Friday, April 30, 2010

A Better King: Josiah – the Best King: Jesus

“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.”

~2 Kings 23:25 (NRSV).

Anyone who might think the Old Testament is irrelevant due the sparkling Word of the Lord Jesus heralded in the New is sorely mistaken when we grasp this king, Josiah.

If we want a model of near-on perfection we could easily look to him.

The boy king was only eight when he came to power, but his reign was momentous for the Israelites and the discovery of the book of the law swung history—Josiah’s catalyst—as the later reforms would commend (2 Kings 23:1-20). Josiah was ruthless in his one-eyed obedience to the Lord his God.

And Israel’s then momentary stay-of-execution, and any sense of God’s forgiving mercy, was entirely because of him who acted sweetly for his God.

And we find in this incessant obedience to track long and hold fast after the words and intent of God, a love that gives an undivided allegiance. Indeed, this “reminds us that love is more than emotion, for the praise of Josiah does not come until he persevered in removing all sources that encourage worship of other gods.”[1] We could easily see cause for him to be praised much earlier, but it’s not over until it’s over! We’re praised for enduring faithfully—that is love.

And this definition of love is found, at last, in Jesus of Nazareth. All of Jesus’ true praise comes due his nailing and dying on the cross and his resurrection—his devoted and complete allegiance to the Father—notwithstanding his godly and anointed-from-heaven ministry. ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain’ is the golden imperative the many thousands of heavenly angels sing in very (μέγάλη) loud voices in Revelation 5:12.

Josiah was an incredibly faithful king but he doesn’t compare to the Lord Jesus.

And Jesus is the better and Supreme King for the lasting legacy of the New Covenant in his blood—the covenant of grace—and not merely the blood of an animal—the symbol of a conditional and “legal,” but insufficient, covenant. It is not insufficient from God’s perspective but it is from our sinful human perspective.

There is much, however, we can learn from the young and tenacious king, Josiah. I wonder how we might be similarly characterised in our obedience in turning toward God with all our heart, soul and might as Josiah was.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] John Olley, First & Second Kings – Then and Now (Eastwood, Australia: Morling Press, 2001), p. 129.

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