He was a man who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He was called a son of David despite his natural father’s abandonment of God. He set a standard before his people of true repentance and radical obedience by not merely giving God lip service but by waging war on the powers of darkness.
Centuries of pagan worship had infiltrated and stolen the affections of Israel and Judah, yet in one year this king dashed these idols to bits. King Josiah was a revolutionary revivalist and reformer of his time and his mandate is as relevant now as it was then. The word I am about to share with you has been burning on the inside of me for a long time. I remember when God began to show me revelation about King Josiah and what he did during his reign. I believe that this is a timely word for the hour that we are in as a nation.
The legacy left for Josiah
Hundreds of years of idolatry and evil practices carried out by both kingdoms, originating with King Solomon, had passed before Josiah became king of Judah and the odds of him being a righteous ruler were not in his favor. His grandfather, Manasseh, had rebuilt the shrines that his father, Hezekiah, had torn down. 2 Kings 21 records that Manasseh erected altars for Baal and he made an Asherah, placing it in the Lord’s temple.
He worshiped all the powers of heaven, building pagan altars in the Lord’s temple and sacrificing his son in the fire as well as shedding much innocent blood. As if that were not enough, Manasseh practiced divination and sorcery, consulting psychics and necromancers.
His sin caused the nation of Judah to sin greatly, leading to their eventual captivity in Babylon. His son, Amon, followed in his father’s footsteps, worshiping the same false gods and ultimately abandoning the Lord. Most people with a pedigree like Josiah’s would have counted themselves unqualified to answer the high call, but God sets His seal upon the unqualified and He will not deny a repentant heart.
It was in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign that this king embraced the mantle upon his life. It began with the order to repair the temple, an undertaking more prophetic than intended. Soon after repairs began the high priest found the Book of the Law in the temple, having been forgotten among the barrage of idols.
Upon hearing the words of the Book, Josiah wasted no time in bringing an onslaught to the kingdom of darkness once he was in right standing with the Lord. He was relentless in his pursuit of tearing down strongholds so that God would be exalted. To many, dethronement of false gods having ruled for centuries in the land would seem insurmountable, but no devil can outmatch God and one act of obedience can change the course of a nation and a generation.
Josiah was fierce and merciless against the principalities demanding worship owed to God alone. He understood that God did not tolerate misdirected worship. King Josiah brought reform to his land in one year by doing the following:
- Removing and burning pagan vessels from the Lord’s temple
- Deposing pagan priests ordained by previous kings
- Cutting down the Asherah pole from the temple and beating it into dust
- Defiling the places of pagan offerings
- Breaking down the high places located at the gates of the city
- Defiling the area where children were sacrificed to Molech
- Removing the horses located at the entrance of the temple previously dedicated to the sun
- Destroying the altars made by his grandfather, Manasseh
- Defiling the high places King Solomon had established for Ashtoreth, Chemosh and Milcom
- Breaking the pillars and cutting down the Asherim
- Tearing down the altar established by King Jeroboam in Bethel
- Removing and burning the shrines in Samaria
- Sacrificing all of the pagan priests on the altars and burning their bones
- Removing all mediums, necromancers, household gods and idols
- Reestablishing the Passover feast.
He not only confronted the false gods in his kingdom of Judah, he brought the charge to the kingdom of Israel and assaulted the places of pagan worship. Neither kingdom escaped judgment for their infidelity to God, but Josiah was heard by God and he delayed the judgment with his repentance and radical obedience.
Josiah’s mandate is a mandate for today!
God is raising up temple cleansers and idol smashers in this hour. He is searching the hearts of His people and purifying those who would bow to His will and submit to His instruction. He is looking for those who are fearless and faithful. The place that we have given to the devil must be beaten into dust.
Much like today, sin was tolerated and lifted up as a standard to follow. While idolatry and evil practices have been welcomed into the church, the call to holiness is touted by many as too costly or unobtainable. Even now it brings tears to my eyes as I hear the Lord saying, “Sin has been given an altar in my temples, my people“. The Word of God has been forgotten among the barrage of idols in the temples of the Holy One. We need to hear the Word of the Lord once again and to answer the call to honor His covenant, saturating ourselves in holiness.
I see those who would answer the mandate warring in the Spirit against every lofty thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of Christ, bringing it into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:4). I see a great move of God where cries of repentance and intercession are on the lips of those who hunger for holiness.
I see prophetic wrecking balls wiping out idols, smashing them into oblivion. I see Josiahs being raised up with the sanction of consecration in their stride. Though our nation will be held accountable for the tolerance of sin, the sacrifice of innocent life upon the altar of abortion and embracing idols rather than Him, God hears those who would weep and repent on behalf of a nation and in His mercy delays judgment so that others may rise up to love Him and to defy the enemy.