In Second Chronicles chapter thirty-four, we read about Josiah, who became king of Judah when he was eight years old. We read that “he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah,” and “in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father.” He “began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the Asherim, and the graven images, and the molten images.” He destroyed idols and places of worship to false gods.
In the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah had the temple repaired. Second Chronicles 34:14-33 says:
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Jehovah given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and moreover brought back word to the king, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they are doing. And they have emptied out the money that was found in the house of Jehovah, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and into the hand of the workmen. And Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read therein before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, Go ye, inquire of Jehovah for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of Jehovah that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Jehovah, to do according unto all that is written in this book. So Hilkiah, and they whom the king had commanded, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the second quarter;) and they spake to her to that effect. And she said unto them, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: Tell ye the man that sent you unto me, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore is my wrath poured out upon this place, and it shall not be quenched. But unto the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of Jehovah, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: As touching the words which thou hast heard, because thy heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and hast humbled thyself before me, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith Jehovah. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof. And they brought back word to the king. Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the house of Jehovah, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of Jehovah. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he caused all that were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were found in Israel to serve, even to serve Jehovah their God. All his days they departed not from following Jehovah, the God of their fathers.
(2 Chronicles 34:14-33)
The Book of the Law which was given through Moses had been lost for many years, and the people of Judah had long forgotten the Lord’s commandments which he gave them. They had worshiped foreign gods, and offered sacrifices to idols.
The Book of the Law was lost, but Hilkiah found it. Josiah tore his clothes when he heard the words of the book, because he knew that Judah had been living contrary to the law. Josiah was motivated to make a difference in Judah, and “All his days they departed not from following Jehovah, the God of their fathers.” Because of Josiah’s righteousness, God promised not to punish Judah until Josiah had died.
Although God’s word is not lost, there are many in the world who have not obeyed it. In the end, they will come to eternal destruction, and they will be punished, as Judah was punished when they didn’t obey God’s law. We should be motivated to take the Word of God to the lost people in the world and teach them the gospel, so that they may be saved.
Just as Josiah made a difference in Judah, we can make a difference in the world we live in.