King Josiah

Life’s Cheat Codes: A Biblical Perspective On power in Prayer

One of the most memorable kings in all of Israel is an 8-year-old king named Josiah. 2 Kings 22 tells the story of an 8-year-old boy king who was thrust into power because a servant had assassinated his father. Josiah had every reason not to trust in YHWH. He could have thought, ‘Why would God allow this needless suffering to befall my father?’ However, for some reason not recorded in Scripture, 18 years after Josiah’s inauguration, the now 26-year-old king declares that the house of the Lord should be cleaned up, repaired, and reinstated. During the renovation process, the Law of God is found in the temple, the Book of the Law is brought to Josiah, and it is read in his hearing. Josiah cries, repents, and tears his clothes before the Lord. He immediately began to call on the name of the Lord and sent his servants to consult the local prophetess of Israel. Josiah broke down Asherah and Baal worship desecrated the high places, burned images of false gods, reinstated righteous priests, and deposed false priests in the temple. Josiah reinstated Passover, and the man was only 26 years old.

Now known as one of the greatest kings in Israel, Josiah stands as a memorial of righteous kings. He is not remembered because of his wisdom, nor because of his military prowess. Josiah is not recorded for building Israel’s economy, nor is he recorded for being a great diplomat. Josiah is best known for being righteous. It’s funny; we think we will be remembered for our achievements and our accolades, but history is full of men and women like that. What is rare is a Mother Teresa, a Good Samaritan, a man or woman who reads God’s word, is convinced of its authority, and lives as if it were true.

Not that ‘being remembered’ is the goal in life, but on the other hand, maybe it is. Think about it, isn’t it interesting how those who live like the world and act like the world are so easily forgotten? But those who look like Jesus and act like Jesus are permanently stamped in our memory.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to an incredibly moving story on a podcast, which centered around the life of Shayne Smith, who happens to be my favorite comedian and his journey to faith in Jesus. Shayne’s early years were fraught with challenges. He endured abuse at the hands of his stepfather and suffered neglect from his mother. In his search for belonging and love, he initially turned to substances and later found himself entangled in gang life, trying to fill a void that was meant to be filled by family.

Amidst this tumultuous background, there was a shining light in Shayne’s life—his grandfather. A World War II veteran, his grandfather was a pillar of unconditional love and strength. He treated Shayne and his brothers with great care, taking them on trips and demonstrating what true masculinity and strength could look like. This relationship was a rare source of positivity in Shayne’s troubled childhood.

As Shayne grew into adulthood, his life didn’t immediately improve. He found himself drowning in debt and entangled in a web of legal issues, committing felony after felony. However, a significant turning point came with the passing of his grandfather. Shayne described this moment as feeling an irresistible magnetic pull towards God’s goodness. It was as if the loss of the only good man he had ever known left a void that he felt compelled to fill with something pure and steadfast.

What was particularly striking about Shayne’s story was his discovery, post-conversion, that his grandfather had been a devout Christian. Now, this is not to say that believers need to ‘preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words.’ The Gospel always needs words; the Gospel always preaches Jesus as God and a necessity for faith and repentance. But a perfect sermon, a perfect evangelistic call without a life of righteousness, is hollow and empty. A life full of righteousness and love is a sermon not easily forgotten.

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