Raising A Josiah Generation!
By Pastor Alicia Lafleur
My two younger sisters aged 10 and 12 have taken a liking to assisting me at work each day. They wake up at the crack of dawn and are ready and waiting at the door for me. When we arrive they take their responsibilities very serious. They take great pleasure in preparing the rooms and activities for our day camp children and are always willing to assist the camp leaders by setting an example for the younger campers. If called upon to pray, they are bold and eager to testify of God’s goodness. I have been exceptionally proud of them, but I need to admit that I don’t remember being that eager to take on such a leadership role at their age. I must say that I have learned much from them about serving and leadership this summer. I call them my little King Josiahs.
Josiah became king because his father was assassinated. Josiah’s dad, Amon, set a very poor example for his little son. Amon followed other gods and as a king, led the people of Judah into rejection of God and God’s ways. Josiah’s Manasseh desecrated God’s temple by instituting worship of idols in it. God tried to speak to Manasseh but neither he nor the people listened so they were attacked and subjugated by a foreign king.
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”
What can we learn from this child leader?
- Be the example- encourage your children to seek the Lord while they are young.
With God, there are no age restrictions! The Lord can and will use our children to accomplish His will when they choose to walk in His way. You however need to guide them through that process. How can our children be leaders if they have no point of reference? Like Josiah, our children must choose to walk in the way of the Lord. Our children need to see godly examples in order to follow them. Don’t be afraid to do what is right. The Lord will be with you! At the age of 16, Josiah realized the importance of faithfully serving the Lord. As a parent, are you doing all that you can do to raise a Josiah generation? A generation of young people who will do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. What kind of example are we setting?
- Remember that your past does not dictate your future
Josiah overcame his past. What a past to overcome; a grandfather who was one of the vilest kings ever and a father who was no better and was eventually assassinated. Josiah didn’t have very good examples to follow. But he didn’t allow his past to keep him from doing what was right. So often we allow our past overshadows our perspective of our future. Are you struggling or hurting right now? Seek God’s healing. As long as you allow those hurts and struggles to hold you captive, you are missing out on some of God’s greatest blessings. Josiah had a choice. He could have followed and repeated the sins and mistakes of his father and grandfather, but he chose instead to follow what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He chose learn from his past and to seek godly counsel.
- Leadership requires humility and commitment to God’s Word
Aside from idolatry the people under Josiah’s rule had lost and forgotten God’s Word. We see it is still true today that spiritual decline occurs when God’s Word is denied or neglected; revival occurs when His Word is heard, understood and applied. At age 26 King Josiah ordered that money be collected for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem. It had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. During the remodeling project, the High Priest found a copy of the first 5 books of the Bible known as the Pentateuch or “the Book of the Law”. Unfortunately, no-one had read it for years. So for the first time in his life Josiah heard the Word of God read to him. What was his response? He tore his robes, humbled himself and wept in the presence of the Lord. Has God’s Word been hidden in your home? Are you reading it daily or has it been neglected? What does God’s Word say about how you live your life? When Josiah realized how serious the sins of his people were he immediately began to do something about it. He recommitted his life to God through promising to uphold the covenant and laws of the Lord, and the people did the same. Like Josiah, God’s Word should cause us to take immediate action to reform our lives and to bring them into alliance with the will of God. If we are to lead God’s way, we need to admit our wrongs and commit to making things right.
By the time Josiah’s grandfather decided to follow God’s will, it was too late. Let’s not wait until it’s too late. Let’s be courageous and bold enough to show our children what it is to do what is right, to walk the straight path. With so many other influences competing for the attention of our children, we need to put up a good fight for them. The world is full of ungodly influences that try to grab at them from the time they are old enough to walk and talk. We need to encourage them now to use their God given power and authority to defend their faith and to stand up for what is right…at home, in school, on the soccer field, or wherever God leads. Be the kind of leader that will encourage them to seek the Lord while they are young, to step out of your past, walk in humility and live out God’s Word!