Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 22:3-23:30, Acts 21:37-22:16, Psalm 1:1-6, Proverbs 18:11-12
A few days ago, we saw Hezekiah’s dedication to God. 2 Kings 22-23 contains the story of another righteous king who responded to God. In King Josiah’s case, it was not the words of a prophet or a sign from heaven. He encountered God through the written word. The high priest in Josiah’s day was named Hilkiah and he discovered the Book of the Law when they were cleaning and rebuilding the temple.
Here is a description of Josiah:
25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
These two chapters tell about the things that were removed from the temple
- Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens.
- He did away with the idolatrous priests.
- The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it;
- He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
He then extended his reforms throughout Judah and Samaria – remember that the northern kingdom had already been taken away to Assyria.
How does this apply to me today? In today’s language, I would say that Josiah set very clear boundaries of what was acceptable and what was unacceptable in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and throughout their nation. I need to read the Bible and look at ways that Baal (power, wealth) and Asherah (fertility, unbridled sexuality) have infested my life and entangled my mind, then root them out, grind them to dust and return to worship God.