Reformation (The Power of Uprightness)
Because of the reformation of Josiah, Daniel was influenced. And because of this reformation, the entire kingdom was restored.
Josiah became king at the age of 8. At that age, he is probably not able to make major decisions. He probably had to depend on the servants and counsellors around him. Josiah walked the way of David and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Josiah means the Lord who support us, the Lord who heals us. Just like Josiah, we can be no different from him. Sometimes we can also ask questions like what to eat for breakfast.
What kind of person was Josiah? He did right in the eyes of the Lord, he was an upright person. Uprightness is a trait of God and He seeks for this uprightness in His people. Because God is upright, the people who follow the king sought to be upright too. Let us think about what it means to be upright today. This uprightness leads Josiah to God.
Being upright is doing. It is not just saying it but in today’s passage, it says doing. In Hebrew, yasha means to do, bring about, execute. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walk. It means to do and walk. Halek means to walk, to behave. The direction, the speed, the pace of my life. Doing and walking together speaks about our entire life. Uprightness is doing and walking. We cannot be judging others, but it is supposed to be me doing the right things according to God’s eyes.
People of God who follow God with their lives are considered upright in the eyes of God. We can observe if we are upright according to the Word. We need to be honest enough to know where our hearts are. We cannot say we love God but if our time is invested in seeking people’s approval or to please others or ourselves like in the time of the judges.
Not leaning on the right and left is about balancing. We often give our ears to things that we like to hear, we are happy when it goes according to my way, everything is about me. Left in the ancient culture is darkness. Right is own’s honour and glory. The centre is God’s way according to the Bible.
What caused Josiah to live uprightly?
1. He found the book of the law and he repented.
Tearing his clothes signify repentance. He tore up his authority, his old ways, he realized that he lived his life until this day for the wrong purpose, he tore it down and he learnt everything again from the Word. He re-learn everything and that is what is needed in us. We have so many old habits in us and we sometimes did not even realize that we are doing things our own way.
2. Josiah had the Word read out loud.
When we receive grace, repent and find joy in the Word, we want the Word to be heard by many people. Among those who heard the Word were Daniel’s parents. Daniel was born during this time. Daniel was able to keep his faith because the Word that Josiah made everybody study was sown in his life. This is the attitude of someone who has received the Word, they want the Word to go out. God used this heart to save His nation.
After he reformed himself, he started this reformation work by proclaiming the Word first. After he came to understand the Word, he made a confession to walk with the Lord. That is the beginning of true reformation.
What is the result of such repentance and uprightness?
It is reformation. It is to make people return to God and have proper worship. In 2 Kings 23:4-14, Josiah destroyed every little thing that is related to idol worship. These idols are established by his forefathers and it will be a sign of disrespect. However, he did not just put them away, he destroyed them and ground them so that they cannot even be reformed. It is repentance so that the sin will be destroyed. There are 2 main sins that cause all the other sins. First, it is idolatry, worshipping other gods, it is about Commandments 1 and 2. What people do is say I am Christian but on the other side you gather all the other idols, all the other things that you depend on in your lives. Immorality is the second sin.
Conclusion: What kind of reformation do we need?
Josiah’s reformation is through the Word of God. Just as it is written in 2 Timothy 3:16, it is the Word that trains us to be upright. Sometimes when we are trained, it is not fun. That is why some kids say I don’t want to go to school. The same thing for the church, as it is a spiritual training ground.
We human beings always want to change things. We change our job, our bodies, positive changes. How about our faith? Are we seeking any improvement next year? It is very hard for us human beings to change unless the Word really shock us. Uprightness is like love, when there is love, there is doing and walking. When the love is real, action follows. When the love is real, they will even give up their life for that love. When the love is real, you will even lose weight, the power of love will change what you like. We all do that. True uprightness is falling in love with God. Do you think that Josiah’s reformation is easy? It must have been very difficult. He was in love with the Word, he has no other choice. May we also find true reformation in our lives.