Day 17 2 Kings 22:1-23:3 ... Judahâs Boy Wonder

The Bible does not record what specific effect Zephaniahâs words had within Judah. But it does give a thrilling account of a turnaround that occurred during his days, led by King Josiah.

King Josiah took over at the age of eight, in the midst of a crisis seemingly beyond all healing. But Josiah was no ordinary eight year old. Raised by a wicked king in a wicked time, he somehow emerged with a spiritual vision that had no equal. The Bibleâs judgment is unequivocal: "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). Against all odds, Josiah steered his nation back toward God. Josiah devoted much time and energy to a favorite public works project, repairing the temple. And one busy day, as carpenters sawed new joists and beams, and masons carved new stones for the temple walls, and workmen hauled off rubble from the idols Josiah had smashed - in the midst of that din and clutter, a priest made an amazing discovery. He found a scroll that look like - could it be? - the Book of the Covenant, the original record of the agreement between the Israelites and their God. (Most scholars believe the scroll contained part or all of the book of Deuteronomy.) The neglect of such an important document, long buried and forgotten, shows the extent of Judahâs slide away from God. And Josiahâs response shows the depth of his commitment. Hearing those sacred words for the first time, he tore his robes in shame and repentance. And after a prophetess had confirmed the scrollâs authenticity, Josiah pledged himself and his nation to the terms of the long-lost covenant.

This chapter tells the story of the dramatic discovery, and the next tells of Josiahâs fervent campaign to call his nation back to God. His actions would change the landscape of Judah and stave off certain destruction. All this came about because a young king took seriously the words of God.

Point to Ponder: When have you experienced an "awakening" similar to King Josiah's?