In 2 Kings 23 King Josiah cleans Judah of its idolatry. I was struck by how perverted God’s people had become – prostitutes set up shop in God’s temple, the people burning their own children as sacrifices and other flagrant awful sins. Some of this had been going on for centuries.
But Josiah changes all that. The book of the Law is read. He relentlessly attacks and destroys the false gods. “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25) But even though the repentance was genuine they did not all live happily ever after.
“Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger.” (2 Kings 23:26) God promises to not bring judgment while good King Josiah is alive but says judgment will come. Because of the awful sins of a previous king, Manasseh, who “shed innocent blood” God brought destruction in spite of sincere repentance. Because Manasseh “had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.” (2 Kings 24:4) The Lord was not willing to forgive. Wow!
Pharaoh of Egypt attacks Judah and good King Josiah goes out to battle to defend God’s people. He is killed! What?! That’s right. The good king is killed in battle.
Josiah’s son becomes kings and returns to idolatry. It is a rapid downhill ride to destruction after that. Josiah’s passionate and radical repentance delayed but could not stop God’s judgment on Judah. It was just too late.
This is sobering to me. I know we live in the New Covenant. I know our sins are forgiven. I know the law was given by Moses but grace by the Messiah. But I also know the Lord does not change. Sin is still serious stuff. Probably much more serious than I tend to make it. Much more vile and offensive to a holy God than I realize. Perhaps I am the only one but I needed this reminder.
Lord, help me see my sin as You see it. Help me hate it, flee from it rather than coddle and toy with it.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; …