29 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.30 He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. 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.
32 Then he 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.
If you are saying to yourself, “Hmmm, I’ve heard about this King Josiah before,” good for you, because we first read about King Josiah in 2 Kings, chapter 22. Josiah was all of eight years old when he became king. He was sixteen when he began to seek the Lord. In the twelfth year of his reign, Josiah began reforms in Jerusalem. Six years later he began to repair the temple, which is how workers found a scroll of God’s law.
Josiah wasn’t the first king to initiate reforms among his people. Hezekiah also tore down idols and altars to pagan gods. I guess that says something about how quickly the people would revert to idol worship when a king didn’t lead faithfully by example. Don’t we see it today as well? Those in leadership positions – on a local or national level, in church or school or within a company, can and do influence those around them, either for good or for ill. Jesus once said that if anyone causes a little one who believes in him to sin, it would be better for that person to hang a millstone around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea! Like King Josiah, we have a responsibility to be a positive model of faith, as we witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Lord God, forgive me if I have failed to be a good model of faith. I want to live my faith in concrete ways that encourage others well. I pray for all who are in leadership positions of one sort or another, that they may be positive role models. Together we may make this world a kinder, gentler, more compassionate place, to the glory of your name. Amen.