Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
2 Kings 22.1-2
I am too young. I am too old. I do not have the skills. I am too busy. I don’t want to commit myself.
The above, form a subset of the reasons that are frequently given for not getting involved in some project or ministry. They are reasons that are offered both in the world in general and in the life of the church. In both areas there is massive work to be done in what is known in the secular world as the ‘Voluntary Sector’. It is different in the life of the church, where such ‘work’ should be part of everyday service in gratitude for what Christ has done for us and because we have a gospel to proclaim to a needy world and such a task falls to all of God’s people.
The first of these ‘reasons’ or dare I say, ‘excuses’ is blown wide open by the account of Josiah, the last of the good kings of Judah who came to the throne at the tender age of eight and reigned for thirty-one years following completely the ways of King David, the ‘man after God’s own heart.’
Clearly at such a tender age he had godly advisers, but as the account of his life, which we will explore a little this week, unfolds, we see him establishing a reign in which the glory of God and obedience to him, was central.
There is something of a parallel with the reign of King Edward VI in England. He came to the throne at the age of nine and although he lived for a much shorter time than Josiah, under wise and godly counsellors the chief of whom was Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, he laid the foundation for the birth of Protestantism in the country, the blessings of which we rejoice in to this day.
These things are under the Sovereignty of God which is often difficult to fathom. For example, following the kingship of Hezekiah when Judah was singularly blessed, two ‘bad’ kings, and that is an understatement, Manasseh and Amon reigned, meaning that Josiah had, as it were, to start from scratch again. But by the grace of God young as he was, he was mightily used to this end even though his godly rule did not remove the punishment of the exile.
His age, his inexperience and all the other reasons for not being involved were negated by God’s blessing and equipping. Similarly with Edward VI.
Both of these men came from the Royal line and therefore in one sense had no choice as the ‘lot’ fell to them because of that. But there is still a challenge for us.
Are we prepared to lay our lives on the line, without excuse, for the glory of God and for him to use in his service