD? Loving the orphan, widow and foreigner?
There’s more in our hands than we’d like to admit. Our next president could be a glorious modern day Josiah and we’d most likely tolerate him and revert back to our old ways as soon as he was out of office.
At this point in their story, exile was right around the corner. For us, who knows? Some say world war 3. Ask the Holy Spirit what kind of leader He would have you be.