TODAY’S READING: 2 Kings 22–23; 2 Chronicles 34–35
Second Chronicles 34:3 tells us that when Josiah was still a wee one, he sought the God of his father David. Josiah became king at age 8 and began to seek eight years later at the age of 16. That seeking was connected to the God as defined through relationship with David: the God of missions who would rule all nations through David’s seed. Missionary impulse, participation, and calling starts young—or at least it should. The greatest gifts we can give our children is to hand them missionary biographies as soon as they can read, to model prayer for the unreached as soon as they can talk, and to model sacrificial giving for the glory of God among the nations as soon as they receive an allowance. A missionary orientation to life is too important to defer to adulthood; it must be planted and farmed from infancy.
In 2 Kings 22:13 the word of God was rediscovered and taken to Huldah the prophetess to see if it was really the word of God. I’m not sure what is more shocking—that God’s word was lost or that a woman verified it. That God used a woman to verify His word is only shocking because we have strayed from the biblical reality that God’s Spirit speaks through men and women equally. No respecter of persons or genders, God pours out His missionary Spirit on and through all flesh. We still have more missionary women than men. God yet speaks through women for His glory among all nations. Huldah commended Josiah: “Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke…” (v. 19). One mark of men of God is that they hear the Lord when He speaks through women.
Josiah was spoken most highly of and even took his reforms as far as destroying the high places that Solomon had built 300 years previously (23:13). Solomon in his “tolerance” made space in Israel for the religions of his wives. Whenever we think we are more merciful or balanced than God, we err grievously. I’m sure Solomon thought he was being progressive, but in actuality he opened the door to the demonic and the decline of God’s people. In one sense missionaries must be the most intolerant of all people. Josiah destroyed all idols, false gods, trappings, venues, and opportunities for false religions. His reforms were radical and unsparing—and not just on his home soil. Josiah took his intolerance to the mission field, even cleansing the competing altars Jeroboam set up in the northern town of Bethel. We need to be radically and actively against any form of syncretistic thought or action, no matter how intelligent it appears. We cannot presume to be wiser, more merciful, or more accommodating than our Lord. Jehovah, the God of Israel, must be proclaimed among all the nations, and all the gods of the nations must be absolutely eradicated from any part or place among the people of God. Missionary work is highly inclusive of all ages, both genders, and all peoples, while simultaneously radically intolerant of other religions.