I’ve been teaching the Wednesday night 1-6th Graders from 2 Chronicles Ch.34, on King Josiah – “The Little Boy Who Made a Big Difference.” The son of a very ungodly king, this boy ascended to the throne of Judah upon his father Amon’s death, when he was only eight years old.
I asked the eight year old kids what they would do if they became king (or queen) today… You can only imagine. Between building chocolate castles, buying all the puppies in the world, owning every video game console known to man, and constructing all the houses in the kingdom out of bacon… needless to say, they would be busy making some very important investments in the future of their land. But little King Josiah chose to use his kingly influence for a much more honorable cause: to lead his nation back to God.
“In the eighth year of his rein, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images.” (2 Chronicles 34:3)
At the age of sixteen, Josiah “began to seek the God of his ancestor David.”
Consequently, the prophet Jeremiah was the voice of God to his generation, during the reign of King Josiah (see Jeremiah 1:2). Himself only a youth (Jeremiah 1:7), the prophet would see the hand of God move mightily during Josiah’s reign.
Do the math. Josiah began to seek after God in the 8th year of his reign. He began to act on this newfound faith in the God of David during the 12th year of his reign. Then, in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign, God called out the prophet Jeremiah to be His voice in the land. When you put the history together, the following popular passage from Jeremiah begins to really take shape:
“You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13, emphasis added)
The Hebrew OT uses the same language in 2 Chronicles 34:3 and Jeremiah 29:13. When you seek God with your whole heart, you will find Him. Josiah did. Now think about the timeline… Over the course of four years Josiah sought God. In his seeking, the king became convicted that the God of David was the only true God. His seeking and conviction were not ineffectual. They produced something within him – an uneasiness, a restlessness for God’s glory. Only when Josiah began to act on his faith (in the 12th year of his reign) did God call out Jeremiah to be His voice to a people that were far from Him (in the 13th year of his reign).
We pray for revival. For a spiritual awakening. For God to “revive His work in these years” (Habakkuk 3:2). What if this was more than a prayer? What if it was more than just words? What if God’s people today actually started to seek Him? I mean, not like we’ve become accustomed to seeking Him. In padded chairs/pews, temperature-controlled buildings, once or twice per week. But rather, with a renewed vigor. An insatiable longing. A passionate desire – for His presence, His power, and His providence in our land.
And in our seeking, what if we found Him? And what if we became convicted over His supreme holiness, as Josiah did? And what if, in this conviction, we got up and did something about it? What if believers in Christ, consumed with a passion for God’s glory, turned their efforts toward a relentless pursuit of God’s fame in all the earth? Would God then rise up the leaders we so desperately need, to speak life into our culture of death, as he did with Jeremiah in Josiah’s day?
So we lack solid Christian leadership in our land. What’s new?
Maybe we’ve got it backward. Maybe that one special prophet-leader doesn’t come first. Maybe it starts, instead, with a little boy who has a heart after God, seeking Him and obeying Him relentlessly. Maybe, like with King Josiah and the prophet Jeremiah, God is ready to call out the great leaders of today but we’re not ready to listen to them. Why? Because we’re not seeking God. Or because we’ve lost our conviction over His supreme holiness. Or because even in all of our knowledge and conviction, we have lost our active passion that His fame be known in all the earth.
It’s not enough just to seek God, or to have convictions about Him. Our seeking of God and convictions about God need to produce something within us that move us for the glory of God. God promises that when we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him. But what we do after that is up to us. I’m praying with you for the Jeremiah’s to be called out and raised up in our land. But unless we obediently position ourselves to receive God’s Word and act on it, we’re just spinning our wheels.
It only took one little boy in Judah. Then God added another little boy at his side. And together, God used them to usher in a might move of His Spirit that would last an entire generation. Josiah’s, Jeremiah’s, where are you? Seek. Find. Obey. And watch how God will use you to influence your generation for His glory in all the earth.