Would you parent your child any different if you knew that they were a future king/queen?
I have been impacted by reading the various accounts in the Bible of children who did great things. Children who changed their world. Their parents were raising world changers. I want to raise world changers, which I am sure, you do as well.
Over the next few weeks, I am looking at what we can glean about how these children were raised to be world changers. I want to see what changes I can make in my parenting so that I can help my children influence their world.
Today, I am starting with Josiah.
Josiah was the sixteenth King of Judah. He reigned from 640-609BC. Josiah is most known for becoming King at age 8 when his father was brutally murdered by his servants within his palace. Josiah is also renowned for instituting repentance, reform and revival in Judah. Josiah destroyed all the idols in his land and turned towards God.
Josiah was a godly man despite his father and grandfather being evil.
Thus, Josiah’s father and grandfather obviously did not have a positive impact on Josiah. We do not know much about his mother. We can only gather that her, or other’s, prayers and influence must have had a huge impact on Josiah.
Unfortunately, Josiah’s sons, who became king of Israel after him, did not walk in the way of their father. Thus, Josiah’s regard for God did not extend to his sons. I do not want to draw conclusions in regard to his parenting as I am still raising teenagers but I am a firm believer in raising them to love God and Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Josiah’s father, King Amon, was assassinated by his palace staff after only two years as King. Obviously Amon was not well liked by his staff. Jedidah was Josiah’s mother.
Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh adapted the Temple for idolatrous worship. Manasseh is blamed for turning the Israelites away from the worship of Yahweh. Manasseh is considered Judah’s most evil King and 2 Kings 21 records his story. It was Manasseh who introduced many forms of idolatry to Judah and broke Judah’s covenant with the Lord. Manasseh instituted idol worship, witchcraft and child sacrifice. Eventually, it was Manasseh’s sins that destroyed the nation and led it into captivity. Not the best heritage!!
Josiah’s great grandfather, King Hezekiah was one of Judah’s most godly Kings. Perhaps the palace staff kept his memory alive with stories told to Josiah.
Josiah had four sons, two of whom became King after him, but these sons did evil in the sight of the Lord as well. Josiah’s example at home didn’t extend to his sons.
Josiah was also King when the Prophet Jeremiah was alive. There is no record in the Bible of any interaction between them, but I don’t think it is a coincidence.
Josiah and his influence:
In the eighth year of his reign, thus age sixteen, Josiah sought after the Lord. (2 Chronicles 34:3). Josiah set about restoring the house of the Lord. Some workers found the lost Torah (the written Word of the Lord). As Josiah read it, the Torah obviously impacted him as he read the words aloud, he wept, tore his clothes and grieved deeply for his people turning away from the Lord. He repented and sought counsel of the Lord.
2 Kings 22:2 presents Josiah as righteous: “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”
2 Kings 23:25 says “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.”
Further details about Josiah can be found in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35.
Principles from Josiah’s life in regard to raising world changers:
- Age is irrelevant to God.
God can use you no matter what your age is. Josiah came into the public spotlight at age eight. At age sixteen, he had an encounter with God’s Word. He changed the countries idolatrous ways and redirected its focus.
- The importance of the Bible as the Word of God.
Reading the Bible aloud and memorising Scripture are important. I wonder if Josiah’s mother repeated stories and commands of the Lord to him when he was a child. They had lost the Torah, the written Word of God, so it was kept alive by repeating down through the generations.
- Courage is important.
Josiah was courageous. The Bible doesn’t actually use that word, but if we ‘read between the lines’, you would need to be courageous to completely change your country from being a country of idolatrous worship, full of evil to a country of focusing on God and becoming righteous.
- Nothing is impossible with God.
The country had been ensnared in evil for over seventy years but it only took one teenager to make a difference and completely change the direction of the country.
- Warning that we need to be wise and listen to God and weigh it up with wise counsel.
God sometimes speaks to us through unusual circumstances or people. Josiah didn’t listen when Pharoah Necho tried to warn him (2 Chronicles 35:20-27) and that led to Josiah’s death.
- Other godly influences and mentors
Jeremiah was a similar age to Josiah. Jeremiah’s father was Hilkiah. The High Priest was also called Hilkiah but was ungodly. Were they the same person? Josiah reigned as King in Jerusalem for 31 years whilst Jeremiah was an outspoken prophet for eighteen of those years. I would have loved to hear the conversations they may have had!!
- Our family history does not have to determine our future.
Josiah had a shocking and evil father and grandfather, yet Josiah is noted for being godly and doing what was right in the eyes of God. We can all change. There is hope for everyone!!
- Are you willing to sacrifice your family for the country?
Josiah’s godly reign did not extend to his two sons who reigned after him and led the country astray and into evil again. This causes me to ask how come? Was Josiah too busy with external affairs to watch after his own family? Perhaps this is a timely reminder to us as parents.
I would love to hear your comments on the principles you gather from Josiah’s life in raising your children to be world changers.