King Josiah was one of only two kings who ruled Judah who were completely identified with the prototypical King David. This was due to his complete devotion to thoroughly follow the Lord. He became a king at the tender age of 8, but by the age of 26 had personally sought God, begun to eradicate Judah of her idolatry, and reinstituted a covenant relationship with God due to the rediscovery of the Law of Moses. There are two other aspects to Josiah’s spiritual leadership that mark him as a paradigm leader. He calls all the people to covenant relationship with God and he leads the nation in celebration of Passover.
1. Corporately leading the nation into covenant relationship. Josiah, upon hearing all of the Law of Moses, calls the nation of Judah to a public hearing of this Law. 2 Chronicles 34:30 states, “And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord.” After this, Josiah made a public covenant promise on behalf of the nation to walk after God and His ways. He had all of the people also publicly commit to this path. And Josiah completed the eradication of all the idolatry that had plagued the nation for so many years. There could only be one God and He was Yahweh, the covenant keeping God who had called Israel into being. Josiah led in such a way that the text tells us that “all his days they (the people of Judah) did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers” That is a high tribute for such a young leader.
2. Corporately leading the nation to celebrate Passover. Josiah was not finished. He had also discovered the Passover in the Book of the Law. Passover was the celebration of God liberating the Israelites from bondage to Egypt. During the time of Moses, God chose to bring plagues upon the people of Egypt for their harsh treatment of Israel. Once such plague, and the most devastating, was the killing of every first born within the nation. Only God’s people would be spared this fate if they stained their door posts with the blood of a lamb. When the angel of death came, all who had the blood around their door were passed over in regards to this great destruction. It was the final blow to the power structure of Egypt and immediately after this, the slaves of Israel were freed from their bondage to return to their promised land. This was paradigm too. This was a foreshadowing of a future Lamb who would shed His blood for the sins of the world, that all who trust in Him might be spared the raves of sin. This was commanded by God to be a yearly remembrance, a celebration of God’s great grace and mercy. But Judah had long forgotten to be faithful to this act. Josiah sees fit to reintroduce this solemn and celebratory experience in honor of God’s greatness. Josiah corporately led the nation to fulfill her covenant gratefulness toward Yahweh. Again, all of this was completed before Josiah turned 27. Remarkable.
What do we learn? Leadership is a corporate endeavor. By definition we lead others. How do we lead them? It is vital to spiritual leadership that we lead people in vital relationship with the living God of the universe, that they might see their total need of Him. It is also critical that we lead them in continual remembrance of the Lamb who was slain. We must continually point our people to Jesus as their ongoing salvation. We must do so solemnly and in grand celebration. In every way, lead them in trust and dependence on the One who creates and redeems.