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Failure and Revival

“Revive us again,” prays the classic hymn. “Fill each heart with Thy love; May each soul be rekindled with fire from above. Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Hallelujah! Amen.” King Josiah of Judah led one of the great spiritual revivals in Israelite history. From our human perspective, we might ask what was the point? Things were so bad that the priests had actually lost the Book of the Law (the Pentateuch), and no one even knew the commands they were failing to keep (see Deuteronomy 28). Judah was on its slide to conquest by Babylon, as richly deserved and foretold by several prophets. Nothing was going to change that, so why try?

The lesson from God is this: It’s never too late to do the right thing. Though the nation’s downward trajectory couldn’t be altered, worship and obedience mattered greatly to the Lord. Josiah’s reforms were significant. He purged the nation of idols, high places, Asherah poles, and altars to false gods (vv. 3–7). He began repairs of Solomon’s Temple with gifts collected from the people (vv. 8–9). God allowed the Book of the Law to be found, which led to heartfelt repentance and sorrow over sin (v. 19). This also raised the question of whether Judah would suffer God’s wrath, as Scripture indicated (v. 21).

The prophetess Huldah con-firmed that God would carry out the judgments written in the Book (vv. 23–25), but thanks to Josiah’s revival it wouldn’t happen in his lifetime (vv. 26–28). This delay gave more time for more widespread repentance. The king seized this opportunity and led Judah in a renewal of the covenant and a public commitment to obey the Law (vv. 29–33).

>> Notice that Josiah became king at age 8 and sought the Lord at age 16. He began battling idolatry at age 20 and started the temple repair project at age 26. No matter your age, you can follow God wholeheartedly and have tremendous impact!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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