It is so much easier for me to remember the mistakes I’ve made in my life than to remember the successes. The narrative that continually runs through my mind is one of misspoken words, poor reactions, and failed moments in the relationships of my life. This is where Satan loves to live, in those negative thoughts. As a result of those negative memories, I begin to assume everyone around me only remembers my failures and the shortcomings of my life. Hence, I feel alone and looked down upon. I ultimately become stuck in a bad place emotionally, spiritually, and even physically…and sometimes I live down to my view of myself.
Clearly, though, we are not meant to live that way. The story of Josiah fascinates me in many ways, but what stands out the most is the way he was able to overcome his past, specifically his familial past, to succeed. Josiah, the 8-year-old king, took the throne because the king before him was assassinated. He was thrust into a culture that was literally eroding around him. God’s Word had been ignored and lost for some time, false gods were being openly worshipped throughout the kingdom, and God’s temple was being used for idol worship and storage…things were not looking good.
At the age of 16, though, Josiah begins to pursue the God of David and never looks back. Despite his lack of resources, lack of upbringing, and lack of knowledge, he hears about this God of David and knows it is the truth. Over the next decade or so, he clears the land of the false gods and idols, removes the teachers of the false gods, begins restoring the temple, finds the Book of the Law of God, and essentially saves an entire generation from destruction. Not bad.
Back to the king before Josiah, the one who was assassinated. He is described in scripture as doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord, sacrificing to false gods, failing to humble himself before the Lord, bringing guilt and shame to his people, and finally being assassinated for his evil deeds. And the king who ruled before him was described as doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord, reinstating the worship of false gods, building altars for idol worship, burning his own sons at the stake, and leading his people astray. These two men were Josiah’s father and grandfather.
Can you image the talk when Josiah takes over as king? “I’m sure this kid will be just like his family before him.” There must have been whispers, and Josiah must have heard them. He must have had those thoughts running through his mind. That negative narrative in his mind had to be present, yet he found the truth and pursued it with all his might to overcome the failures of his family’s past. We have the same opportunity to break away from being defined by our past mistakes or the past mistakes of our family, and to forge a new path for ourselves with God leading the way, erasing those doubts, fears, and insecurities.
My prayer for you this week is that would find the Bible this week, and truly believe the powerful promises contained within. This week, stay focused on those promises and the power God provides to pull us out of the mire of our past.