What does life look like at 8 years old? School work, assignments, television, building legos, playing with friends or just reading a nice story book would be one of your regular day to day activity.
Now can you imagine being a king at 8 years old with a huge crown on your head, clothed in a golden robe, your royal scepter in your hands and you sitting on a mighty throne to govern your people. This was what everyday life looked like for a young boy in the bible. His name was Josiah and he became a king when he was just eight years old.
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. – 2 Kings 22:1
Background on King Josiah
Josiah became king when he was just 8-years old and reigned for 31 years. Imagine being thrust into a position at such a young age! But this young king came full of pleasant surprises. He steps up to the role, breaks a negative family pattern of evil, purges the nation of idolatry and turns the heart of his people back to God.
Did you know that Josiah’s father Amon and grandfather Mannaseh were unfaithful to God? Both men did what was very evil in the sight of God. They worshipped idols and turned the hearts of their people away from God.
We can say that Josiah had poor male role models to look up to in his life. But even though Josiah had a father who made bad choices, he chose to seek godly counsel and model his own life after godly men. This young king goes on to chart a new story and path for his life.
Today, you can say that Josiah chose to pursue holiness by living according to God’s standards and not the world’s standards. You can read about King Josiah in Bible in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23, and also in 2 Chronicles Chapters 34 and 35.
So, what made this young king very different in his generation?
Lesson on King Josiah-Teaching Our Children to Pursue Holiness
First, let us answer the question, what is holiness? I like this definition given by this children’s ministry. It says:
“Holiness means being set apart; it’s being a reflection of God’s goodness and righteousness. It means not looking like the rest of the world but imitating a perfect Savior.” God wants everyone of his children in his word to be holy.
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16
God is a Holy God and wants you to pursue a life of holiness just like Josiah. He wants you to model his nature and character to the world around you. Josiah dared to be different in a world where sin, idolatry and evil was the order of the day. Does this picture remind you of the world we currently live in today?
But King Josiah set himself apart from the rest of the world by choosing to follow God and his word:
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 22:2
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
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. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols.
These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem.
In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.2 Chronicles 34: 1-7 NIV
Let’s look at Josiah’s life and some ways that can help you pursue a life of holiness today.
1. Always Do what is Right Before God
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 22:2 NIV
Have you ever been faced with a situation where you had to choose between right and wrong? I bet you have. It was either you chose to tell your mom a lie or face the consequences by telling her the truth.
God wants us as his children to always do what is right before him. And a good place to start is by doing what is right before your parents, teachers, and friends.
You can start today by always telling the truth, being obedient to those in authority and showing good character. Josiah chose to do what was right before God even at a very young age. His father and grandfather did many wrong things before God, but he chose to do things God’s way.
Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. – Deuteronomy 6:18 NIV
The LORD is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. – Proverbs 21:3 NLT
So, whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 ESV
2. Follow God No Matter What
“He followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.“
Will you choose to stand for God when the temptation to sin comes knocking? It is always hard to take a stand for truth especially when everyone else seems to go with the crowd and popular opinion.
Sometimes, even your friends may not understand why you do and say things differently from them. You either choose to be a people pleaser or God pleaser by following God and his word completely. Let your loyalty to God be complete.
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. – Acts 5:29
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.– 1 Peter 1:14
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. – Proverbs 4:27
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children. – Ephesians 5:1
When King Josiah chose to follow God’s ways, he did not compromise. The opinion of others did not matter, neither was he was swayed by position, influence or power. His focus was on doing the will of God and he did it with all his heart.
3. God’s Word Leads You to Repentance
“When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.” – 2 Kings 22:11 NIV
“Go you, enquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us” – 2 Kings 22:13 NIV
Do you know that God’s word can touch the deepest parts of your soul and transform you forever? When King Josiah heard the words from the book of the law, those words made a deep impression in his heart, and he tore his robes. That action signified mourning or being in great distress. He realized that there was a need for God’s people and the nation to change their ways and practices.
Immediately, those words moved him to seek forgiveness and repentance on behalf of God’s people. And this also led him to carry out one of the most thorough reformations in the bible. He purged the entire nation of idolatry and evil practices. The actions he carried out can be found in 2 Kings 23 and 2 Chronicles 34.
In order to enforce the laws written in the book that the High Priest Hilkiah had found in the Temple, King Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the mediums and fortunetellers, and all the household gods, idols, and all other pagan objects of worship. – 2 Kings 23:24 NIV
He took out household gods, idols and every pagan object in sight. Today, God wants you to cleanse your life of any idols, those things that want to take your heart faraway from God. He is calling you to choose a life set apart from sin and worldliness. Let the word of God lead you to repentance today.
At the end of King Josiah’s, his legacy spoke for him. Will others say about you that you served the Lord with all of you heart, mind, strength and obeyed his word? Will it be said that you pursued a life of holiness while on earth?
There had never been a king like him before, who served the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses; nor has there been a king like him since. – 2 Kings 23:25 NIV
Praying that our Children Pursue Holiness
Dear Father, I ask that you help ____________ to pursue a life of holiness. Help __________ to identify those things in his/her life that are working to turn away his heart from you. Give ________ the courage to always stand boldly for you and your word.
I pray that your choices will always set you apart as a child of God. I declare that your heart will always yearn to do what is right before God. __________ you will follow God wholeheartedly all the days of your life. Amen!
Extra Resources about King Josiah:
Here are some extra resources to help reinforce all that we have learnt about King Josiah today.
Bible Story: Josiah gets it right (Yotube video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWyiZ7NnlVM
Preteen Bible Lesson about King Josiah – Following God
Song about following God by Saddleback Kids
Guest Blogger Bio.
Ufuoma Fijabi writes on her blog www.oneinspiredmum.com where she shares God inspired articles that focus on motherhood, faith, hope and spirituality. Her passion is to inspire, encourage, support and build up faith in the heart of moms in their motherhood journey. She is wife to an amazing man and mom to two children. She currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria with her family.