For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David.
–2 Chronicles 34:3
When I think of somebody who learned from the past, I think of King Josiah. He allowed history to shape his future. We find his introduction in 2 Chronicles 34:1-2: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” Josiah was eight when became king. How did that happen? Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, held the coveted title of Judah’s most evil king. He led the people in idol worship, child sacrifice, and witchcraft. In fact, 2 Chronicles 33:9 says, “Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.” Then Josiah’s father, Amon, stole the title of worst king from Manasseh. Amon was so evil that he was assassinated after only two years. After his murder, Josiah became king. You could say Josiah was born to fail. How could he overcome such a generational curse? Friend, do not buy into the term “generational curse.” Through the power of Christ, anybody can become a brand-new person. You do not have to repeat the mistakes of the past. That was true of Josiah. He was determined not to follow the ways of his father and grandfather; instead, he followed God like his ancestor David did.
I want you to notice two things about Josiah’s decision to follow God. First of all, that decision was influenced by his mother. According to 2 Kings 22:1, her name was Jedidah, and many people believe she was the one who taught Josiah the Word of God. If you are a single mom, or you are married to an ungodly spouse, do not ever underestimate the influence you can have on your child. This woman was married to the most evil king in Israel’s history, but she chose to rear her child to know and love God. If you are a parent, the most important thing you can do for your child is not to make sure they get into a good college or become a star athlete, but to rear them to know, love, and obey Jesus Christ with all of their heart. Jedidah understood that, and she influenced her son.
Second, his decision to follow God was confirmed by his own choice. Look at 2 Chronicles 34:3: “For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David.” Josiah had to make an individual choice to follow God, and that is true for our children as well. Somebody has said, “God has no grandchildren.” If you are a parent, your children have to make their own decision to become sons and daughters of God. Sometimes that decision is easy for a child or teenager to make, but sometimes a child or teenager struggles with that decision. They begin to ask questions. They begin to doubt. As parents, whenever we have children that begin to ask hard questions, we are tempted to go into a full-blown panic. But do not panic when your child has doubts. For your child, that is part of the process of making your faith their faith. They need to personally pursue a relationship with God. That is exactly what Josiah did. His decision to follow God was influenced by his mother, but it was confirmed by his own choice.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #8: Learn From The Past” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.