This study brings us to the spiritual zenith of Josiah’s reign. The great passover which occurred in the eighteenth of his reign is what Josiah, the man who became King as a boy of eight, is best remembered for.
EIGHTEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING
This great passover took eighteen years to establish. Converted in the eighth year, he began removing the idols in the twelfth year but it was not until the eighteenth year that the temple was resored, the Scriptures recovered, the covenant renewed and the way made ready for this passover feast.
Very often the best works that we ever accomplish are those which are the product of a prolonged period of learning and patience. Such a schoolroom produces convictions and resolve which a spontaneous decision will fail to instil. We are more often being prepared for a great work than we will ever be doing a great work. But we must respond well in the schoolroom and do the bidding of the teacher. For eighteen years Josiah was learning and when the examination came he passed with flying colours!
Whatever we are doing for God at this time we are learning for something, better, bigger and greater. We will make mistakes, commit sins and show our lack of maturity. But we must learn the lessons, listen to the master and press on because the potter is carefully moulding us that we might be vessels of honour. Some are called to do their greatest works for God in old age. Others are taken down very trying and difficult avenues which are places of training for very big responsibilties.
Whereever we are today, whatever we are doing, whatever age we are are – God is training us for the future. Let us be sensitive to His will, and then perhaps we will reach a spiritual zenith, a moment of revival like Josiah’s great passover.
A DETAILED PARTICULAR WORK
These verses give a distinct impression that the work of this passover was done carefully.
They acted according to book of Moses (v13) and conducted the sacrifices according to the ordinance (v13). They followed the commandment of their king (v16) with the singers following the pattern established by David and other great leaders of this practice (v15).
They took care in what they did. We likewise are to guard the particulars of church life. Our doctrine and theology which underpins the Church is not to be tampered with in any way. The practices of the Church, in terms of how we worship, the Psalms and hymns and especially the centrality of God’s Word are not up for discussion. A denomination or local assembly which tampers with the foundations removes the very essence of stability and charters a course to an unknown destination, that guarantees nothing but departure from truth.
Care and attention must also be given to how we do the work and service of God. The porters of the gates during this great Passover set a terrific example:
and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.2nd Chronicles 35:15
They are an example of faithfulness because their heart was in the work that God had provided for them. We may expose sound doctrine and be wedded to traditional worship, we may read the Authorised Version but be devoid of true love in our heart and devotion in our spirits. For the work that we do for Christ to have real meaning then our hearts need to be engaged.
THE SPIRITUAL PINNACLE OF THE TEMPLE MINISTRY
The Chronicler records that the spirit of Josiah’s ministry was one of the high water marks of Hebrew history:
And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept2nd Chronicles 35:18
Josiah led a work that was more than a mere reform. There was every indication that this was a revival. There are scholars who teach that Josiah imposed his will on an apathetic people who went along with him. If this was the case then this event would not have been given the highest historical commendation.
As Josiah reigned for a further twelve years, the indications are, that this led the nation into a decade of blessing. Yet these were dark days, change was coming, judgement was beckoning, not everyone supported the King’s spiritual leadership yet in these times God brought blessings which prepared a remnant to preserve His truth when the captivity came. One wonders how this revival impacted upon the spiritual influences that shaped Ezekiel and Daniel and enabled them to keep the fire burning even in Babylon. Ultimately a people would return and rebuild the temple seventy years after Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem; Josiah’s Passover played a huge role in this.
We too live in dark days, times which are ripe for judgement. This is exemplified by the enormous moral changes that are taking place in our society and supported by many of our public representatives at Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Inspired by a briefing sent out by the Christian Institute I have published a short article highlighting the big issues we are facing during the Northern Ireland Assembly Election campaign 2022 with questions that every Christian should ask prospective candidates. You can read the article here:
May we be faithful in representing truth in these dark days, constantly remembering, however, that without spiritual change brought about through the Spirit of God working in the Church that there will be no future for this nation. But if God moves, judgement may stil come, but a remnant will be prepared. What we do now will have more consequence for good or for evil than we ever imagine to be the case.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.