After Josiah was shown the Book of the Law Hilkiah found in the Temple, he read it to all the people and he and “all the people pledged themselves to the covenant” (II Kings 23:3b, NLT). If we look back at Deuteronomy 31, we see that the public reading of this Book was to be on a regular basis.
Moses gave the Book of the Law to the priests and commanded them, “At the end of every seventh year, the Year of Release, during the Festival of Shelters, you must read this Book of Instruction to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the Lord your God at the place He chooses. Call them all together – men, women, children, and the foreigners living in your towns – so they may hear this Book of Instruction and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the terms of these instructions. Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the Lord your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy” (Deuteronomy 31:10b-13).
In Joshua 8:34-35 we read of Joshua reading the “Book of Instruction” in a public assembly. The Bible doesn’t record another public reading of the Book until over 500 years later when Jehoshaphat sent priests and Levites out with “copies of the Book of the Law of the Lord” (II Chronicles 17:9a). These spiritual leaders “traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people” (II Chronicles 17:9b). By the time Josiah reads the Book to the people, at least another 250 years have passed.
“Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the Lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. The entire ceremony for the Lord’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had commanded. All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. This Passover celebration took place in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign” (II Chronicles 35:1, 16-19).
Josiah lived to intentionally do God’s will. His actions were deliberate, his influence life-changing. Even nation-changing.
Don’t just live. Live intentionally. Live with passion. Live with purpose. Live knowing that every day could be your last opportunity to make an impact for the Kingdom. What is your intentional plan for today?
“The present is the only time in which any duty may be done or grace received.” (C. S. Lewis)
“Love leaves legacy. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.” (Rick Warren)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates