This is my story - part 2
2 Kings 22:3-13, and says:
3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, 4 “Go up to the high priest Hilkiah, and have him count the entire sum of the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; 5 let it be given into the hand of the workers who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; let them give it to the workers who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, 6 that is, to the carpenters, to the builders, to the masons; and let them use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7 But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.” 8 The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12 Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
In this story, we have a Josiah who became king when he was only eight years old. He was a king known to follow the kingship standard set by King David. I could imagine that it was not easy for Josiah to be the king of Judah at such an early age. But I imagine that he had the support from all the people who surround him. Well, he reigned for 30 years. According to the story, he was 18 years old, and he already had in place the renovation of the temple. While this was happing, the priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law. A book that was lost because it ceased to be important to the people of Judah.
When he heard the content of this book, he got so upset that he tore his clothes. Imagine how upset he must have felt to have the strength to tear his clothes, right? I could imagine him saying, “what? Wait, wait, wait, what? Does that really say what I think it is? Nooooooooo” But that was not the only thing he did. He came to understand that their ancestors did not obey God, and he knew that this would bring consequences to the people. He knew that he needed to do something. He already began to restore the temple, but there was still so much work to be done. The people of Judah were apart from God. They focus their energy, their life to worship other things in life that there was no room for God. Have you ever felt that way?
Since a child, I was a very active person in my community, but I was even more in my youth year. There is a saying that my mom used to say, well, she still uses it to describe me. She says that I am "como el arroz blanco" (like white rice) everywhere. I was very active at school: being president of different student clubs, creating new activities to involve the school in the community, competing in oratory and poetry declamation, leading various activities or graduation ceremonies, helping other kids with their assignments, among other things. And besides all of that, I was a swimmer athlete. I practiced every day at 5-8 pm, twice a week, from 5-6 am. Also, on the weekends, I had competitions.
As you can see, I was really busy. Even though I loved my busy and crazy life, there was one thing that I was leaving aside, my faith in God. Even though every time I could, I serve God at the church, my faith was not a priority. I could imagine that some of us may feel related to this. We have been so busy in our daily lives, with the routines that we have put aside our faith in God.
Josiah saw this in Judah; he saw how the people had put aside their faith in God to the point that the book of the law was lost. Everyone was apart from God, worshiping other gods, using God's temple wrongfully, among other things. But as soon as Josiah found out what the book said as king, he commanded the priest and the group of people who worked for him to seek the Lord. He needed answers to what to do, so they talk with a prophetess at that time, Huldah. She confirmed that, of course, God was angry with Judah because God's laws were ignored and that something inevitable was going to happen, but Josiah was not going to see it.
So, after Josiah hear this, he knew that there have to change. But the first thing he did was gather all the people and publicly read the Book of the Law. I could imagine everyone surprises after hearing this. Perhaps looking at each other, confused about what to do now. After the book was read, in front of everyone, Josiah publicly made a covenant with God, as mentioned in chapter 23. To keep God’s commandment and decrees with all his heart and soul. As the people saw this, they also follow.
What does the story of Josiah say to us? Even though Josiah was very young when all of this happened, God used him to bring Judah back to the covenant, including the king itself. Josiah was not alone; he had help from older people than him also to guide him. With this, Josiah was able to be an example for Judah's people, not only by committing with God publicly but by guiding the people to the changes that needed to be done.
When I was a young adult, I began to saw a group of Christians of my age at the university; they were called "Jóvenes Cristianos del Parque” (young Christians of the park). As I began to attend the weekly meetings, I was astonished at how God was using them at such an early age to lead others to God's way. They were the example that I followed, which led me to go back and be in love with Jesus Christ as I did when I was a child. I did not put aside my faith anymore, but it became a priority in my life. It was a process, and I not only had their example to follow, but I began to have help from other people at my church that where involve in my guidance as I returned to God's ways. They encouraged me to attend retreats, to serve more God at the church; they support my new ideas that helped the church be involved with the community through social media. They allowed me without question to grow my faith among them.
The story of Josiah, teaches us that no matter our age, God can call us to be an example to others, commit in our faith in God, and help others follow God's ways. God is calling us to support each other calls no matter our age. Perhaps you identify with Josiah, being young and setting an example to others as you hear this story. Or maybe you identify with the people of Judah who had put aside their faith in God as their priority. No matter which one you identify with, God has a purpose for your life and calls us to follow him. Hear this, you can have the support you need to follow God's ways. Other young adults who can guide you, adults who support you, and encourage you not to give up. I know that it is not easy to follow God's ways, but God always makes the way to continue to live out our faith.