300 years of idolatry had taken their toll on the characters and hearts of the men and women of Judah. They had been forgetting the character of God, forgetting the deliverance of the Lord, not recognizing the voice of God and worshiping the abominations of all the surrounding countries. God had been all but forgotten by His own people. The darkest recesses of the heart and soul are darkened by the lack of light that God provides.
In the 13th year of Josiah’s reign, he called upon the people of God to follow the Lord. Josiah destroyed the temples of idolatry that had distracted the children of Israel for so long. He sought further to establish the faith of Judah in God by holding a great Passover. Following the Book of the Law and the provision for sacred sacrifice, the country worshiped freely unto the Lord. This Passover celebration, to remember the deliverance of the Lord, was the greatest ever to be offered. After this reminder, once again the memories, hearts and souls of the people were filled with the knowledge that the Lord God is merciful, kind and loving.
The zeal of the good King Josiah could not atone for the generations before. The sins of generations past could not be atoned for by the piety of the king. Nor did His benevolence effect a change of heart in those that would not turn away from the sins of prior generations.
Years later, the kingdom continued to worship the Lord, and Josiah continued to reign as the good king. Eventually the king went to war with the advancing armies of the Egyptians. The Lord spoke to Josiah and warned him not to fight this fight. Josiah did not heed the voice of the Lord, and not obeying the warnings, died in battle at Megiddo.
King Josiah was returned to the tombs of his family. There was no other king greater than Josiah, bringing reform to Judah when no one else could. His son, Jehoahaz, was anointed by the people and this generation returned to the evil that existed before Josiah. It is written that Josiah had turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might according to the law of Moses. And now, with an evil king and the return of idolatry, the time was approaching when Jerusalem would be destroyed and the children of God taken into captivity, eventually returning to God under less favorable conditions.
Is ours the generation that will break the bondage of sin?