When Josiah was 8 years old He became king of Judah. He did what is right in God’s sight just like his ancestor King David did. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
When Josiah was 16, he became a worshipper of God and when he was 20 he began removing all the idols from Jerusalem and Judah. He cleansed the land by breaking down all the altars that were made for false gods and removing all the priests who taught people to worship them.
When Josiah was 26, after he had cleaned up the land, he sent a group of people to go repair the temple of the Lord his God. They went throughout the land receiving donations to help. They took the money to Hilkiah the High Priest so that he could pay all the people who came to work on the temple. The men who worked were honest, and trustworthy, and they did their work faithfully.
Now, while they were working, Hilkiah found the Book of the Law of the Lord that Moses had written! So the men whom Josiah had sent went back to him and told him how all the people were working on the temple just as he had told them to. They also told him about the book that Hilkiah found and began to read it to the king.
When Josiah heard the words of the Book, he was so sad that he tore his clothing, and he told the men to go and pray to God for him and for all the people in the land because up until now the people had not been doing what God had said was right and God was angry.
So they went back and got Hilkiah and together they all went and found a prophet. The prophet told them that God was indeed angry that the people had been worshipping other Gods and doing evil things. But because Josiah had a soft heart, and was humble, and had been sad about all the things the people were doing when he heard the words of the Book that Moses had written, God said he would not bring disaster to the land while Josiah was still alive. So they came and told Josiah everything the prophet said.
Then Josiah gathered everyone in Judah together and read to them the Book of God’s Promise that had been found in the temple. And the king in turn made a promise to God to walk in His ways and keep His commandments with all his heart and all His soul. And he asked everyone else to promise as well. So for as long as Josiah was king the people did not stop following God.
There was no other king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, to do what God says is right in the Bible.
1 Samuel 15:21-22
"What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols."
"You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise."
“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).
Though Jeremiah preached repentance, he didn’t just rail at others, he recognized his own corruption and need for divine healing. He demonstrated the heart that God was looking for—a heart to turn back to God for deliverance. Though Jeremiah was sent to preach repentance to a nation, he believed his message was just as much for him as it was for all men. Not five verses before this personal plea for healing, Jeremiah said about the whole human race: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). He knew full well the state of his own heart and sought God’s deliverance with confidence—”heal me Lord, and I shall be healed.”
- Psalms 41:4; “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.'”
- Psalms 6:2; “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.”
Every one of us are sick in the heart because of sin and in dire need of healing.
- Isaiah 1:4-6; “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.”
Isaiah was a lot like Jeremiah. He preached a stern message of repentance and coming judgment, but not without understanding his own position and equal need for salvation. Over and over again in chapter 5 of his prophecy he pronounced “Woe to those who” have sinned in such-and-such-a-way against the Lord. Yet in chapter 6 he proclaimed, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah, like Jeremiah, lead the way in repentance and faith in the One who promises to heal the brokenhearted.
I shall be healed
Recognizing the depravity of your heart means nothing if it isn’t followed by a response to God asking and believing that He can heal it. And we can be sure, if it is God who does the healing, we shall be healed indeed.
- Psalms 147:3; “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
- Psalms 30:2-3; “O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.”
God can and will heal us—we need only recognize our need and turn to him and ask.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite'”
A contrite and lowly spirit
A common misconception about God is that our feelings directly correlate to the strength of our relationship or standing with Him. Fortunately, our feelings really do not affect His love for us nor do they change our place in His heart.
In fact, our feelings may completely deceive us into thinking the exact opposite of God’s true position. It is not when we are feeling a spiritual high, but when we are the lowest, the most contrite, in the most turmoil, the most disquieted that God confirms His unshakable presence. I don’t mean to say His proximity to us ever really changes—but our feelings do. And we can be confident even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us all the more.
- Psalms 51:17; The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
- Isaiah 66:1-2; Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
To revive the heart
Though contrition confirms God’s presence, it never comes to the Christian without the reciprocation of God’s comfort. His company is not for the sake of rubbing our nose in the guilt, but for strengthening our feeble knees, lifting us up from the pit, helping us regain our footing, reviving our heart.
- Psalms 147:3; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
- Psalms 30:2-3; O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
When you find yourself wrestling with guilt, feeling far away from God, know that He is near. He is with you to help you, to comfort you, and revive you. Call on him.