31 The king stood by his pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep His commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book.
King Josiah of Judah not only did this, but also
32 … had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
Who was Josiah? He was the great grandson of King Hezekiah, the grandson of Manasseh who reigned for fifty-five years. Manasseh did great evil, but repented of his evil sinful ways, humbled himself, and turned back to God and was blessed by God. After Manasseh, Josiah’s father Amon ruled for two years and refused to humble himself and repent of his evil ways. He was assassinated and his son Josiah became king at the age of eight and ruled for thirty-one years.
At the tender age of sixteen Josiah began to follow the ways of his father David or as this chapter tells us
3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. 4 Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down.
Years later at the age of twenty-six
8 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.
While repairing the temple Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given through Moses (v14b). He gave the Book of the Law of the Lord to Shaphan, Josiah’s secretary.
Shaphan took it to Josiah and read it to him. The words had a great impact on Josiah and he was greatly concerned about God’s anger as the book had not been followed for a long time, so he sent his advisors to the prophet Huldath to find out what he should do.
21 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that is poured out on us because those who have gone before us have not kept the word of the Lord; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”
Huldath shared what God had told her, how punishment was coming but it would be delayed.
26 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 27 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what He spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before Me and tore your robes and wept in My presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. 28 Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.
That is why Josiah sought to obey the words of the covenant written in this book and had everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin pledge themselves to it; the people of Jerusalem did this in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. We know what it says in the book, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. How are we choosing to live?
RileyD, nwJ (to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)