And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and the constellations and all the host of the heavens.2 Kings 23:4-5
Yesterday we read of Josiah’s complete dedication to the LORD and in today’s passage, we see his faith in action. Over the years, since Solomon’s day (2 Kings 23:13), the kings of Israel had compromised their faith and mixed in the worship of Caananite gods which are not gods at all. They worshipped fertility and prayed to the gods who controlled the weather. They worshipped the stars and the constellations of stars. Today scholars would refer to this as a kind of syncretism – a mixture of elements of different religions. God called it spiritual adultery and sin then and he says the same today.
The Jewish people even sacrificed their own children!
And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech.2 Kings 23: 10
If you take the time to read the whole chapter you may have some difficulty comprehending just how far God’s people had fallen but is our culture all that different today? We don’t perform what we would refer to as a religious rite, but what is abortion? How many are sacrificing their children for a career or in some cases today embracing the transgender movement that brings harm to everyone involved?
Now back to Josiah. The King of Juday repented and pledged his life to the LORD and then he responded with actions. Too many times, people today try to earn favor with God by turning over a new leaf and getting their act together, and then seeking God. This is exactly the opposite of the approach we should take.
Repentance and reconciliation with God should bring us to lead lives that pursue God and all that is good from Him.