JOSIAH`S REFORMS 2 Kings 22-1 ff
Josiah was a son of Jedidah he ruled Judah when he was eight. He was one of the Kings who measured up to the standards that were set by King David.
In the first place, Josiah is credited for paying the man who were repairing the temple. He instructed Hilkiah the high priest to pay the carpenters, the builders and to buy the timber and the stones that were to be used in the repairs.
It was during his term of office that the book of law was discovered by Hilkiah in the temple.
After hearing the message, Josiah tore his clothes in dismay. He observed that his ancestors behavior were contrary to the demands of the law. This portrayed that Josiah repented and humbled himself before the Lord.
Josiah invited all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. He also invited the priests, prophets and all the people the King read about the whole book. This reminded them of their covenant obligations.
Josiah stood by the royal column and made a covenant with God. He promised to obey him by keeping the laws. He even influenced other people as they also promised to keep the covenant. In this way Josiah tried to renew the covenant faith.
He tried to destroy all the objects which were used in idol worship. All these steps were carried out in response to the law book. He instructed the high priest and the guards at the entrance to the temple to bring at all objects used in idol worship and he burnt them.
He destroyed the living quarters around the temple which were occupied by temple prostitutes.
He also desecrated Topheth the Pagan place of worship in the valley of Himmon so that no one would sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Molech. God condemned human sacrifice.
He removed the horses that the Kings of Judah had dedicated to the worship of the sun, burnt the chariots used in this worship; he also tore down their altars and broke the store pillars in pieces.
He tore down the place of worship in Bethel which had been built by King Jeroboam son of Nebat who led Israel into sin.
He killed all the pagan priests on the altars where they served.
He ordered the people to celebrate the Passover in honor of their God. This was observed in obedience to the book of the law. It was a unique one in a way that it was a national festival which focused on Jerusalem.
Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the fortune tellers and the mediums. He even removed the household gods and all other objects of pagan worship.
- He majorly concentrated on religious reforms and neglected other reforms.
- He came to power when he was very young. We assume other people were in charge of duties.
Josiah meet sudden death in a battle field when he was trying to stop the Egyptian army at Megidde and was killed in the battle (2 Kings 23:28-30).
ROLE OF PROPHET ELIJAH (1 Kings 17-21)
Elijah was a prophet from Tishbe in Gilead during the time of King Ahab.
- Elijah announced drought which was to last between 2-3yrs. In this way he demonstrated god`s power over nature. Withholding of the rain reveled Yahweh`s power (Chapter 17:1-7).
- Elijah helped the widow by blessing their oil and flour. The widow’s bowl didn’t run out of flour nor did they run out of oil to be taken throughout the drought. The woman trusted God and recognized that Elijah demonstrated god`s providential powers (17:8-16)
- Elijah restored the life of the widow`s son (Chapter 17:17-24) initially the widow thought that Elijah caused it to happen as a punishment for her sins. It was a common assumption then that suffering and sin were connected. The boys restoration was God`s doing in response to Elijah`s prayer.
- Elijah openly challenged the false prophets and the Baal worshippers (Chapter 18:1-40) Elijah desired to eliminate syncretism and hoped that people had to make a decision between Yahweh and Baal. He begun to make fun of them by saying that “He is day dreaming or relieving himself or perhaps he is gone on a journey or maybe he is sleeping and you have got to wake him up”. The prophets prayed louder and even cut themselves with knives.
- He warned King Ahab about the rain when the drought was ending and this showed that he had power to predict what would happen in future.
- He anointed Elisha as his assistant who was later going to succeed him as Prophet and all those instructions were from God.
- Through his faith in the Lord he asked him for protections which he did by making him go back without fear and anointing Elisha, Hazeal and Jehu as Kings.
- Elijah made the people believe in God when he performed the miracle hence showing that the prophets of Baal were false making people abandon them and worship the Lord.
- Elijah brought panic to the King and his wife and hence the queen wanted to kill him which enabled him to seek for God`s guidance and Judgment.
- Elijah gathered all the people around him. He took 12 stones one for each of the 12 tribes. The 12 stones represent the original unity of all Israel.
- He constructed for the worship of the Lord. He dug a trench round it larger enough to hold almost 14liters of water.
- Elijah places the wood on the altar, cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood.
- He requested the people to fill 4 jars full of water and pour it on the offering and the wood. The water filled the trench by soaking the sacrifice and the wood with water. Elijah was trusting God to send fire.
- The prophet approached the altar and prayed to the Lord to send fire
- The lord sent fire and it burnt up the earth and dried up the water in the trenches when the people saw this they threw themselves on the ground and exclaimed the “Lord is God”, “The Lord alone is God”
- Elijah ordered the people to seize the prophets of Baal and he led them down to River Kishan and killed them.
LESSONS FROM THE ACCOUNT
- There is need to contact through prayer. Christians should be form and stand to challenge those who oppose God.
- Christians should demonstrate faith in their God.
- Christians should destroy things that make them deviate.
- Christians should believe in god`s miracles.
- Christians should respect the Lord`s Messengers.
- There is power in prayer and the lord answers a prayer of a faithful servant.
- Christians should always punish those who neglect God. The Baal prophets were arrested and later killed.
- Christians should be committed to God`s work even when humiliated.
- God`s messengers should always point out the wrong things that political leaders do.
- There is need to acknowledge the fact that God is greater than all other powers and therefore Christians should worship only one God. After the miracle the people threw themselves on the ground and exclaimed “The Lord is God”, The Lord alone is God”.