2 Chronicles 35: 20 – 36:1

We find an unexpected twist at the end of Josiah’s story. It comes as a total shock. But it has to make us look at ourselves and apply the obvious lesson. If you go against God, however successful and effective you’ve been in ministry/service, you will not be able to don a disguise that will protect you (22a). No-one can rebel against God and expect to get away with it.

Regrettably, there can be an After all this (20a) in anyone’s life. Someone can live well and do good works, and then have a great fall. It can seem to them, and to us, like they’re standing, and then we watch the crash through horrified eyes. Josiah was like a show jumper who had a clear round until he got to the last fence, which he clattered. The rest of the history of Josiah, his exemplary and devout life, conformed to The Revelation of GOD (26). The Message. But that doesn’t alter what happened at the final fence, and, in a sense, we join with all Judah and Jerusalem in mourning him, and accompany Jeremiah in his lament. It’s a tragic and wasteful ending to a wonderful life.

Let’s be open to hearing from God through anyone. Maybe the fact that Neco was a pagan Egyptian made it easier for Josiah to dismiss him. But as unlikely as it may have seemed, this Egyptian king was being directed by God. May the Lord give us such humility and openness to Him that we do not miss anything he might be saying. (For another example of God speaking through an unexpected individual see John 11:49-53).

If God defeated Egypt in the days of Moses, surely He could do it again for Josiah! Without seeking the mind of the Lord, Josiah meddled in a war that had nothing to do with Judah, and it led to his death. A disguise is no protection if we have disobeyed God (v.22; 2 Chron.18:29). Judah was back in bondage to Egypt! We wonder what the future of Judah might have been had Josiah heeded the warning God gave him. Strange as it seems, God can speak through messengers who may not even know Him. Warren W. Wierbe: With the Word,p.252.

At the age of 57, I am increasingly aware that I am just a decade away from the official retirement age. Although I want to go on serving God for as long as he grants me life and breath, I have a growing concern to finish well. Reading Josiah’s story only serves to reinforce the desire, as I consider what could happen.

Paul told Timothy to Watch your life and doctrine closely (1 Tim.4:16). Theological purity is important. It is vital to hold correct beliefs. But you also need to ensure that your living always corresponds to your believing. Josiah shouts to us across the centuries that you do indeed need to keep a close eye on your life, and stay vigilant to the very end. You may have been sailing around the venue so far, but there are some big fences still to come!

Prayer: Lord God, help me to finish well.