The people of Judah chose Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him king in Jerusalem in his father’s place. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he was king in Jerusalem for three months. Then King Neco of Egypt removed Jehoahaz from being king in Jerusalem. Neco made the people of Judah pay about seventy-five hundred pounds of silver and about seventy-five pounds of gold. The king of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim the king of Judah and Jerusalem and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took his brother Jehoahaz to Egypt. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he was king in Jerusalem for eleven years. He did what the Lord his God said was wrong. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Judah, captured Jehoiakim, put bronze chains on him, and took him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar removed some of the things from the Temple of the Lord, took them to Babylon, and put them in his own palace. (2 Chronicles 36:1-7)
Josiah was the last king who did what was right according to God’s will before God’s people, the Israelites, were taken into captivity. Throughout the Scriptures chronicling the kings of God’s people, it seems the Israelites were fickle to the leadership of each season. If the king followed God’s ways, so did the people, but when a king did not follow God’s ways, neither did the people.
We think we’re much different today. We will easily rebel against leaders we don’t believe are leading us well, but are we guided by what is right or are we guided by what we believe are our own rights and preferences? We’re certainly following someone…but “who?” is the question. Who do you listen to and respond to with the most assertive support? How active are you when listening to people you respect and those you don’t? Do you seek God’s truth despite who is speaking?
It is tempting to look for that which affirms what we most want to hear so that we can easily set aside someone’s opinion when we have little respect for the person or easily accept someone’s opinion when we have respect for the person. We need to listen to God, and that means respecting people enough to listen, trust God to filter what is being taught, and proceeding with caution against untruth and boldness into truth.
We need to not be like the Israelites in the way they responded with “group think” and responded with spiritual blindness. Despite the way we’ve been raised, the people who surround us, or the situations we find ourselves in, we can be impacted and guided by God and we can impact others for God.
Jeremiah, a great prophet, came out of Josiah’s leadership. After Josiah’s death, “Jeremiah wrote some sad songs about Josiah. Even to this day all the men and women singers remember and honor Josiah with these songs. It became a custom in Israel to sing these songs that are written in the collection of sad songs.” (2 Chronicles 35:25) The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. The Lord also spoke to Jeremiah while Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah and during the eleven years that Zedekiah son of Josiah was king of Judah. In the fifth month of his last year, the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives. (Jeremiah 1:2-3)
God can speak to and reach us no matter what the situation by which we are surrounded. There can be no more “if only” excuses of our life circumstances. God is more intimate with our life circumstances than we are. He is able to do all things…even when we cannot see the way.
Jesus answered, “The things impossible for people are possible for God.” (Luke 18:27)
What are you “excusing” in your life? What do you see as impossible?
Are you ready to accept the possibility of your impossibilities? It’s time!