As I was driving to work a few mornings ago, I was listening to a morning talk show ramble on about the Presidential candidates. Mentioned were pros and cons of the various hopefuls, what they had accomplished in their pasts, and speculations on what each one would do if elected to lead our country. My mind began to wander back to the Old Testament, as it often does when I think about politics and the leadership of our country.
For the past ten years, I have taught the same lessons to the second graders at our church, so I feel pretty familiar with the history of Israel. We start with Israel wanting and getting their first king, Saul, and we go all of the way through the history of the nation of Israel, including the eventual fall of both Israel and Judah to other nations and then the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. We talk a lot about the fact that God had one simple rule – obey my commandments. If they just did that, then they would be blessed. And they did, for a while. Then they turned away from God, and even each other. The northern kingdom of Israel had ZERO good kings after the division occurred. Several years passed before the Assyrians took their land over, and they were known as the lost tribes of Israel after that. The southern kingdom of Judah fared a little better, as that their kings continued in the lineage of David, but there would be years of good kings and years of bad kings. In my mind wandering, the good king that I began thinking about was Josiah.
Josiah became king when his father died, and he was only eight years old. When he was 16 years old, he began seeking after God. When he was 20 years old, he began removing objects of idol worship from the country. He even destroyed places in Israel as well as Judah. When he was 26 years old, he ordered that the temple be cleaned up and repaired. During this repair effort, the book of the Law was found and brought to King Josiah. When it was read to him, he realized the sin that the country was, and had been, living in. He was visibly upset – he even tore his clothes! He sent to the prophetess Huldah, to inquire of God just how bad things were. God said that evil would come to that place (Judah) because the people had forsaken Him, but that Josiah would be spared from seeing it happen. Josiah then stood before the people and committed to follow God completely, and asked the people to do the same. He simply “cleaned house”, in the entire land. He also re-instituted the Passover. The details of his reign can be found in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. In verse 25 of 2 Kings 23, the Bible says “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.” In 2 Chronicles 34: 33, the Bible says “All his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.”
And even though Josiah did all of these good things, in 2Kings 23: 26 we are told that the anger of the Lord was not diminished because of all of the evil that former king Manasseh had done. And several years later, Judah was captured by the Babylonians.
The United States of America is on the same path as ancient Israel. The leadership in our country has forsaken God. They act as though they are above the rules, the real rules – the Bible.
I feel that we need a President who will direct the country back toward God, but in the right way, like Josiah did. He showed the Israelites what they were doing wrong against God’s law, and what it said would happen. They realized their sin and repented and continued to follow God, just like their leader.
I have yet to hear “getting back to God” on anyone’s political agenda. Considering how far the country is down the road to Hades, it would take some pretty creative and persuasive ideas to get the people to at least consider looking at God, much less actually turning to Him. Our country needs a lot of things that are being discussed these days, like a great plan to get out of debt, but what it really needs is godly leadership.
So, I’m looking for a Josiah on the ballot.