2 Kings 23:12–18
17 The King asked, “What is the tombstone I see?”
The men of the city said, “It marks the tomb
of the man of God who came from Judah and
pronounced against the altar of Bethel the
very things you have done to it.” 18 “Leave it
along,” he said. Don’t let anyone disturb
his bones.” So they spared his bones
and those of the prophet who come from Samaria.
Josiah, fresh of hearing a word from the Lord, organizes his people and resources. He moves from site to site, tearing a part, burning up, and making waste of everything and those who lead people to offend and stands against the Lord.
I first wondered how many of us have that type of fire?
King Josiah was so convicted about the distress caused to the Lord by the sins of the people that He purposely went through and took down everything that was against the Lord. He wouldn’t allow anything to stand that would dishonor God, and sought to please the Lord by restoring His house of worship to Him and Him alone. Part of the problem with the church is a lack of Josiahs. We lack men and women who are so in love with God that they seek to honor God in word and deed.
We must be committed to restoring any error of prior generations
that do not line up with God’s Word.
King Josiah was sincere also about restoring and correcting the error of generations before him. He could no longer sit on his throne knowing that there was a Word and a way to heal the land. He couldn’t sleep knowing that God was not only angry, but was set against His own people. How many of us are like King Josiah? He shows his true kingship in the way he acts to protect and direct his kingdom in a way that placed them in favor with the Lord! If only we had more Josiahs!
We show true Kingship when our actions protect and direct the
kingdom in a way that pleases the Lord!
While on his quest, they come across a sealed tomb. He inquired of his men, and they remarked, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”
Let us not gloss over the statement, and the power of what is taking place here. Before King Josiah, there had been men of God who had spoken for the Lord. They confronted the people and the priest about their actions, warning and condemning them about the error and danger of worshiping and serving false God’s. Not only was their life in danger from citizens and leadership, but they were to be committed and wholly committed to the Lord, or they would meet the grave.
These men in the grave, met their maker much earlier than any of them planned to do. They spoke truthfully and boldly, but a lack of obedience along with their words and delivery of the truth resulted in an unmarked grave marker, for their existence.
Sadly, the name of the Prophet was not listed or documented, but what was remembered was the truth he spoke, and the commitment to the Lord displayed by him loosing His life for his God.
Though their names were not documented, the name of the Lord was
proclaimed from that day forward by everyone that passed his tomb.
Here King Josiah, 26 years into life, 18 years into Kingship, is confronted again with the gravity of the circumstances. The men of the city say, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who…. (did) the very things you have done to it.” I’m sure King Josiah had to realize that everyone wasn’t pleased with his actions. And though King, there would be those who could and would oppose him because of his stance and actions. Josiah realized that standing for God, and going against the traditions and norms of the people could make him unpopular and a target of wickedness.
How many of us are willing to stand for God if He is against
cultural norms and or tradition?
Never the less, King Josiah was not wavered. He was so committed, that he continued on his tour to rid the city despite looking not just at the grave of the Prophet from Judah, but the text informs us that there was another unnamed Prophet with a tomb from Samaria. The text says, “…so they spared his bones and those of the Prophet who had come from Samaria” Yes, he wasn’t looking at one grave, but two graves. Both of men of God who took a stand for the Lord! He continued on. He completed the work of the Prophet from Judah, fulfilling His Words by destroying the altar of Bethel.
I. Honor those that served and sacrificed before you!
King Josiah responds to these facts, “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” King Josiah demands that the grave of God’s servant remained untouched. In this, he further honors those who have taken a bold stand before him. We too must be committed to honor those who have stood before us and with us.
2. The Forgiveness of God applies not only to Sheep but to Shepherd.
Though it might be challenging, we must understand that honoring them, further honors the Lord. It also brings glory and honor to the mission we all share the load in carrying out. We must carry this out, even when one of us falters, knowing that forgiving message God has us carry, applies not only to Sheep but to Shepherd.
3. I’ve Counted the Cost; Now I’ll Complete the Conquest
What I love most in this moment in history is found in verse 19. The text says, “Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places…..” In other words, Josiah continued his conquest. He didn’t allow the fact that he had stood over two graves of Prophets stop him. He didn’t let the fact that his own death had been Prophesied by Prophetess Huldah stop him. He gathered his men and continued to lay to rest everything that stood against the Lord.
Too many of us are stopped and or slowed down by our fears. We count the past as the present, and are frozen by its results. King Josiah continued forward, eager and determined to fulfill the work of the Lord, and to restore the people; even if it cost him is life. Actually, because he knew who was in control of his life, he pressed on with more confidence, knowing that he would meet the maker and find peace.
4. He Sacrificed to Save Others
He did this despite having God’s promise “…you will be buried in peace….your eyes will not see the disaster…” the Lord spoke to King Josiah in Chapter 22. He knew that his future was not to suffer, but he continued the journey because he hoped to change the Lords mind about the fate of his people.
How many of us care about the people so much that we look past self?
We are quick to ask other to sacrifice for us as Kings; oxen that should not be muzzled and worthy of a double portion, but how many of us are making sacrifices beyond prayer, preaching and teaching for those whom God has entrusted to us? We are quick to label ourselves as Shepherds after God’s own heart, but how many of us are troubled by the sin we see in our congregations and in our own lives? King Josiah had little to gain from this conquest, but continued it because He wanted to restore a relationship with God and His people!
As Shepherds, we must do likewise. The Pleasure of the Lord is our desire, and the People of the Lord are our responsibility. We must make every effort to direct the people into a right relationship with the Lord.