2 Chronicles 35
Josiah was a loyal king to God which bucked the trend of a succession of bad kings. We read in this chapter that Josiah led Israel back to honouring God by adhering to the Jewish festal calendar as prescribed in the Torah by Moses and then further by David and Solomon. Special emphasis is given to the festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread. These were helpful in reminding the Jewish generation of the faithfulness of God’s grace and mercy toward his people.
It was important in God’s sight for his people to remember this, and similarly it is important in God’s sight for our generation and every other to remember His grace toward us. In our era, we do so through Jesus’s remembrance feast introduced at the last supper (Mathew 26:17-30). Here we remember God’s ultimate saving work at the cross for all mankind. Our sins hanging on Jesus unto his death and his righteousness hanging on believers unto eternal life. Remembering this colossal work of grace not only honours God but strengthens our faith and devotion.
Josiah’s demise at the hand of the king of Egypt comes as a surprise. Josiah gets it wrong and challenges King Neco, who demands passage through Judah as he travels to support his Assyrian ally against the rival coalition of Babylon and Media. Josiah ignores Neco’s charge that he, Josiah, opposes God who is leading the Egyptian King (v21). Perhaps Josiah was presumptuous in thinking that God wouldn’t speak to a gentile king and so refused to seek counsel from the Lord on this matter. Instead he disguises himself and goes to battle and dies. Herein lies the stark reminder that we must continue to seek the Lord’s help and counsel rather than rush into decisions that may jeopardise the good that God has brought about. Jesus reminds us of our constant need of him in his words to the disciples “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Judah mourns and a vacuum is left which is soon filled by foreign monarchs.
As believers, let us remember our Saviour’s grace toward us and invite him to interact with us in our daily decisions, that we may bear much fruit for his glory, through his power that works in us.